Social media has ushered in a new era of connectivity that has transformed important sectors. Things that are happening on social media could have a significant impact on the real world, whether it’s a trend, a movement, or a single post. Social media influencers and popular trends have altered the fashion business in particular. Many of these changes have aided in the creation of the ideal climate for fast fashion to grow, resulting in increased environmental and humanitarian concerns. To understand what we can do to turn things around, we need to take a more detailed look at these tendencies. Go to Teh Talk to read more related articles.
What is fast fashion?
Fast fashion refers to a substantial segment of the fashion industry whose business strategy is based on the mass manufacture of low-quality apparel that is pushed through retailers quickly to keep up with the latest trends.
When Spanish fashion company Zara came to New York in the early 1990s, the New York Times invented the word to characterise the brand’s objective of taking only 15 days for a garment to go from design to retail. UNIQLO, Forever 21, and H&M are some of the most well-known and well-known fast fashion brands in the world.
The fast-fashion business strategy entails quick design, production, distribution, and marketing, allowing brands and retailers to draw big amounts of a wider range of products and customers to obtain more style and product distinction at a lower cost.
People are intrinsically drawn to low-cost commodities, many of which are slaves to the latest fads, so a system that relies on such cheap and rapid production simply fosters excessive consumption. Individual customers will also find it easier and more cost-effective to buy low-cost apparel with limited lifespans rather than splurging on high-quality, long-lasting things that will quickly become obsolete.
Trends move faster and faster
The power of social media to instantaneously link people from all over the world and share information is its most well-known feature. One way this affects the fashion sector is that it accelerates the rate at which new fashion trends emerge. Previously, it might have taken years for a specific style to spread from New York City to California, but now, thanks to social media, it can happen in a matter of days. Trends will no longer be characterised by a specific location or time; instead, people will mix and match pieces from many eras regardless of location.
This increased visibility also implies that trends come and go more quickly than ever before. The faster an item becomes fashionable, the faster it goes out of fashion. Timeless goods rise more slowly and last longer as a result. To keep up with the latest trends, consumers buy and discard apparel at a much faster rate. People today discard apparel roughly twice as quickly as they did 15 years ago, according to McKinsey & Company. Companies are the ones who benefit the most as the lifespan of apparel shortens. Clothing has become single-use, requiring consumers to repurchase their wardrobe every season to remain fashionable. This is not only bad for consumers, but it is also harmful to the environment.
Consumers call the shots
Another distinction brought about by social media is that customers are now more than ever shaping trends. With a simple post, influencers and small accounts alike can generate massive demand. For example, internet sensation Emma Chamberlain’s Instagram post almost instantly triggered a surge in flared yoga pants, turtlenecks, and crewnecks. Instead of designers and retailers creating trends based on their most recent releases, customers are doing so, and shops are scrambling to keep up. The shift in this dynamic has had a significant impact on how the industry runs, and it frequently results in squandered merchandise due to how quickly fashion fads fade.
Retailers struggle to keep up
Retailers are finding it difficult to keep up with the pace of change. On a conference call, Dick Johnson, CEO of Foot Locker, said, “The fact is, we’re seeing mobile technology driving transformations in customer behaviour and spending patterns at a faster rate than our industry has been able to keep up with.” Retailers are reducing corners and establishing speedier supply chains to maintain supplying interesting, new fashions. “Fast fashion” is built on this foundation. Even previously high-quality brands are emulating fast fashion to respond to consumer demands more quickly.
Hauls encourage overconsumption
Another trend impacting consumer purchasing patterns is fashion hauls. Hauls are opportunities for creators to try on, critique, and show off big quantities of items at once, usually in video format on YouTube or TikTok. Because the photos on websites are often deceiving, hauls are commended for being honest critiques and showcasing how clothes genuinely look in person. While this is beneficial, hauls can also drive excessive consumption and undesirable purchasing habits.
Many videos entice viewers by touting the massive sums of money spent. Hauls frequently feature trendy, low-cost, fast-fashion businesses like SHEIN, where many people tend to acquire a large quantity of clothing in a single transaction. Viewers are urged to favour quantity over quality in their apparel, particularly those who are young and uninformed of the perils of fast fashion. There’s nothing wrong with flaunting a few new items, but huge hauls like the one above are distorting people’s perceptions of apparel value.
How do we slow this thing down?
Even though many aspects of social media encourage excessive rapid fashion consumption, many people are attempting to bring more sustainable solutions to light. Websites such as Good On You provide sustainability ratings to assist consumers to distinguish between quick fashion and ethical companies. Venetia La Manna and Aja Barber, for example, are sustainable fashion influencers who support the slow fashion revolution and other social concerns. Social media is a powerful tool, and how we choose to use it is what counts most.