On the surface the title may be slightly perplexing, for every time you switch on TV you hear another remarkable fashion success story; how the British fashion industry is currently in a period of sustained growth, fashion retailing goliaths like Zara and H and M opening another new store, in the most likely places every two minutes or how the biggest fashion group in the world, Inditex made Amancio Ortega the 5th richest man in the world. However, sure economically speaking the world of fashion is in a goldilocks period that doesn’t betray any signs of regression, but my concerns over the future of the fashion world remain more in the creative, innovative and artist realm rather in questions of money.
As quickly as it takes for you to order and eat a Big Mac from MacDonald’s, is similar time interval it takes Zara to create, distribute and sell a new collection. When it comes to the word ‘fast’, nothing in 2014 epitomizes the word more than retailing giant Zara, sorry Usain Bolt maybe next year. While most retailers adopt the model of having two main collections a year, Zara ignores the norm and adopts it’s on unique business blueprint. Their strategy is unique and ingenious, because what they do is closely monitor exactly what people are purchasing, then either order tones more of the same thing or take the design and make subtle changes to it then redistribute into their shops as a completely new product, meaning possibly every two weeks shoppers can expect something different in Zara.
Where my problem rides, is in the very ethos of Zara; produce new concepts and designs at a breakneck speed. Remember the old proverb that goes “all great things take time”. When have you ever gone to a Zara store and had your mind blown by the shear mesmerising beauty of a blouse, a denim jacket created from craftsmanship boarding on the Michelangelo-esk or the truly show stopping summer dress? The answer is never! When you are producing garments at that pace, it is simply impossible to maintain a commendable artistic standard to your clothes. You might say that high street retailers never claimed to be hourt couture pieces parading up and down Versace and Valentino catwalks. But by continuing to saturate the market in such a way will surely have an effect on how people dress. No longer will people be looking for that timeless and versatile cocktail dress, instead all people would be looking for is how best they can keep on trend with their friends are and what the high streets are stocking; even if it means throwing away clothes in perfectly good condition, in exchange for having more room in your wardrobe for new clothes. Think about the poor planet!
The world is getting smaller as we gain a better understanding of each other and our cultures mix leading the way for new, innovate and interesting paths to be forged in the way of creativity in the fashion industry. But if this taking too far it might cause the global fashion industry in particular to slowly homogenise instead of remain unique and diverse.
American films are becoming ever more popular in foreign markets and western music artist are also becoming an even big hit on the other side of the world. So what does all this add up to? This means that western culture and fashion is slowly monopolising the culture and dress sense of these countries and inadvertently distancing younger generations from their own traditional culture in an exchange for reaching that American ideal. Added to this fact that every two minutes it seems a new H and M or Prada store is being opened in India or China.
The way I see it, it’s a blessing to have access to exotic clothes which should be warn to your heart’s content, but at the same time I still want these countries to keep a sense of their own countries fashion identity, just to keep the global fashion tapestry as rich and vibrant as possible.
Retail giants being everywhere, kills individuality! From experiences I brought a leather jacket from H and M which I thought was an absolute bargain for it quality and aesthetic, but it was less than 12 minute of walking down the street that I spotted at least 2 other people wearing the exact same jacket (obviously we know who was rocking it best thought). And I’m pretty sure that experiences isn’t unique to just me, because it seems nowadays that fashion isn’t a statement or a way of rebelling, instead it seems more like a uniform you must wear to conform. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised seeing as now you can close your eyes and every two steps you take; in any random direction you will be guaranteed to walk head first into to another chain of Gap, Topman or Uniqlo. With so many retail giants, it is suffocating the fashion industry by leaving very little available room for the smaller and independent outlets which unfortunately might lead to a bottleneck of our clothing choices.
So how could we prevent the fashion industry from becoming such a post apocalyptic waste land that even Rick from The Walking Dead thanks the heavens for only having to deal with zombies? Nothing, absolutely nothing, we’re doomed. Well that’s only if we don’t making slight difference to our personal approach to shopping. To combat fast fashion, maybe aims to purchase clothes that have a longer shelf life and stores like Uniglo cater perfectly to this by creating products for all time rather just for the now. In terms of globalisation; if you live in Asia, anytime you see a product from a home grown designer and you like the looks of it, buy it! Shops are surely going to notices the trend and endeavor to hunt for more local goodness. Then finally let’s be the rock to the David that is independent stores against goliath that are the retail giants by simply aiming for our wardrobes to comprise of at least 25% independent or vintage, just to keep the likes of Zara on their toes and to support local companies.