Fashion Updates | Industry Updates

Fast Fashion is Growing Faster Than Ever Before – Explore

Published: November 1, 2023
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Fast fashion is a relatively recent phenomenon which is growing at a rapid pace all across the world. With the introduction of 52 micro seasons a year, international brands started to launch new fashion collections every week, which in turn flooded markets with more and more options for stylish clothes. Fast fashion describes the speedy turnover of clothing trends and the move towards mass-produced and cheap clothing. India is one of the top fast fashion manufacturing hubs globally. According to a report published by Allied Market Research, the global fast fashion market size is anticipated to reach $291.1 billion with a considerable CAGR from 2023 to 2032. North America is currently dominating the market with the highest market share. The Asia-Pacific region, on the other hand, is expected to witness the fastest growth rate during the forecasted period.

The business model of the fast fashion industry includes rapid design, production, distribution and marketing. Fast fashion allows customers to buy the hot new look at an affordable price. The collections of fast fashion industry are often inspired by the styles presented at Fashion Week runway shows or worn by celebrities. The continuous launching of new clothes encourages customers to frequently make purchases. This factor drives the growth of the global fast fashion market to a great extent. It also increases the consumer purchasing power, especially among the young people aged between 16 to 24 years, because of cheaper and speedier manufacturing processes and shipping methods.

Moreover, the fast fashion industry mainly came into hype during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic when all the physical stores of clothing brands including Zara and H&M were closed. Customers started to order from e-commerce social media sensations such as Shein and Asos. These fast fashion newcomers exist entirely online and follow a unique business model which allows them to ship an array of new styles daily to consumers directly from their warehouses, avoiding supply chain snags and import duties in the process. The value of Shein is currently more than the combined value of Zara and H&M.

However, fast fashion is responsible for a massive increase in wastage. For instance, 53 million tonnes of fiber are produced every year by the fashion industry out of which 70% ends up in garbage dumps. Also, these clothes are shipped around the world, which in turn results in tons of greenhouse gasses emissions. As per estimation, the fast fashion industry is responsible for 8% to 10% of global emissions. If the fashion industry does not change in the next few years, it is anticipated to increase the temperature by two-degree Celsius.

In addition, the clothes sold by Shein and Asos contain petroleum based, resource intensive synthetic fibers such as nylon & polyester which take centuries to decompose in landfills. Consumers are continuously purchasing cheap clothing and discarding it quickly due to its poor quality. This quick cycle of buying and discarding creates a huge textile and clothing waste every day, most of which are not biodegradable.

At the same time, these fibers are responsible for 35 percent of the microplastics contaminating our oceans. The industry also uses a lot of water and tonnes of chemicals during dying. In order to cut production costs even more, manufacturers use synthetic and chemically treated materials rather than organic ones. This way, the fast fashion industry has come under the spotlight for its contribution to global waste and climate change.

Furthermore, the fast fashion industry is associated with abusive labor practices. Most of the key producers are based in emerging economies where they are following inappropriate working conditions, low labor pay, and other abusive, exploitative practices for labor force. The mass involvement of synthetic chemicals in the production of fast fashion clothing adversely affects the health of laborers. Workers who are regularly exposed to and breathing in these chemicals can suffer from cancer. In order to prevent such health damage to labor force, it is necessary that every country push for legislation around fair wages and corporate responsibility for supply chain management.

Even after all these above-mentioned challenges and restraining factors, fast fashion clothing production has helped accelerate growth in developing countries. It is a source of many jobs, and it creates a great deal of revenue. The current fashion industry is worth trillions of dollars and is expected to gather immense heights in the near future.

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