Hi everyone, it’s Justine. This year there
has been a wave of fast fashion brands going bankrupt.
Forever21 in Europe, Topshop in the US… big names that are suddenly in big
trouble. So does it mean that the so-called golden era of fast fashion is
over? What are the options for you as a consumer, as a shopper, wherever in the
world you are? That’s the discussion that I would like to start in today’s video.
And before we do that, let me very quickly define what fast fashion
actually is, to make sure that we’re talking about the same thing because
it’s not a word commonly used everywhere in the world
what is fast fashion in a nutshell fast fashion is a concept created for rich
countries if we’re honest a fast fashion brand will have clothes produced in a
less less rich country then production was so cheap that they can afford to
ship the clothes all the way to Europe for instance where the living standard
is and the costs are higher and then they can sell these clothes in an
expensive store somewhere in London where the rent is expensive the
salespeople are expensive everything is more expensive so the business model
works because the production costs in the first place were insanely low it
works because there are people buying in rich countries and people producing in
less rich countries it’s a system based on inequalities internationally and even
then the margins for the fast fashion brand are really low because the price
tags are kept so low to attract consumers even on a budget so if you’re
a fast fashion brand you will have to sell incredibly high volumes in order to
be profitable at all now if the production costs start to increase for
instance workers in Bangladesh get a law that says that they have to be paid a
living wage (it’s not the case right now, they work for a salary that they cannot
live off of) let’s assume their salary increases (still not a high cost factor
for the brand in the end, and we’ll come to that later) or the shoppers in said
store in London are starting to demand higher quality better ethics sustainable
sourcing as a fast fashion brand you will immediately lose your margin which
is small and you will go bankrupt so it’s a very unstable
system with very little buffer in case something happens and something in the
equation changes that it’s just the summary of how it works
if you want to know more about how fast fashion how the business model really
functions from beginning to end I recommend that you watch this video
which I did previously it’s linked here and down below as well
in there I explain among other things the breakdown of the retail price of a
t-shirt as an example how much the government worker who saws it gets paid
the retailer the transport the brand etc if you new to that topic I have to warn
you it might blow your minds but now back to this video I want to move on to
forever 21 which is the topic in the title and it’s absolutely a hundred
percent a fast fashion label what happened is that forever 21 failed at
its own business model which is quite a thing the American brand forever 21
filed for bankruptcy they are closing about 350 stores worldwide out of 800
approximately they are practically leaving Europe and Asia they are giving
up their their remaining active in North and South America but shrinking big time
so it’s really a setback for brand that once was major they thing is the way
they filed for bankruptcy doesn’t mean that they have to shut down the business
it just means that they are freed of their debts they don’t have to pay the
creditors so the supply chain people the production people the suppliers won’t
get paid and if you know what I stand for and what I talk about generally
speaking on this channel you would know what that makes me feel I’m mad when
things like that happened I think it’s so unfair for the people who are before
before that in the supply chain like they always have the poor cards at the
end of the day forever 21 was once known for trendy fashion and very very low
price tags the problem is trends pass and once
you’ve lost your cool competing on price is not smart because it will never save
you if you’re not cool people don’t want to
shop at your stores anymore so forever21 is victim of the business
model that they contributed to establishing their brand was never
really unique they lost the edge price is irrelevant at the end of the day so
they have to start over does that mean that we’re witnessing the
beginning of the end of the first fashion era unfortunately not quite yet
Primark on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in Europe is still doing
well Primark is uk-based and currently
leading the market for very very very very cheap clothes directed mostly out
of there a young target group teens young adults dirt-cheap really we’re
talking about in British pounds 10 pounds for a pair jeans 250 for a bra
25 for coats if you think about it for a minute you wonder how they even do it if
you know the price levels in Europe it seems so low that it’s hard to be true
I said cheap but I should say blood cheap instead Primark is one of the
brands that was having clothes produced in the sadly famous Branagh Plaza
building factory in Bangladesh that building collapsed in 2013 killing over
a thousand people and somehow Primark and others got away with it
Primark targets teens and young adults how by relying heavily on the latest
trends there’s another UK former flagship retail brand that’s called
Marks & Spencer where everybody in the UK used to shop they didn’t set enough
on trends things Primark and they lost their relevance because teens and young
adults didn’t want to shop well their parents and grandparents were shopping
so Primark is really trying to stay relevant by going for the very very very
young people and releasing new collections all the time but now teens
and young adults in Europe and everywhere in the world are becoming
more and more environmentally conscious that’s the greatest Wenberg effect and
suddenly they’re starting to research and to question the way the fashion
three works so a strategy question for the future Primark how are you going to
do in three years from now when your exact target group is going to be a lot
more aware and demanding in terms of the clothes they’re buying maybe they will
turn towards more sustainable more ethical brands and you will lose your
relevance as well? Primark is aware of the danger which is why recently they
