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Boohoo, Asos & Missguided pave the way for 'Ultrafast Fashion'

By Vivian Hendriksz


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London - The rise of the fast fashion model is said to have transformed the fashion industry and the way we perceive and consumer fashion. Amancio Ortega, otherwise known as the man behind the runaway fashion success retail story Zara, is said to have been the one to bring the business model into mainstream fashion, which has since been picked up by a number of fast fashion players, ranging from H&M to Forever 21 and Primark. The fast fashion business model was originally developed to rapidly respond to latest trends and deliver them to consumers in store within a matter of weeks.

But a new generation of young fashion retailers has seen the emergence of an ever faster model, turning fast fashion into ‘ultrafast fashion.’ These fashion retailers, which include the likes of Asos, Boohoo and Missguided, are said to have the shortest and leanest supply chain cycles. Their rapid turnover of new products sees them featuring new items every one to two weeks, tapping directly into consumers’ growing demand for immediacy. In turn is said to drive their swift sales growth and success and sees them leaving fashion retailers like Zara and H&M in the dust, according to a new report from Fung Global Retail & Technology.

These fashion retailers have been able to tightly streamline their supply chains and move production closer to their key markets, making it easier for them to speed up their design and manufacturing process. In part, this is due to the digital revolution, which makes it easier for designers to find and share inspiration and designs with manufacturers. According to the report, Boohoo, Asos and Missguided are able to produce fashion products in as little to one to four weeks, in comparison to the five weeks it takes Zara and H&M on average to create new products and the six to nine-month cycle most traditional fashion retailers follow.

Ultrafast fashion retailers are able to avoid traditional retailers issues such as product shortages and excessive inventory by basing large quantities of production closer to their headquarters and main customer markets. This way they are able to balance undersupply and markdowns. Ultrafast fashion retailers make designs in small batches to test demand and if items prove to be successful, they can quickly be reproduced. This is why smaller utlrafast fashion retailers like Missguided have become so popular. Launching 1,000 new products each month, Missguided updates its site once a day with new stock. If a popular fashion trend does arise, then the fashion retailer aims to have it available for sale in under a week.

Photo: Asos, Facebook

Fast fashion