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in the mass market sector

Fast Fashion has become a rising investment in the world’s economy yet only coming into the spotlight recently from 2009. Research carried out that Zara is the leader of fast fashion and according to Forbes magazine;

there is great success in brands within the fast fashion industry, there is great poverty and unfairness behind the manufacturing. Fast fashion is one of the most successful industries but the second most polluted industries in the world.

founder Amancio Ortego has just overtook Bill Gates in becoming the richest man in the world with a net worth of $76.1 billion. Although we can see that

Are c​onsumers aware of the back work put into their beloved cheap clothes? Will the knowledge of this change their way of shopping? Is there going to be a change?

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Mass Market A mass market is a retailer that sells affordable clothing, which appeals to a wide variety of consumers. This particular sector is not known for selling high quality, durable products although it does meet customers wants and needs at a reasonable cost (Investopedia, n.d.). Examples of brands known to be in the mass market would be Zara, Topshop, H&M, and Forever 21. The vast development of technology has given brands a stepping stone to

advertising and therefore more sales. It has also added an online shopping craze as users have more access to the Internet e.g. on their phones. People have been drawn to social media sites, which give small named brands an even more push to show their products and ultimately becoming a well-known fashion retailer. Online shopping retailers could also be known as e-tailers. Examples of e-tailers are brands like Missguided, Pretty Little Thing and

FAST FASHION The research carried out discovered that the Fast Fashion retail revolution evolved from the mass-market sector as they have similarities in the way an average consumer would shop. In addition, the fast fashion market knows the renowned brands in mass market. The term Fast Fashion can also be known as “value” fashion and refers to the rapid turnover of low-cost garments in the global clothing industry. Turning designer trends into multi-channel volume (Forbes, 2015). A Cambridge Study reports that in 2006, people were buying a third more clothes than they were in 2002 and women have four times as many clothes in their wardrobe than they did in 1980 (Ethical Fashion Forum, n.d.). The revolution of Fast Fashion began when brands started competing against each other for market share by introducing more lines per year at lower costs, which was due to the recession, which hit in the early 2000’s. This eventually culminated a situation where the low cost, value end is ‘booming; doubling in size in just 5 years.’

Retailers now must respond quickly to fast fashion trends, which are changed at a high demand in the time of weeks instead of months. Zara is the leader in Fast Fashion sector generating 3-4 styles daily with a 6-week turn around which is 4000 more items than Fast Fashion competitors increasing the brands company, Inditex, sales by 8% in a year alone. From being founded in 1975, there are a total of 1,923 stores in 88 countries dated in 2015. The secret of fast fashion is the quick turnover of merchandise in the stores. Inditex prides itself to deliver to consumers merchandise in as little as 3 weeks. When Zara had first came to New York at the beginning of 1990, the New York Times used the term “fast fashion” due to the store’s mission as they had a declaration to take only 15 days for a garment to go through the process of designing to being sold to consumers (Fashionista, June 2016). This high demand of trends is contributed by instant coverage of fashion weeks and street style online. It used to take about six months for a product. to be on sale and

has now been slashed down to three weeks. The Fast Fashion revolutionised from the end of the 1990’s when companies began to look for new ways to increase market sales. Traditionally most fashion labels have produced two main collections a year, spring/ summer and autumn/winter. However due to the high demand of trends, mass-market stores needed to keep the consumers interested therefore created collections mid-season to increase sales. They segmented their supply chain, keeping basic products to be manufactured in the Far East however brought production of more high fashion items closer to where the brand is originated (Fast Fashion, “value” fashion, Ethical Fashion Forum, n.d.). Fast Fashion owes its global revolution to “out-ofthe-box” thinking developed by Lee Joon-Hwan (2011) that separates itself from the convention of the apparel industry by studying changes in the environment in which could impact on fast fashion brands, particularly today’s reduced fashion production cycles.

