Fast Fashion

Surface Media’s CEO offers his take on a current buzzword, idea, or trend.

There are many negative things to say about so-called “fast fashion,” a trend, proliferated by companies such as Zara and H&M, of getting more styles to market faster. NGOs such as Greenpeace are blowing the whistle about exploited workers and the negative impact this new model has on the environment, but my focus is its effect on the luxury space. I blame young people and anyone who isn’t aware of what makes luxury goods worth the high prices they command. These consumers see a modestly-priced floral-pattern bomber jacket on the racks at Zara that bears a striking resemblance to a $3,000 version that Gucci presented earlier that year, and the difference is completely lost on them. This is a problem. The cheap knockoff is of terrible quality and falls apart soon after purchase, which means going back to the scene of the crime to buy a replacement. They see neither a distinction between aesthetic and quality nor the value of the more expensive piece, something that’s handmade and built to last. This is why high-end fashion houses are in a state of emergency. Speed has supplanted thoughtfulness as the fuel that keeps the industry solvent. But we can stop the bleeding with some TLC. Instead of ridiculing that person sporting a Michael Kors bag—the quintessence of entry-level luxury—we should support them, while pointing them in the right direction. Let that dangling MK pendant be their Discover card on the way to better credit or, in this case, perhaps, something by Louis Vuitton.

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