Today we began the day by going over to Catolica in order to have a lecture with one of the teachers from the international school. She gave us a presentation about business models and sustainability in the fashion industry. I would say that the most interesting part of the presentation was when she was explaining the rise of fast fashion and how it differs from the traditional model. In the traditional model there is a long, drawn out process of designing and manufacturing the clothes. The people have to slowly create mood boards and pick out and bid on all the different fabrics and raw materials. Then they have to design the clothes themselves. After this they have a fashion show and six months after this point, the clothes actually are available to everyday people to buy the clothes. With fast fashion they are able to complete the entire process within only a month or even less. The way that they manage to do this is by copying designs that they see in the runway and producing it immediately. In order to minimize risk and maximize demand they make it so that they only have very small batches of each garment. This makes it so that they don’t have to worry about having a flop because even if none is sold, they have very small losses from each one because the batch is so small. It also makes it so that if people are interested in a certain product they’re going to buy it as quickly as they can because it might not be available a few days later because of the small batch size coupled with relatively high demand. If you wait just a few extra days, it might be completely sold out and never come back again, so you would miss it entirely.
It seems odd that these companies are allowed to exploit the slowness of the normal fashion industry by simply stealing the designs that they worked so hard on for so long. I don’t know if there’s anything that they could possible do in order to prevent them from doing this. It would be extremely hard because it’s intellectual property and they aren’t stealing the designs exactly, but rather stealing the same inspiration and using similar ideas. I suppose this is necessary for the fashion industry though. This allows normal people to be able to afford designs that they perhaps couldn’t have afforded without fast fashion. It also makes it so that the fashion industry has to think to itself how it could possibly speed up its production because it is currently operating on a very slow and older model of production. One reason I could see for the fashion industry not changing is that everything is currently built how it is and it must be hard to deviate from it. The auctions for fabrics and things like that are certain times of the year, fashion shows typically take place at certain times, etc. It also could be that the industry is concerned that it would sacrifice quality if they were to aim for more speed. Someone has to be actually coming up with the innovative fashion and ideas behind the clothes. Not everyone can just steal other people’s ideas if no one is the one actually coming up with these ideas. There wouldn’t be any ideas to steal. This is why I think that the fast fashion will continue with a different audience in mind than the typical fashion companies. I do think that it means that any lower fashion company that used to operate under the business model of the normal fashion companies will have to switch over to fast fashion. H&M wouldn’t be able to compete with companies like Zara if they were operating under the older, slower model. It would drive them out of business because their consumers would just go to their consumers because of lower price and more designs in less time. I don’t think that this is going to be too much of an issue for high end fashion companies though because they weren’t targeting the average person with their clothing anyways. Normal people can’t really afford to buy Gucci bags or Louis Vuitton clothing. I think that this is interesting how all of this seemed to change within the last 10 to 15 years to the point where nowadays this is relatively normal.