In particular, when the recession hit in the 2008-2009 the crisis showed the decrease in clothing sales as a result of declining incomes. The clothing sector survived the impact of the recession as the result of lower incomes, people are looking for better value clothing. The fast fashion retail has been experiencing rapid growth where the apparel industry has been hit by recession and increasingly saturated markets with a market share for providers continuing to increase (Lee Joon-Hwan, 2011). Consumers were far from stopping spending on clothes, as most did not change their shopping habits although they tightened their purses, they did not stop buying clothes. This meant that brands were going to have to create new ways to urge their customers to still spend their income on apparel despite the recession. A shift from “planned production” to quick response production that can adapt immediately to latest trends and adjust

inventory to meet consumers wants and needs. Although the conventional planned production has an advantage of more likely achieving sales in a large scale by producing large amounts of apparel in advance, however, if pre season goes off plan there is a no guarantee of sales and piling inventories of unsold products. The Spanish based organisation Inditex built a quick response production that completes the process including delivery to the stores in only two weeks (Lee Joon-Hwan, 2011). The fast fashion and mass-market retail are evolving to become more convenient for their consumers. Fast fashion retailers such as Inditex and H&M have increased their number of stores overseas in which we now see most fast fashion brands within 200 meters of each other in commercial areas of major cities. Moreover, affordable fast fashion retail can use their quick response cycles to create “scarcity value” for their products.

Unlike the conventional clothing retailers that renew their stock seasonally, fast fashion restocks as frequently as once a week. The theory behind the scarcity value is to turnover products rapidly spurring consumers to purchase the desirable items at the full price instead of waiting for markdowns, as their opportunity to buy the item is limited. Due to the high demand of trends within the fast fashion retail, they have now established themselves as “trend leaders” rather than “trend followers” in contrast to the affordable ready to wear apparel were designed to be lower quality versions of haute couture. Fast fashion has met the wants and needs of mass-market consumers who desire unique designs that reinterpret those of the famous designers. Conventional affordable brands traditionally sold basic items and classic styles, imitating prestigious brands for average consumers. (Lee Joon-Hwan, “out-ofthe-box” Thinking In The Apparel Industry, 2011).


In addition, Internet and the boom of social media contribute wildly to the rise of fast fashion. The Fashion industry underwent dramatic changes in dealing with the changes of the environment and development of the Internet. Developments in media over the past decade has impacted on the way a consumer can shop and accelerated the speed in which fashion trends can be spread amongst consumers, while shortening the life span of particular trends in the process as consumers demands are at a high.

The rise of Instagram, Snapchat and live feeds from social bloggers now give the world a real time look at fashion weeks for every season (Also, the high demand of trends leads to the millennial generation feeling pressured to be seen on social media in the same outfit giving people the opportunity to buy into the fast fashion retailing. In 2008, there was a 34% increase in online shopping and there is a recorded 118% year-on-year increase in sales in dedicated fashion websites such as (Fashion, Telegraph, February 2009).




FAST FASHION While shopping in fast fashion retail, consumers have had the thoughts in their minds as to how the prices are kept so low. The answer can be that somewhere down the supply chain where clothes are being produced by workers being paid even less that the products (Fashionista, May 2015). Due to the high demand of trends and vast development of social media, fast fashion does indeed need to be fast to accompany the consumers demands. The increase in the amount of clothes in which a consumer is buying has consequences for the environment. The competitiveness in the mass-market sector leads to pressure on the supply chains. “Buyers pressure factories to deliver quality products with ever-shorter lead times.

Most factories just don’t have the tools and expertise to manage this effectively, so they put the squeeze on the workers. Its only margin they have to play with� (Oxfam report, 2004). Some companies have started to address the problems involvedin the fast fashion retail by choosing to integrate recycled clothing into their collections or raise awareness to the consumers about the environmental issues within the fashion industry by starting campaigns in which will be looked at through case studies. On the other hand there are still some fast fashion brands that have not addressed such problems and are being abused by the media as they find non-ethical ways in which their clothes are sourced (Ethical Fashion Forum, n.d.).

