The wait from the runway to retail shops is soon going to be a thing of past; thanks to the concept of fast fashion and its growing impact on an ever-hungry audience, brands no longer want to keep you waiting for six months to complete a seasonal cycle. For a generation that has no time to wait or waste, fast fashion is a cheap, quick and compulsive alternative that resonates perfectly with the millennial mentality.
With high street brands penetrating Indian tier-2 cities, fast fashion has grown in India considerably and taken away a big chunk of a share of the Indian designer wear space. The unexpected mass industrial clothing crop has now started affecting the business of homegrown designers, who are now collaborating or branching out with brands to sustain the blow.
Designer Kanika Jain feels, “A lot of the designers have adopted/started a slow fashion movement that completely changes the pricing of the products eventually making the consumer run to fast fashion retailers, thus affecting the growth of the designers at some level. When compared to high street brands that produce in bulk quantities, the cost of their production is somewhat accommodated in the same. The final pricing of the product is not entirely compromised due to the above reason. However, there is a possibility that they might compromise the pricing of some of the products whose cost comes out to be higher.”
Fast fashion has its upsides as well as downsides, mentions Designer Yadvi Aggarwal adds, “Fast fashion brands are able to mass produce about 52 collections a year and are catering to the consumer who wants to be with the fad and is getting these products at a cheap price as opposed to designer labels.
However, the environmental impact fast fashion has on the environment is not sustainable. With huge amounts of mass production also comes huge waste. Not only the use of polyester in clothing take years and years to disintegrate, but it is also not skin friendly.”
Although, fast fashion isn’t exactly a welcoming idea for most designers, a possible midway happens to be a collaboration with a high street brand as a project. It helps an expensive designer brand reach a wider audience. For creative people, it’s also a medium to cross-pollinate ideas and have a wider range of experiences, especially that give birth to a combined vision of the two very opposite school of thoughts. A notable point in such collabs is the fact that the retailer understands the designer’s aesthetics, and similarly, a designer needs to understand the existing customer of the retailer/brand in order to produce the best results.
In past few years, we have seen high fashion brands like Versace, Kenzo, Balmain, Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Comme des Garcons and Erdem collaborating with international high street giant H&M.
An unexpected beneficiary due to the popularity of fast fashion chains is the growth in rental designer wear segment. Chaitali Parmar, founder of a fashion rental service, elaborates, “Fast fashion is a cheap alternative for clothing, which has a trend rotational cycle of less than a month. These clothes are not meant to last and neither the trends passing through these brands. Everybody is talking about it because it is a cheap source for “trendy” clothes. But it is not sustainable as most of these clothes end up in landfills and are made out of synthetic fabrics.
Hence alternatives such as fashion rentals are on the rise too. It helps millennials break into the world of luxury and timeless fashion. They can “test drive” the products and understand the innate value of the designers’ clothes before purchasing them.”