For several years, the fashion model the majority of us have become most accustomed with is the fast fashion movement. Think of Zara with their lead time of just days from design to shop-floor, or Primark with their pile high and sell cheap strategy. The fact is, as consumers we’ve been conditioned to want more and to want it for less. However, cracks are appearing in this archetype as consumers come to reject fast fashion on both moral and environmental grounds, not to mention the renewed strive for a quality level not widely associated with the fast movement. It’s a small turning of the tide, but it’s rapidly gaining momentum and has many in the fashion industry questioning just exactly what lies ahead for the future of fashion. Here we break down the three biggest factors influencing today’s most common fashion model as we know it.
The end of over consumption
“Does this spark joy?” Marie Koni
picture by: Igor Ovsyannykov
The fast fashion movement pivots on keeping prices low, so that they encourage consumers to buy more than they actually need. This model of overconsumption leads to a process of mass production which puts pressure on the environment and all the people in the supply chain (including factory workers). However, lately there has been a change in consumer mentality – you only need to examine the soaring popularity of Kon Mari to understand that consumers are converting to owning less and owning for longer. And with a desire to own things longer is a renewed focus on quality, which can only be achieved by slowing right down.
The slow fashion movement
“Fashion that fosters ecological integrity and social quality through products, practices of use and relationships.” Kate Fletcher
‘Slow fashion’ was first coined by Kate Fletcher in 2007. It is a term used to describe seasonal product that is born from a consciousness supply chain. By consciousness, think mindful – aware of the environment and the supply chain in which it relies on. And with this mindfulness comes a slowdown, an awareness that we really don’t need to buy into trends every six weeks which forces to assess what is really important to us.
The slow fashion movement focuses on buying less, buying preloved and buying into brands that source ethically, manufacture with conscience and, even better, work to give back to the great community.
Consumer facing model
picture by: Kris Atomic
“In a world that has become increasingly immediate, the current way of showing a collection four months before it is available to customers, is an antiquated idea and one that no longer makes sense.” – Tom Ford
Coupled with the slow fashion movement, is a new consumer facing model which works to stop the relentless marketing of fashion months before it is even available. The biggest advocate of it is Tom Ford, who famously pulled out of New York Fashion Week last year. He cited his reasons as being fed up of plugging product to customers that wasn’t available to buy. Instead the fashion house has shifted to real-time model which works to market product that was available in the shops immediately. This instantly makes the product less aspirational, but more accessible and takes the roots back to a consumer-facing model – where you buy what you like, rather than have product marketed to you as a ‘need’ for months before launch.
Three serious threats to the fashion model as we know it, but maybe it’s time for an approach that’s altogether more fair for everyone involved?