To understand what fast fashion is, you just need to enter a couple of times in a store of the Zara chain, considered the pioneer of this phenomenon. The items for sale are trendy, low-cost, and continuously replenished. You get the impression of being in a fashion “fast food,” and it is no coincidence that we talk about “fast fashion.” The brands that fall into this category are numerous and extremely popular. Some examples are H&M, Zara, Topshop, Primark, Benetton, Forever21, Mango, Uniqlo, Wish, Fashion Nova, and Gap.
Fast fashion refers to a new business model in the clothing sector based on reducing the timing of production cycles, increasing the items produced, and lowering the cost to the consumer. How is this possible? The advent of consumer society, the increase in production efficiency, the relocation of factories to developing countries, and the reduction in the quality of textiles and processing have allowed brands to lower sales prices and increase production volumes.
The “traditional” fashion industry plans to release new garments twice a year for new seasons (fall-winter and spring-summer). The entire design, creation, and distribution process can take up to two years. Fast fashion has reduced this cycle by a great deal (a few months, or even weeks), coming to propose new items every single week, allowing a continuous turnover. You have surely entered one of these shops and realized that there’s always something new. This constant influx of garments is also made possible thanks to an obvious process of imitation of the designs created by the big fashion houses, repurposed on the market with much cheaper materials, and at much more affordable prices. In this sense, fast fashion has democratized fashion, allowing everyone to buy trendy clothes at reduced prices.