Although consumers reacted positively to the sudden revolution of fast fashion, this unfortunately affects factory workers. A Sri Lankan factory owner expresses the pressure, “ Last year the deadlines were about 90 days… [This year] the deadlines for delivery are about 60 days. Sometimes even 45… They have drastically come down.” (Oxfam, Ethical Fashion Forum, n.d.). The clean Clothes Campaign describes conditions from workers in China: “ We have endless overtime in the peak season and we sit working non-stop for 13-14 hours a day. Its like this every day –

we sew and sew without a break until our arms feel sore and stiff.” The increase in the amount of products people are consuming due to fast fashion in the mass market sector is now showing the damage its causing for the environment as more clothing is shipped from the far east before the rise of fast fashion as life cycles of garments is decreasing. (Ethical Fashion Forum, n.d.).

To help understand the ramifications of fast fashion, watching the new documentary “The True Cost” (2015) will make the viewers of this aware and clear of the situation. In order to keep costs as low as possible in stores for the brands as the mass-market sector compete against each other, it puts pressure on factories to then keep prices low in countries like Bangladesh and India. The factories also fight to keep the lowest price to allow the manufactures to choose their business. There is no surprise when the people losing out are the factory workers, 85% being women. One of who speaks in the documentary stating her and her workers attempted to form a union to demand higher wages, but were locked in a room to be beaten.

“It’s not only price pressure. It’s ignoring other people’s lives,” says one factory owner of mass-market brands’ attitudes toward manufacturers. (Fashionista, May 2015). The documentary also recorded an incident as the state of the working environment took its toll as the world sees the reality of fast fashion. The collapse of the 8-storey Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh on April 24th 2013 gave a clear insight to the seriously dangerous working conditions that the workers live through to make the “throw-away” fashion clothes. The total death toll for the incident was 1,000 and leaving 2,500 injured. This was the worse ever-industrial accident to hit the garment industry (BBC, May 2013).





















H&M H&M is a retailer in the mass-market sector, which offers consumers a combination of timelessness and distinguishing trends for both men and women. It sells its own brands but also commissions design collaborations with independent fashion labels therefore draws in the consumers from the luxury sector as well as the average customer on the high street. The apparel retailer has endured an incredible journey from opening a single store in 1947 in Sweden to becoming one of the leading fa st fashion businesses with 2,026 stores in

43 countries and 94,000 employees worldwide. The grandson of the founder, Karl-Johan Persson, took over in 2009 as CEO controlling the brand to become the global leader in the fast fashion market owing to its distinctive business approach that challenged most competitors. The distinctive business model commonly referred to as ‘cheap-and-chic’, emphasised high fashion prices below those of competitors with the fundamental principle being ‘Fashion and quality at the best price.’ (H&M in fast fashion: continued success? Regnér, Yildiz, September 2013).

MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA H&M’s strong brand image is associated with value and stylish collections. In addition to the 200 in-house designer collaborations with famous designers, there is a unique approach that has been retained by H&M over the years. This includes collections designed by Stella McCartney in 2005, by Italian Designer Roberto Cavalli and Kylie Minogue in 2007, by Alexander Wang 2014, by Balmain in 2015, by Kenzo 2016 and next year by famous singer The Weeknd. Highlighting the brand’s high level of awareness, H&M was ranked 21st among the top 100 most valuable global brands according to Interbrand in 2011, with a brand value of $16.5 billion. In comparison, Zara ranked 44th with $8 billion and Gap at 84th with $4 billion.

