Fast Fashion Didn’t Kill Fashion, Fashion Did

There’s a lot of talk these days (herehere, and here) about the extensive damage the accessibility and affordability of fast fashion has done to the larger fashion industry.

The chaotic crowds of shoppers queuing overnight and jostling for the H&M x Balmain capsule collection, marketed cleverly with the use of IT girls of the moment including Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, have people wondering if there is just too much fashion, no, too much cheaply and quickly-produced fashion around these days.


Do you really believe that?

Is someone buying 40 $10 T-shirts from H&M depriving a luxury label of the sale of one $400 equivalent? Maybe, if it’s clearly a rip-off and folks are thinking they are buying an exact replica (there’s ample legal recourse). More often than not, these aren’t bootlegged versions, but loosely-inspired reproductions.

For example, is a skull-head graphic print exclusive ONLY to one luxury brand?

Doesn’t fashion itself also copy, appropriate from others?

In fact, the rules of copyright apply differently for fashion, and this loose(r) enforcement has resulted in more innovation and sales. To that point, I lean towards what Tom Ford once said about Gucci counterfeits, and by that extrapolation, fast-fashion productions: That they appeal to different markets.

In other words, someone who is a TOM FORD customer isn’t going to being hijacked by a H&M/TopShop/Zara copy.

That said, the designer has recently also commented, “A lot of the things I did – it’s not going to sound anything but egotistical – if I’m lucky and I did the right thing, they will be at Zara way before I can get them in the store, and I don’t like that.”

If anything, affordable fashion has made it such that MORE people can dress more fashionably. If more luxurious fashion labels cannot make their own case with workmanship, materials and brand DNA, and thus justify a higher price tag, in light of a larger, more fashionable consumer base, then perhaps it is their own fault they aren’t doing well.

Amancio Ortega, the multi-billionaire founder of European clothes retailer Zara recently became the wealthiest person in the world, attesting to burgeoning growth of the fashion industry. Has his wealth really come at the expense of other fashion labels?

Doesn’t this just mean the pie has become bigger for everyone?

My view is, if you’re in fashion or any other business, you need to clearly articulate your value proposition. Face it, there is always going to be cheaper competition.

ANYBODY can try to put red soles on their stiletto pumps (not that you won’t get sued), but there is ONLY ONE Christian Louboutin.