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Fast fashion: cultural problem or savior?

Increasing availability

By Ellie Hudd
On April 20, 2014

Perhaps one of the foremost changes in the fashion industry in recent years has been the rise of fast fashion merchants like H&M and Express. Though fast fashion certainly has its problems, as Alexandra outlines, it also has incredible benefits. For better or worse (and often both), fast fashion has become a major part of the fashion market and the industry as a whole, and it brings its own unique benefits.
First and foremost, fast fashion outlets remediate the isolation felt by mainstream consumers as a result of the fashion industry's exclusivity. The fashion industry actually thrives on being inaccessible to most of the world's consumer population, marketing the most carefully-made, detail-oriented designs to the world's wealthiest and most selective consumers. This was a much more acceptable phenomenon before the rise of social media, which has since allowed consumers a much greater sense of access to the goings-on in the fashion world, and they now want in. Fast fashion gives consumers a way to access these trends.
Furthermore, while designers can achieve wide acclaim marketing to this small population, they are becoming aware of the untapped resource that the general public can provide. By offering small collections, or even just their influences, to the likes of Target and H&M, they can give the public a small, controlled taste of their work with the hopes of increasing public interest.
Finally, the low prices of fast-fashion clothing and the quick turnover rates of fashion trends are a match made in heaven. Though many pieces from designer collections are designed to accommodate multiple looks and trends for future years, a large majority of them embody a designer's of-the-moment take on a fleeting industry-wide trend. Fast fashion allows consumers to experiment with these trends while paying an appropriate cost-per-wear for the trendy garment.

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