Is Fast Fashion Coming To An End?

Fast fashion has been a key driver for retailers and manufacturers over the last couple of decades, thanks to stores slashing their prices on clothes and changing their stock every season. However, as the world becomes more focused on doing their bit for the environment by leaning towards sustainability, the end could be in sight for this trend.

Consumers have been able to get their hands on replicas of catwalk outfits for next to nothing for the last few years. As online shopping took off, the demand for disposable fashion has also skyrocketed, with shoppers not even having to leave their homes to be tempted by several impulse buys. 

Consequently, the likes of Boohoo and Missguided have had unprecedented success since their launch. 

However, recent figures show this love for fast fashion is, itself, disposable, as pre-tax profits for Boohoo fell from £124.7 million to £7.8 million in the year leading to February 28th 2022. 

This could be due to the economic challenges following Covid-19, or the raise in awareness of sustainability. 

Savvy Marketing revealed that 80 per cent of shoppers are now concerned about sustainable fashion.

Its founder Catherine Shuttleworth told Prolific North: “The consumer is changing. The fast fashion shopper is growing up a little bit.”

“The days of saying ‘I’ll buy something and wear it once’ are changing because that consumer is becoming massively sustainability focused,” she stated.

As a result, more consumers have been looking for pre-loved clothes on Ebay or in charity shops, swapping with friends or hanging on to their old outfits for longer. 

According to Harriet Noy, founder of student ‘zero-waste’ marketplace app Hazaar, students will be key players in moving the industry towards sustainability. 

She said: “Students are the changemakers. There’s definitely a shift in people buying less clothes, borrowing from friends more and not looking for fast fashion.”

Consumers who want to do their bit to end the trend of fast fashion should help by buying key pieces that will last them years, instead of weeks. 

According to The Guardian: “The most desirable clothes now are those that will still look desirable in five years’ time. This means dresses in black and white, rather than in whatever the colour of the season may be.”

In response to this, the biggest pieces for AW22 are white cotton shirts, knitted sweater dresses, biker books, tan belts, golden chain necklaces and tailored trouser-suits, all of which have been around for years, and are likely to continue to do so. 

One label that has been adopting this ethos for some time is Ralph Lauren, with the design house having made a name for itself for its preppy clothes and proto-streetwear. Originally worn in the ‘80s and ‘90s, these are being brought back into fashion by GenZ. 

As a result of the “timeless design” of its pieces, Ralph Lauren has become one of the most searched for labels for those looking for pre-loved clothes.  

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October 05, 2022 — Jacob Blakey