FAST FASHION, COVID-19 & DIGITAL MARKETING

Fast fashion is a model of mass-production of cheaply made clothing –  designed to replicate ‘of the moment’ trends, that are readily available at low prices. Retail brands such as Zara, have a 15-day process from designing an item to selling it (Osmanski, 2019).

Fast fashion retailers capitalise on ‘what’s-in’ by engaging in child labour and exploiting millions of workers with below minimum wage – in developing countries. This is in effort to keep up with ever-changing fashion trends and make big profits, whilst neglecting the detrimental environmental impacts. Fashion—a $2.5 trillion sector—is the second most polluting industry on Earth, right behind oil. 

Thankfully, consumers are becoming more and more environmentally conscious in what they choose to purchase. This resonates with several surveys that point to millennials willing to pay a premium for sustainably produced goods. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically affected the global fashion industry. It is estimated that industry revenues will contract by 27 to 30 percent in 2020 year-on-year (Amed et al., 2020). Consumer demand is at an all-time low, struggling brands have shut down and others are left to brace and mitigate the unpredictable times ahead.

This period of uncertainty puts particular emphasis on the value of digital channels and is showing signs of greater advancements in the field of digital marketing. One great example is Sweden-based Rudholm Group coming up with a concept called ShareLabel. ShareLabel adds a unique QR code alongside basic details on their garment label. By scanning the code, the consumer is directed to a specific URL where the story behind the clothes can be told in a manner that the brand desires (through video, text or images). 

The awareness revolving the dark Fast Fashion industry, along with the Covid-19 pandemic will be a driving force behind brands evolving more into the digital sphere.

Digital platforms will continue to be vital for companies in the recovery phase of Covid-19 and reliance on such, is likely to make companies more inclined to pursue advancements that incorporate greater sustainability practices. Such as, the Rudholm groups ShareLabel idea and similar innovations that allow the consumer to more easily gain insight into exactly how their product is being produced, it’s quality/authenticity and how that company is making efforts to be sustainable. 

The Covid-19 pandemic, in forcing brands to put themselves virtually entirely online, has emphasised the value of digital channels in connecting with consumers and facilitating transactions. 

Although, the Fast fashion industry is complicated and difficult to unravel, we can be relieved that shifts toward digital marketing will help shed more light on this issue and help consumers make better, more ethical decisions, when it comes to fashion. 

thanks for reading! leave any comments below 🙂

14 thoughts on “FAST FASHION, COVID-19 & DIGITAL MARKETING

  1. It’s amazing how the internet can help to spread awareness on issues such as Fast Fashion and help people adjust their consumption patterns to help overcome the issue. I wonder what the role the development of worldwide communication and the internet has played in the growth of the Fast Fashion industry? Pre-internet, a clothing brand in the USA would have limited ability to engage with manufacturers in South East Asia (as an example). Great post! I check out my blog, I wrote a post about fashion this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fast fashion truly is a major concern, with ethical abuse abound as you discussed. My major concern is the impact on prices, given the massive unemployment now and to come, whether or not consumers will care enough to enforce sustainable practices. definitely an interesting topic, great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awareness around the circumstances of fast fashion is becoming such an important issue to consumers, the digital advancements are such an interesting topic and a great opportunity to really bring to light the dark side of this industry! Hopefully, with these advancements, corporations will take some accountability for the devastating impact they have on the environment and the poor conditions they have their workers in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the idea of having QR codes that when scanned give you the story behind a garment. I think many brands wouldn’t want to disclose how they exploit cheap labour in the manufacturing process, however. I guess this provides another customer touchpoint, though, and an opportunity to market your brand. Really interesting topic, Zoe : )

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post Zoe! I’ve been watching a few documentaries recently about multinationals and the immense corruption and exploitation behind the scenes. The widespread use of child labour for fast fashion companies is beyond shocking and devastating but it’s encouraging to see more and more informed consumers. I will absolutely now pay a higher price for clothes if they are genuinely ethically produced. Love the idea of Sharelabel, extremely smart and helpful use of technology. I really hope we see many more of these digital innovations!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, it’s honestly a scourge on society. In general I think we (i.e. westerners/those living in developed world) are blissfully and deliberately unaware of how much of our material wealth, comfort and convenience is only possible due to the exploitation of others.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. The QR code was such a great idea for the brand to use, because this is such a massive issue. I am definitely more inclined to purchase an item if I know the story behind its production. This is a huge opportunity for so many fashion brands

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Zoe, loved this post and is something constantly on my mind when purchasing online! I think now more than ever brands need to be open and transparent with their ethical practices as consumers show their values through their wallet and are becoming more socially aware about the fast fashion industry than ever before! Speaking from personal experience, in January I made myself the goal of only purchasing from ethical and sustainable brands going forward and am so happy to say I’ve sticked with it, and this QR code will be a huge help!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Really great perspective from the marketing side of the truly dismal operation of fast fashion. I hope the integration of consumer awareness and improved digital practices can provide for more authentic and open brand practices. With the major deficits faced by the fast fashion industry, many of the people most affected are the already exploited workers in developing countries as they haven’t been paid by these large corporations for the work they’ve done. You should check out businesses like Lost Stock, they do some great work through social media to help these workers recover.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well said Zoe. Recently i have been introduced to the modern world of “minimalism” and interestingly enough, this topic of fast fashion was something that is really frowned upon. (In the nicest way possible of course.)
    The great thing about it is that; the ideology behind why we shouldn’t chase upon such things really does stem back to what you have mentioned. A very nice topic to bring out. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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