Arts & CultureFashion

Welcome to the revolution of fast fashion

Fast fashion as we know it began at the end of the 1990s when brands needed to look outside the box to increase their annual profits. Most high end fashion lines have two major collections a year during the spring/summer and fall/winter season, but what are consumers supposed to do about the months in between? This is where digital fashion and “faster fashion” come into play.

Stores such as H&M, Topshop and Zara — just to name a few — have thrived as models for faster fashion over the last couple of years. It’s impressive to see what can be accomplished in a few days to get fashionistas the trendy clothes they need.

Nitin Passi is Missguided‘s 32-year-old founder and chief executive. “We update our site once a day with new stock,” Passi said in a Guardian interview, “but in my eyes we should be updating it every hour. If a trend comes, we need to have it on our site in under a week.”

Welcome to the revolution of fashion: where you can see a trend online or in a magazine and have it in your arms by the end of the week. Missguided’s fast fashion success can be seen in its sales numbers. It reported a 90 percent jump in turnover and saw sales of 100 million euros just this year. The Pussycat Dolls’ Nicole Scherzinger is the face of the company, along with celebrities Ellie Goulding and Fearne Cotton. The Manchester-based website receives eight million visits per month. The line of clothing can now be purchased at Nordstrom as well.

In 2006, Boohoo gave consumers the opportunity to connect online and shop. “We had lots of winners. Every season something would hit,” said co-founder Carol Kane in a Guardian interview. Kane mentions a “fur gilet” and a 30 euro bomber jacket, which appeared in Vogue’s April issue, as some of these “hits.”

For Boohoo, this was a huge step in the right direction — one that is hoped to pave a bright future for other fast fashion retailers to make their mark in high fashion. Unusually, Kane noted, Boohoo buys very small quantities of stock — only 300-500 pieces at a time — with one in four orders then repeated. In August, Boohoo launched a supplier manual and hired a corporate social responsibility manager. Boohoo has seven major markets, including the UK, US and France, although it ships to more than 100 countries.

Fast fashion has become increasingly popular as shoppers demand the best price, quality and ‘wow’ factor every time they shop online. It is up to retailers to work harder to ensure their customers keep coming back for more.

Follow Hailey Geller on Twitter @hgeller30

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Hailey Geller

Hailey Geller

Hailey is currently a fashion writer for the Emerald's Arts & Culture desk. She was previously the health and safety reporter for the Emerald's News desk.