Is Fast Fashion A Real Bargain?

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How many times have you heard “You get what you pay for?” If this is true, what are you getting when you purchase fast fashion? Perhaps you’re getting the latest fashion trend.  Maybe you’re getting replica high- fashion at a bargain price.  Or you just may be getting cheap and low quality fashion.  So are you truly getting a bargain when you purchase fast fashion?

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Retailers such as Forever 21, H&M, and Zara are known for their trendy apparel at reasonable prices.  These retailers always seem to have a consistent stream of new designs.  So what are you getting when you enter the doors of fast fashion?  Let’s take a look at the novelty and recreation of this shopping experience.

The What and Why of Fast Fashion

Investopedia defines fast fashion as inexpensive designs that move quickly from the runway to stores to meet new trends.  It’s no secret that many of us want to be seen in the latest trends.  Thanks to fast fashion retailers, you have access to clothes that embody the styles and trends of today’s fashions.  Fast fashion retailers have been able to transform high-end fashion into mass produced items that are affordable to consumers.

Forever 21, H&m, and Zara have mastered the production of affordable replicas of high-end fashion.  These retailers have also managed to eliminate the fashion seasons.  With the constant stream of  fashion, we now have “micro-seasons.”  This is a deliberate attempt to make consumers feel out of trend if they aren’t constantly purchasing new fashion.

Fast fashion started out as a way for the middle class to be fashionable without the high costs.  Fast fashion bears a strong resemblance to it’s luxury brand counterpart.

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Why wouldn’t you indulge in a product that is similar to your favorite couture designer for a significantly less cost?  Fast fashion has become an influential part of consumer culture.  Collaborations & marketing campaigns from high profile celebrities have helped to propel the popularity of fast fashion.

The Business of Fast Fashion

How does fast fashion continue to evolve and maintain significant sales figures?  In order to keep prices reasonable, retailers have to rely on streamlined supply chains and quick implementation processes.  Products are designed and distributed quickly in limited stock.  Limited stock translates to low inventory costs which is a big plus for retailers.  Limited stock also means that if you see a clothing item you like, you better get it then or you may miss out.  Chances are if you wait to purchase the item, it may not be available the next time you visit the store.

Fast fashion has developed a niche by providing consumers beautiful products in affordable price ranges.  But at what cost are we getting fast fashion?  Since consumers are driving the demand for fashion, the costs are being driven down.  With some clothing items being almost the same price as your favorite venti-size latte, it’s hard to resist shopping.  And since you can buy clothes at a cheap price, there are no qualms about wearing an item a few times before getting rid of it.  But a few dollars here and there often adds up and could become an expensive cost in the long run.  How many times have you purchased something in the store, only to come home and realize it doesn’t look as good on you as it did in the store?  I have been guilty of this and then failed to return the item for one reason or another.

Although fast fashion appears to be wallet friendly, are you truly getting a bargain? What good is paying $12.99 for that cute blouse if it is only good for a few wears?  Maybe you are getting what you pay for, but is it worth it?


I am a lover of sneakers and t-shirts - I know it isn't much of a fashion statement, but I make it work. I have been told I have an infectious laugh and I love to laugh. I have lived in Texas for over 10 years. In my spare time I enjoy dabbling in crafts and reading.

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