Après la fast-fashion, le phénomène de l’ultra fast-fashion

After fast fashion, the phenomenon of ultra fast fashion

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As we once again enter the all-too-traditional sales period, it seems important to us to address another subject, certainly different but related: that of new brands qualified as “ultra fast-fashion”. These brands have the particularity of attracting their young customers by offering constant promotions on their sites. A commercial technique that is very unaware of the environmental issues of fashion, and which hides an operation that is dubious to say the least. They are in fact taking a growing place in the disposable fashion market by using practices long attributed to traditional fast-fashion brands. Appearing to have little concern for international legislation – too little present – ​​these brands are reaching records in terms of overconsumption. Today, it seems important to us to focus on these commercial principles in order to understand how they are a danger for companies which, like Hast, work for more qualitative and sustainable fashion. Our objective ? Inform you so you can buy less and better!

We will start by quickly analyzing the beginning of traditional fast fashion to understand how these brands push the techniques even further.

The legacy of traditional fast fashion

It's difficult to approach these new multinationals without looking at the beginning of so-called traditional fast-fashion . This fast fashion in French or even disposable fashion, categorizes a part of the fashion industry based on the constant renewal of collections, products produced quickly, in low quality fabrics and sold inexpensively. To fully understand the beginning and appearance of these industry giants, who today share a large part of the market, we must return to the man who invented it: Amancio Ortega. You may not be familiar with his name, but you certainly know his greatest achievement: the construction of the Inditex empire, a group that notably owns Zara. In many ways, Amancio Ortega is a marketing genius. In Spain in the midst of reconstruction and ravaged by the civil war, Ortega works with his family in the textile and clothing sector in the poor region of Galicia. He quickly identified the production possibilities in the region and based his business model on a principle that still remains that of fast-fashion brands today: the rapid and large-scale reproduction of models that worked in ready-to-wear. .

The principle is as follows: store managers report sales analyzes as quickly as possible, allowing headquarters to understand which parts work best and adapt production accordingly. The successful models are available in different colors. Little by little, the search for low costs and the development of synthetic fibers led to the transition from materials such as silk or cotton to polyester or later, viscose. The more costs fall, the more margins increase. The Spanish group therefore laid the foundations of today's fast fashion .

A fashion of copying, which produces in mass by carefully analyzing sales.

Teams of specialized designers go to the fashion shows and define the models that can be reproduced in lower quality. Production quickly flies to Asia, brands become multinational machines and revolutionize the world of clothing.

Fast fashion is regularly criticized for the lack of consideration that this production method gives to working conditions and the environmental impact of the materials chosen (massive use of textiles such as polyester – we remind you, this is about a synthetic artificial material derived from petroleum, extremely polluting for the environment). For several years in Western countries, a number of brands have tried to warn about the excesses of the fashion industry, and above all, about the dangers of “excessive” production of pieces rendered useless. Traditional fast-fashion brands are now regulated by laws and are trying to improve their methods, and that's good. But the last decade has seen the emergence of new entrants pushing fast-fashion practices even further. It’s ultra fast fashion.

Ultra fast fashion or the paroxysm of mass consumption

Fast fashion and these major representatives are now trying to face criticism and improve their business model . And while consumers and professionals are increasingly aware of the excesses of the industry, brands born on the internet like Shein or Boohoo are pushing these extreme practices even further. The principle for attracting customers: constant promotions. While sales and promotions are a way for so-called “traditional” brands to sell off their unsold stocks, the principle of constant promotions is in reality contrary to commercial ethics (the lower the production prices, the lower the sales). may be important).

Many methods are to be deplored by these new brands. Entirely based on online commerce, they vertically integrate all stages of production, and even manage to copy the same texts on several brand platforms.

They further accelerate the principles of mass production and consumption on which the fast-fashion giants already operate.

In China as in England, where the models sold by ultra fast-fashion brands are produced, working conditions are often poor, particularly because the production lines operate almost 24 hours a day. Perfect mastery of the codes of " influence” particularly on Tik Tok accentuates the problem because they directly target young consumers with low purchasing power, with the impact that we know from social networks.

Thus, these brands appear in radical opposition to the brands described as “slow fashion” which have been trying for several years to warn of the dangers of such overproduction which is dangerous for the environment. This two-speed era is paradoxical to say the least: part of consumers and players in the fashion industry are trying to understand the environmental issues and the dangers of overproduction while another part remains very oriented towards price and disposable consumption.

One point should not be underestimated: responsible brands often operate with much lower budgets than fast-fashion brands which rely on minimal production costs and very high margins. They therefore have an extremely powerful strike force and can invest in influence and communication without counting.

Poor understanding of the issues by consumers and brands, weakness of purchasing power in the face of the crisis, lack of legislation on a national and global scale, fashion still has a long way to go... We continue to move forward step by step. not !

Sources :

The Secrets of Fashion, Yann Kerlau
Arte: Fast-fashion, the underside of low-cost fashion

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