Friday, November 02, 2012

From Milan to the Mall

Are fast fashion retailers paying homage to designer brands or knocking them off completely?

We have all shopped at fast fashion stores at our local malls and shopping centres. With such a demanding and product driven society we live fast fashion has truly exploded as retailers are reaching their target market at a quicker productive pace than ever before.  Zara, Mango, H and M, Forever 21- the assortment of stores are endless. You find yourself looking through a picked over disorganized mess of merchandise all with a usual lack of assistance from employees who are typically challenging to search for when needed. Despite the negative attributes associated with shopping at these types of retailers, which may not always be the case, it is hard to deny that the inexpensive price tags and wide breadth of products is not exciting once having completed the purchase. With such a high turnover of shelf life for the merchandise in fast fashion stores accompanied by a special promotion or sale happening every time you visit it is no mistake why we disregard the mess and continue to revisit. As consumers, our personal taste and style is heavily influence by what we see in our day to day lives. Within the fashion realm it is easy to pull influence from other designers and existing collections. If we as consumers have no problem in doing so, it should come as no surprise that fast fashion retailers are doing the same.

Ever wonder why three or more stores are all carrying the same style of dress at any given time? Perhaps this is due in part to a specific style being in season, or could it be that a famous designer had a similar silhouette on the run way just months before? Are fast fashion retailers portraying the current styles that are in trend, or are these outlets simply providing cheap copied versions to their consumers? These theories can go hand in hand as both factors are very relevant within the fashion industry, but as consumers we often turn a blind eye to the centre of the matter.

Why spend over $200 on an item when the same version can be purchased at a less expensive more accessible store? Is it the price and convenience of several locations that drive consumers to purchase items they want and where they wish to do so? Trading purchase expenses is likely to mean that the item in question will be of less quality, which in turn cannot be worn for seasons to come. For some this does not play an imperative role in their shopping decision and behaviour. However, other consumers are willing to pay more money to have a piece that will not start to unravel after one trip to the laundry mat.  It is inevitable that higher price brings higher quality. Apart from the look of an item the durability and feel of an item is relevant to the price and reasoning for purchasing.
In reality, fashion is forever changing and this just may be the lure of fast fashion; spend the same amount of money to receive more products in total. Within weeks new pieces will fill t bars and folding tables throughout fast fashion stores that are oddly identical to the items that have been spotted on runways in fashion capitals minor weeks prior. The cycle will only continue as each respected season does for new trends are first introduced on the run way and duplicated.  Designers spend months to a year on end creating their collections and in a matter of weeks fast fashion retailers scoop up the same ideas and present them to consumers. Shoppers no longer have to think while shopping as everything is laid out before them.

The beauty of this industry is that we do not all have to arrive at a unified front on this matter. Some fashionistas prefer to splurge on items that they know will hold up after wearing. The designer brand is what initially draws these fashion moguls to the item and they are proud to flaunt it. The quality and fabrication in addition to the attentiveness they receive while shopping at these designer stores assures them that the price tag is of little to no importance to them and worth it in the end. Some savvy shoppers prefer to scout out items that are equally as trendy, but at a fraction of the price. Whatever the case, we are fortunate as shoppers that both spectrums of the shopping scale are readily accessible to us.  

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