Fast-fashion retail”, also known as disposable fashion, is a concept that many believe originally came from Japan -the land of fast-shoppers and the fastest-changing trends. What it means is when a retailer can provide stylish clothing that’s completely trendy, delivered to the consumer fast and at relatively inexpensive prices, then change up their entire inventory, with fresh new styles within the timeframe of about 2 weeks. The result is that consumers, usually young people who want to change their styles often and are part of a faster paced mash-up culture of high-end and low-end styles, will buy the store’s collections, but because the costs don’t break the bank, tend to have a more “disposable” attitude towards the apparel and simply buy more when new fashions are on the racks. This also includes buying inexpensive accessories.
The leader in big-box retail in the fast-fashion movement is H&M from Europe and as they continue to move into America, adding more stores, they have become the retailer to watch (along with American Apparel, Target, and Uniqlo) in the near future. This store, which is becoming synonymous as a brand in terms of youth culture “brand preferences,” as indicated in our European Youth Culture Study covering the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany, is the most popular store that 15-25-year-olds prefer to shop in at 16%. As outlined here, other top stores in our Pan-European Report include Zara, Topshop, and others, depending on spikes in preferences from various countries, i.e., TopShop in the UK and El Corte Ingles in Spain.
In comparison from our North American Youth Culture Studies, while H&M is not the #1 favorite store yet, they have tripled in the last 2 years as a preferred shopping location among 13-25-year-olds, which also corresponds with the increase in the number of H&M stores available in North America, as well as their growing reputation for attracting buyers online via Second Life and other highly integrated digital shopping campaigns (which Uniqlo also has).
Target H&M and TopShop, have used the concept of masstige to great effect, by bringing in either top-end designers such as Stella McCartney, Isaac Mizrahi, and celebs such as Madonna to increase credibility among the masses with limited-edition collections. This has created an even more vibrant shopping experience while increasing exposure and offering up content for juicy marketing and advertising campaigns -particularly on the web.
In many ways, the growth of fast-fashion, which also plays into the power of pop-up retail, has made what was once considered “informal” retail, “formal” retail as the new strategy for capturing new consumers.
For more information about fast-fashion, pop-up retail, and the state of retail in general, including consumer preferences data comparisons and profiles for American Apparel, H&M, Uniqlo, Target, Vintage, TopShop, PacSun, Zumiez, Quiksilver, and others, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org; (323) 630-4000 about the Premium Global Youth Culture Subscription 2008.