Fast Fashion vs Faster Fashion

The Source: The Battle: VS


With fast fashion chains popping up in the market, is it profitable to make speed the top priority in churning out massive volumes of clothes at break neck speed? Or is it perhaps wiser to be more selective? Before chancing upon the Refinery29 article , I thought shops like H and M and Forever21 were about as fast as fashion gets. Read on the news that fringe is back in? Chances were F21 would have an entire range of clothes ready from fringed bags to jackets and more. Give it a few more months and ZARA would churn out a version of fringe as well, only with higher prices, better quality and an overall more minimalist aesthetic. So faster fashion is a thing now? I sneaked a look into Boohoo and Missguided. There is very evidently a feel that the clothes for sale have a faster fashion touch to it. Trendy clothes perfect for the current season are advertised with resplendent colours, textures and fits. There’s tight fitting for the sexy divas, the regular fit for the average girl and the boyfriend (read: Slouchy) fit for either advanced style mavens or lazy people like me who find any excuse to jump on the slouchy bandwagon. For basic items like tees or bodycon dresses, these come in a vast array of colours. Case in point, the Dahlia Swing Dress from BooHoo retails at a beautiful price of $25 and comes in a mind-boggling range of 10 colours; that’s a LOT for a dress!



In terms of website design, I’m choosing to compare these sites ZARA, which I consider to be pushing the boundaries of fast fashion in terms of prices and image. When I think of ZARA, it exudes a feel that the pieces feel special, unique and classy yet it remains in the somewhat affordable price range for mere mortals like me. It evokes feels of the current seasonal trends but also puts its own minimalist spin of things. When D’Orsay flats came out, ZARA was smart to produce one in a classic black, one in a print and one slipper style. Needless to say, when trends that the Olsen twins wore slip on slipper/loafer hybrids, the slip on D’Orsays sold like hotcakes. It doesn’t hurt that the overall aesthetic of Zara’s online store as well as its actual brick-and-mortar shops exude a very clean feel that appeals to many. A clean colour palette filled with neutrals always evokes the feeling of being in a store like Celine, which is as minimalist as minimalism goes. Boohoo, on the other hand, definitely feels very affordable. I won’t deny that, and it’s amazing for when I want to keep up with trends but am not willing to fork out an arm and a leg for it.  It seems like the place I would go to for clothes that I’d wear but wouldn’t keep; in other words, non-investment pieces. It’s a place I would go to buy midi rings that leave a green stain on my fingers because I want to join the midi-ring club without investing too much into it. So I guess there’s merits and profitability in faster fashion sites. What I am concerned with is quality though. Given, I’m not expecting top-notch quality. It’s not reasonable for me to expect that if I’m not willing to pay a higher price for quality materials. That said, I won’t tolerate flimsy quality that I’ve experienced one too many times with F21. I bought a soft white tee with a back zip that ripped open after a tumble in the washing machine. I’ve bought dresses that look decidedly different before and after entering the washer. Not to discredit F21 though; as I type this, I am wearing a pair of $10 black jeans from F21 that is my go-to pair of black jeans right now. It just seems to me that when shopping at these fast fashion chains, it’s really a lucky spin on whether the clothes will be able to last a few more wears. How do I know if these sweaters will hold up in the wash? As far as I see it, there’s no profitable way to offer quality fashion at rock bottom prices. You either pay a bit more for a quality item, or be satisfied with a lower quality garment at much cheaper prices. When I’m buying clothes, the overall image of that store is very important to me. When I buy something from a  store, I care very much about the style demographic it appeals to because when I then wear an item from that shop, I envision myself in that image. Case Study: 1. UNIQLO has a fresh, clean cut image reminiscent of  well dressed Japanese tourists.

2. F21 feels easily accessible and it feels like things there are generally short, tight or both which is why I love shopping there for party or casual event clothing.

3. H and M has a nice mix between ZARA and F21; it has graphic sweatshirts and $5 sunnies but it also stocks a healthy range of casual slacks, quality basics and everyday dresses. Their jeans are to die for; its comfy, well-ripped and at a good price range.

4. ZARA has a clean, classy and effortlessly-put-together look about it. Think relaxed fit clothing that still fit your body frame perfectly, with simple and classic shoes styles. Not to mention their amazing coat range. I may not be willing to pay for a $129 utility jacket for example, but I readily open my wallet to a $129 coat or a $70 pair of loafers.

Is it not obvious the very different images these brands each exude?   I would much rather go to F21 for my $40 utility jacket. So you see, its really all about mixing and matching across the shops. General rule of thumb? Basics (think slacks, tees, loafers, everyday dresses, coats) from ZARA, and seasonal fashion items (bucket bags, fringe jackets, party dresses) come from F21 and the like. Can faster fashion find a platform to squeeze onto to compete with these fast fashion retail giants? Only time will tell. The way I see it, its going to be a tough uphill battle but what do you think? I’d love to hear from you; I think this is a side of fashion worth discussing too, other than the current trends!

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