The tragedy in Bangladesh seemed a wake-up call for the global fashion industry, a fashion revolution, which killed more than 1,100 people and injured 2,500. Many of the victims made apparel for international fast fashion brands including Primark, Walmart, and Mango. After these past 5 years of the anniversary at Rana Plaza collapse was rechristened Fashion Revolution Day. “We don’t want our clothes to exploit people or destroy our planet,” reads the mission statement of Fashion Revolution, a UK-based non-profit founded by designers and activists Carry Somers and Orsola de Castro.
For Inditex, Zara-owner reported its smallest gross profit margin in a decade. While comparable-store sales were still up 5 percent in the second half of 2017, it was the slowest growth the retailer has seen in three years. Even if the results seem to be negative Zara and H&M are still the world’s largest clothing companies, generating about $31 billion and $27 billion, respectively, in 2017. Their biggest threats to fast fashion are (1) digital and (2) faster fashion.
Let’s take a look on the last results for Boohoo, which offers ultra-cheap and trendy clothes, mostly via e-commerce. Sales at the Manchester-based retailer were up 97 percent, reaching £579.8 million or about $800 million, last year. (Boohoo also owns Nasty Gal and Pretty Little Thing.) Of course, Boohoo may still be tiny compared to Inditex and H&M but the threat represented by its business model could have serious consequences. More than half of Boohoo’s products are made in the UK, close to consumer demand, which means it can get a product to market even faster, than traditional fast-fashion players.
At the same time, the fast Fashion players continue to lag behind in digital. Maybe it’s ultra-fast Fashion that will change conditions for workers in fashion’s supply chain, reliance on local manufacturing and the rise of automation.
Tmall boosts YSL beauty brand in China. While mass brands have an edge on China’s Tmall in terms of search visibility, prestige labels can fight back by investing in the right areas. Last week, YSL set a new record for the most sales by a beauty brand on its first day of operations on the platform. The L’Oréal-owned brand generated over 30 million RMB ($4.77 million) in sales in the first 14 hours alone. Ten hours later, sales had reached 38 million RMB and the store’s followers totaled 1.2 million.
Everything comes with a price and it’s a matter of “being at the right place at the right time, no matter who or where your target is.