Since the eighties, we have been seeing the great development of the fast fashion companies, which have disrupted into the traditional fashion system changing completely the way we perceive and experience fashion today.
To begin lets understand the main three elements on where that successful system stands on :
- the right price;
- the right product at the right time
Yes , as simple as they sound , this 3 elements englobe a very complicated system in which the lacking of one will definitely affect the performance of the other´s .
The perfect execution of this 3 simples concepts has turned fashion into democratic, where there is an easy and direct access to the trends , colours and looks of the season without the need of a huge budget.
This system has also located the consumer in the center of attention and has giving it the staring role where what he has to say it´s listened and taken into account.
This empowered feeling given to the consumer is now the responsible for the new challenges that the fast fashion companies are facing. For several years the consumer has been delighted with the idea of accessing trends at very low costs but the new generations (more aware of the power they have to align fashion with their beliefs ) have started years ago the conversation questioning who is paying for this low costs? and what is really behind fast fashion? And this conversation is becoming louder as the words like disposability, pollution , low wages and bad working conditions have been related to the well known retailers on the fast fashion scene.
Reports show how Millennials in particular are interested in more sustainable solutions: 66 percent of global millennials are willing to spend more on brands that are sustainable, and this is why nowadays we are more familiar with the term Sustainability across all fashion levels as it has passed from being just a buzzword and has settled down as a demanded standard.
There are many approaches towards sustainability that involves : the suppliers, the environment , the employees, the customer and the community.
Some of those initiatives start from including in the collections a bigger number of garments made with sustainable raw materials and fibres. Others are focusing in turning physical stores into eco-efficient ones where the carbon footprints, packaging waste, energy and water consumptions are dramatically reduced.
After The collapse of Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh which has been one of the worst industrial accidents in fashion history, resulting in the loss of over 1100 lives and injuring thousands of others, the strong polices targeting a change in production conditions and a detailed observation of human and labor rights of all employees recruited ( directly or through business partners ) went to prioritised the Code of conduct chapters in the major fast fashion brands.
In the following years its expected that this younger and empowered consumers continue to be the important drivers of the social changes, where sustainability will utterly evolve from being a package of fragmented initiatives to being an integral and defining part of the entire fashion value chain.
This is why sustainability is a crucial chapter in the Fashion Management Master, as we take a deep look into analysing and understanding the different sustainable practices and campaigns that the most relevant fast fashion retailers have been developing the latest years. Fashion students learn the essential tools to develop a sharp criteria that identifies in detail if sustainability is being used as a powerful word of marketing or in the real integration that closes the loop in the circular economy.