This huge difference in competitors can be attributed to the long-term advertising collaboration campaigns with high profile celebrities. In order to enhance its fashion brand name, it spends around 5% of its revenues on advertising. Due to the high profile image with celebrities and designers, H&M has established a strong social media presence. The company has aimed to become apart of customers’ daily lives through its pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Also, the vast development of technology allows easy access to online shopping where H&m consumers can explore the latest collections and campaigns. At its launch in August 2010, the iPhone app was the most downloaded application in almost

Buying, Local production offices and corporate social responsibility. H&M does not own any factories, instead manufacturing is primarily outsourced to low-cost countries. The main focus on economies of scale, including low-wage and high-volume production, the company maintains low input costs and often has the latest trends in its stores within a month of the initial design. H&M constantly redefines its production in response to changing market and production conditions to ensure they improve the efficiency continuously of the production flow. In this format, they have been able to decrease lead times by 15-20% in recent years. (H&M in fast fashion: continued success? Regnér, Yildiz, September 2013).

H&M was one of the mass-market retailers to be in relation to the Rana Plaza incident in Bangladesh. H&M have received much abuse in terms of their fast manufacturing and how it is damaging the environment and the factory workers enduring the hours and pain to make the clothes. H&M signed a Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety in 2013 to better the working conditions in factories. Reported in September 2016, there has been no change and the factories are still not safe. An analysis shows that all factories in January 2016 still had lockable doors that could prevent the workers from leaving

the factory in an emergency but have removed the locks. Also the percentage of collapsible gates still in place has decreased considerably. More troubling, however, is that 69% of these factories have not completed the installation of all fire-rated doors required for a safe exit for all workers. “ Three years after signing the Accord, there is no more excuse for such delays,” said Ineke Zelenrust of the Clean Clothes Campaign: “it is unacceptable that in the majority of H&M factories in Bangladesh workers still run the risk of being trapped in the building in case of a fire.” (Clean Clothes Campaign, September 2016).



“LOOK GOOD, DO GOOD, FEEL GOOD” Although, there are bad reports on the fast manufacturing of production from H&M, they are one of the only mass-market retailers to try and make a change to the environmental issues fashion faces. They have gone to the effort of having a separate website on their ‘conscious actions’ through a sustainability section. This includes up to date statistics on the good they are doing to keep their company eco-friendly through a key performance evaluation, for example: In 2015, some 1.3 million pieces were made with closed loop material. That’s over 300% compared to 2014 (H&M sustainability, 2015).

H&M also show how the consumers can get involved by encouraging them to ‘care for your clothes’. They have also recently in 2013 launched a ‘recycle your clothes’ campaign were consumers can drop off unwanted garments no matter what brand or condition. Since launching the campaign, they have gathered 32,000 tonnes of garments to give them a new life which is more fabric than in 100 million t-shirts (H&M Group, n.d.). H&M have also made changes for the environment, by supporting the Close the Door Campaign which are committed to reducing energy use and air pollution in stores.

solutions H&M’s differences to the environment in terms of retail are a vast improvement in comparison to the start of the fast fashion movement. Companies in the mass-market sector are following in the footsteps to becoming more sustainable and environmental. The fast fashion leader Zara has launched a new sustainability initiative and clothing line. Zara’s #JoinLife imitative collection which is designed for “a woman who looks into a more sustainable future,”

is made with materials aimed at reducing environmental impact, like organic cotton or recycled wool (allure, Mackenzie, September 2016). Topshop have done the immensely similar idea by launching a sustainability clothing line ‘Topshop Reclaim’. This is encouraging for other fashion retailers to do the same and in time they will begin to follow in the footsteps of the leading fast fashion retailers.



Future of Fashion

Fast fashion has revolutionised the fashion industry giving brands a stepping-stone to produce more campaigns and technology to give customers more opportunities to shop. A new report by shopping centre operator Westfield claims that customers expect retailers to use technology to intervene in the shopping experience. It found out that 41% of UK shoppers are interested in using virtual reality headsets to experience products, whereas the other percentage would like stores to offer more experiences that appeal to senses such as sound and smell and taste rather than just sight and touch. This report claims it is becoming increasingly important to manipulate these aspects of physical stores to differentiate them from shopping online

(Marketing Week, Bacon, March 2016). Progress in the online shopping market have already taken action as a new shopping app produced in the US called Ever enables users to instantly purchase items from their favourite TV shows in real time, users take a screenshot of the show and the app locates where the on-screen items can be purchase (LS:N Global, Holmes, September 2016). Using a primary source from questionnaires, the researcher found out that most results came back from the question: “Do you think in the future of fashion, online shopping will become more advanced?” consumers answered yes with explanations alike to this particular answer, “Yes, it’s always advancing. Probably more options and even easier than it is now.”


