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.
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