Fast Fashion Business Model Pros & Cons Essay
Every individual has his or her own motivations in the selection and buying of garments. Yet, the most common purchase drivers include such values as quality and price. It is possible to say that, like in no other sphere, in the world of fashion, customers value exclusivity, trendiness, design, and brand name. However, with the accelerating pace of globalization and an increasing number of global problems, fashion consumers start to demand various intangible product values related to manufacturers socially responsible practices. Fast fashion enterprises are especially threatened by the emerging changes in customer interests and preferences due to the very nature of their business model.
The term fast fashion implies an accelerated production process, whereas fashion items and new trends are supplied to the market as soon as possible and at the lowest possible cost (Fast fashion, n.d.). Geczy and Karaminas (2013) observe that fast fashion retailers operate in the mass market segment; they immediately copy high fashion trends and ideas and produce clothes in large volumes. So what particular advantages and disadvantages are associated with the fast fashion business model, and how can they affect consumers perception of the brand?
The is rooted in recent innovations in supply chain management.
For example, one of the most , Zara, aims to get its garments from design concept to shop floor in 10-15 days, while conventional fashion business models use a product lifecycle that lasts for several months (Fast fashion goes global, 2015, p. 18).
Fast fashion companies locate manufacturing facilities proximate to the distribution markets and source items requiring longer lead times from Asian countries to achieve greater cost efficiency and flexibility (Fast fashion goes global, 2015).
Zara uses automated inventory systems, which capture real-time customer data and maintain continuous feedback loops that ensure a rapid production response (OMarah, 2016).
Low price is the main advantage and customer value inherent with fast fashion.
Low pricing allows retailers to target large and diverse consumer groups.
The given pricing strategy helps to reduce purchase failures due to inaccessibility of clients to products a common factor that can be found in the premium and luxury segments (Kim, Ho, & Yoon, 2013) (Kim, Ho, & Yoon, 2013).
The emphasis made on materialistic consumption speed, quantity, and size drivers is that what creates problems for fast-fashion retailers in terms of brand perception and customer attraction.
As stated by Kim et al. (2013), throughout the 20th century and with the development of capitalistic economy, materialistic values were disseminated in a way that many people started to believe that the more consumables one possesses, the better ones life is (p. 244).
However, nowadays, consumers have grown more conscious of multiple global problems associated primarily with international trade, excess production, etc. Some of these problems are:
Water and air pollution,
Social inequality, etc. (Kim et al., 2013).
Since consumers become more aware of the fact that cheap and low-price products are faster to turn into waste, they and consequently tend to avoid fast fashion.
According to Kim et al. (2013), consumers often associate the mass production of fashion items with individualized styles (p. 257). As a person passionate about fashion, I can say without a doubt that the uniqueness of a fashion item and its ability to contribute to my personal style is that what I value most.
The inauthenticity of the product design in fast fashion may be considered another disadvantage. However, it is associated with controversial effects on consumer perceptions.
Fast fashion is against the right of to copyright their designs. As Geczy and Karaminas (2013) note, fast fashion distributors simply take advantage of the mediatized environment in which the images of authentic designers collections are spread all over the world at a fast pace. Such an approach provokes some ethical concerns.
However, research evidence indicates that awareness of product unauthenticity does not contribute to brand avoidance much (Kim et al., 2013). The fact that fast fashion retailers copy high fashion trends at lower costs does not bother fashion lovers with limited budgets.
(Overall, the analysis of fast fashion characteristics shows that the business model has both pros and cons. Nevertheless, since customers attitudes are core to sustainable financial performance, retailers should pay significant attention to them.)
The major advantages of the fast fashion business model are cost-efficiency, product accessibility, and low prices. The disadvantages, however, are associated with their inability to meet consumers needs for environmental sustainability and social integrity. As stated by Hill and Lee (2015), to capture the interests of the new generation of socially conscious consumers, retailers must overcome both skepticism and product-related barriers to sustainable purchases (p. 206).
Nowadays, sustainable fashion products are largely underrepresented in the market, but it is apparent that by increasing the number of green offerings, retailers can attract more consumers who usually avoid fast fashion. In my opinion, the given strategy will serve dual purposes: consumer education and the development of a unique product line. In this way, fast fashion may increase its value.