Fast Fashion Gets Even Faster

  • By Han Kyeong-jin

    November 02, 2019 08:13

    A trend toward "ultra-fast fashion" brings an even quicker turnover than the fast fashion now firmly established in the world's malls by Zara, H&M, Topshop and the rest.

    While it takes four to five weeks from design to sale of the latest fast-fashion, ultra-fast fashion brands take only one to two weeks. That means they rely on social media to keep abreast of the very latest clothing trends and sell their apparel through online channels to save distribution costs and time.

    One of Korea's biggest online malls, Musinsa, markets an average of 6,700 new products a week, while rival StyleShare churns out 2,200 new products on a weekly basis.

    They manufacture their products in sweatshops in Seoul's Dongdaemun Market and factories in China's Guangzhou and Hangzhou, and Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City.

    Shin Hee-jung at StyleShare said, "We closely monitor sales volume, repurchase rates, number of clicks and popular search words to identify the latest trends and often propose ideas to brands that sell their merchandise on our website."

    The system obviates the need to store large amounts of stock in warehouses, which improves efficiency.

    The biggest drawbacks are pollution and counterfeit goods. Mass production of synthetic textiles such as polyester creates toxic residue, carbon monoxide and fine plastic particles. And the trendy products are easily copied by knockoff merchants.

    One fashion designer said, "Competing in this fast-paced market could end up having a negative impact on a brand image from a long-term perspective." If retailers miscalculate the target consumer group or quality issues result in a large number of products being returned, it could cause losses to balloon.

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