To conclude, the fast fashion industry in the mass-market sector has its advantages due to the ‘cheap-and-chic’ approach and the ‘quick response’ business model brand competitor’s use. However the impact it is causing on the environment and the factory workers abroad has came to light

URE 33 recently from the Rana Plaza incident to the landfills of wasted clothes. This is the reason why companies are launching more sustainable collections and eco-conscious campaigns. Although the question is, is the impact of the brands campaigns going to change the way a consumer shops?



Bacon, J. (2016) How VR and real-time data are changing shopping. Available at: (Accessed: 3 November 2016). BBC (2013) Bangladesh factory collapse toll passes 1, 000. Available at: http://www. (Accessed: 25 October 2016). BROOKE, E. (2015) ‘THE TRUE COST’ IS A JARRING LOOK AT THE HUMAN CASUALTIES OF FAST FASHION. Available at: (Accessed: 3 November 2016). Chronicle, D. (2016) Social media is behind the new fast fashion revolution. Available at: (Accessed: 17 October 2016). Fellowes, J. (2009) Online shopping: Fast fashion at your fingertips. Available at: (Accessed: 25 October 2016). H&M group | recycle your clothes (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 1 November 2016). Harper, J. and Nivelo (2006) Fast fashion, ‘value’ fashion. Available at: https://www. (Accessed: 20 October 2016). Holmes, S. (2016) Show-shopper. Available at: (Accessed: 3 November 2016). IDACAVAGE, S. (2016) FASHION HISTORY LESSON: THE ORIGINS OF FAST FASHION. Available at: (Accessed: 3 November 2016). (2011) ‘Mass market retailer’, in Available at: (Accessed: 13 October 2016). jaymeodonoghue (2016) Zara launches first sustainable collection, stirs debate on ‘fast fashion’. Available at: (Accessed: 2 November 2016). Lee, J.-H. (2011) Fast Fashion: Out-of-the-Box Thinking in the Apparel Industry. . Loeb, W. (2015) Who are the fast fashion leaders and why does it matter? Available at: (Accessed: 13 October 2016). Regner, P. (2013) CASE STUDY H&M in fast fashion: continued success? . Singer, M. (2015) The clothing insurrection: It’s time to take on the fashion supply chain. Available at: (Accessed: 2 November 2016). Sustainability (2014) Available at: (Accessed: 1 November 2016). Topshop: Reclaim to Wear (no date) Available at: msg.aspx?sg1=8221669d9eb4f7406d065d90de0e8b3cdd860a0b376f3b3bc2218a8ea53a1fe9 (Accessed: 2 November 2016).

Images Fig 1, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 2, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 3, Fashion Me Now, Lucy Williams n.d. Fig 4, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 5, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 6, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 7, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 8, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 9, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 10, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 11, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 12, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 13, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 14, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 15, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 16, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 17,, n.d. Fig 18, Modern Materialist, n.d. Fig 19, Modern Materialist, n.d.

Fig 20, The True Cost Trailer, YouTube, April 23 2015 Fig 21, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 22, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 23, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 24, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 25, Fashion Me Now, Lucy Williams, n.d. Fig 26, Fashion Me Now, Lucy Williams, n.d. Fig 27, Andrew Biraj/Reuters, n.d. Fig 28, Andrew Biraj/Reuters, n.d. Fig 29, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 30, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 31, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 32, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 33, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 34, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 35, The Reformation, n.d. Fig 36, The Reformation, n.d Fig 37, The Reformation, n.d.


Fashion Business Context  
Fashion Business Context