By The Whippet, May 14 2020 08:00AM
Fast Fashion is in crisis. Since the pandemic began, factories in fear and South East Asia have been put on hold, reducing many to collapse and closure. Fast Fashion retailers in the West have seen fit to ‘halt payment’ of contracted jobs and deliveries in a bid to curb costs as their physical stores temporarily closed across towns and cities in Europe and America, and customers were either furloughed or simply stopped working. This has meant that the big fast fashion retailers stopped the fulfilment of new stock to keep their trends ‘alive’ as customers were more concerned in buying toilet roll and hand sanitizer.
Now there is not only a backlog of ‘old’ stock that should have hit the websites and shop floors in April and May, but following the decisions of certain retailers, a lack of production facility to facilitate new stock for the coming months is also about to bite them on the proverbial. This puts Fast Fashion in a precarious situation. An industry that is solely based around fast turnaround and fortnightly drops now has to configure a long-term plan and source product where they can. The business model has had a stick put in the spokes and the industry model is about to faulter, so say several leading industry experts.
Will we return to a time when quality and longevity rule the consumer’s purchase decisions? The ‘green’ agenda already wishes it were so. Like most industries trying to survive at this time, Fast Fashion will certainly have to change the way it operates. The short term views and quick turn arounds will have to be adapted to the current climate. So too will their business practices and treatment of factories, their staff and their suppliers situated far far way, out of sight. There are bound to be questions raised about the credibility of the fast fashion industry in epicentres of the pandemic, such as Wuhan, and the viability of having such a centric global industry. Fast Fashion also faces the rise of the home grown producer. This current climate has meant some companies have had to diversify, making PPE. It might just be that these new found skills will be the saviour, not only of them, but fashion as a whole.
What we can all do is join the campaign and lobby the Fast Fashion retailers for change. #PayUp