started the so-called sustainable line which means that they source organic
cotton what they don’t tell you though is that sustainable doesn’t mean ethical
it’s a lot easier and a lot cheaper to source sustainable materials for your
production than to pay the government workers properly and they say nothing
about that it’s completely untransparent actually if you really want to do things
right you need the sustainable sourcing and you need fix in terms of how you do
your production so it’s really just a marketing stunt meant to buy themselves
an image of an ethical brand when really it’s actually one of the dirtiest
players out there let me be really clear about that and also this sustainable
line is just a tiny part of their sort and all the rest of what they sell all
the basics is still sourced and produced the way they used to do it and trust me
it’s not clean their sales keep increasing yes they’re doing fine for
now but it’s artificial growth it’s because they keep opening new stores
overall it seems that the fast fashion business model is starting to feel out
of breath is overheating htm’ has been having difficulties it’s one of the
leaders in the market they launched a new brand which is positioned as a more
ethical sustainable we don’t really know thing Topshop is bankrupt in some parts
of the world as well so it’s really it looks like it like a downward trend for
most players so they’re all looking for solutions if consumers shoppers start to
demand higher quality and higher ethics is the solution than to shift to the
other extreme and go luxury?… Barneys New York is bankrupt as well if forever 21
and Primark are down here in terms of pricing Barneys is is a
it is the the epitome the most luxurious high-end expensive department store
chain in the US I studied in New York so at my school they will always say that
the holy grail for young fashion designers starting out is to get into
Barneys there was a professor who said once in class getting to Barneys is the
highest sign of recognition that you can get from the industry if you get your
clothes to get sold at Barneys together with Vuitton Gucci Chanel etc it means
that you’ve made it in fashion but you know what I looked into it the
conditions to get into stores like Barneys as a designer or ridiculous they
negotiate the prices super hard they have you design special things special
colors variations just for them they put you on a rack there they won’t promote
you so unless you do the heavy lifting no one will even know that you’re being
sold at Barneys and at the end of the season if they haven’t sold everything
they force you by contract to buy your inventory back so 100% of the risk and
of the cash flow problems potentially is on the side of the young designer and I
always thought before I go knock on the doors of big retailers like Barneys I’d
rather sell my clothes directly the fixed cost and the financial risk is a
lot lower for me and the price tag will be a lot lower so my clothes will also
be more affordable for customers for shoppers and this system seems like a
much better option for everyone doesn’t it you would think that barn is selling
high price high and high high things would have huge margins and then also
huge profits because it’s the opposite of what fast fashion is doing and yet
behind that facade of the most luxurious fashion experience they have bankrupt as
well so where is the solution fast fashion brands can’t seem to be able to
last on the long run it looks like the system is overheating but on the other
hand traditional retailers look like they can’t sell enough to survive either
so that’s that so problem somewhere in the equation and
that brings me to a question or I should say an affliction that I get every time
I talk about the topic of fast fashion on this channel Justin you’re saying
that fast fashion is bad but you know not everyone can afford Chanel and
designer brands and I have a problem with that argument because Primark is
five dollars or pounds or euros whatever shannon is mm are you telling me that
you see no option in between because for me the option is clearly in between it
can’t be the price of Primark because that’s not sustainable that’s not
ethical and I think that’s not okay it has to be more expensive than that and
in Western countries we can afford more we did afford more before the fast
fashion labels existed and nobody was going around wearing new clothes you
know what I mean and then it doesn’t have to be as expensive as Chanel there
is a lot of buffer in between and lots of brands that are tackling different
aspects it can be a safer more sustainable sourcing system with
Fairtrade labels it can be local production it can be an ethical
production based in Europe there are plenty of options in between and I think
the option is definitely in between now I’d like to send a question back to you
how much is in between how much are you willing to pay for what more
specifically and regardless of the brand new looking up I’d love to know how much
you would pay let’s say for a cotton t-shirt basic made in China
how much would you pay for a t-shirt in organic cotton made in Europe how much
would you pay for a t-shirt in recycled cotton made in China do you look at the
tag does the origin or the material influence the price that you’re willing
to pay are you willing to pay more for organic for garment workers paid
properly protected by European law for instance are you willing to pay more
because it’s recycled or because it’s a new technology called development and
you know it will be better for the environment and why or why not I will
read all your comments under this video I will try to summarize all the inputs
and the arguments you’re writing down and I will present the results of this
little survey to you in a future video so here really your opinion matters if
you feel like you want to know more about how the fashion industry works
here and down below I have linked two videos the first one is the one that I
mentioned earlier about how the system works and the price breakdown for a
t-shirt and the other one is a video where I explain how you can find out
yourself if a brand is part of the fast fashion system or not because spoiler
forever 21 and Primark are by far not the only ones out there and you have
several fast fashion brands in every country you can think of. Thumbs up if you watched until here! I will see you
very soon in a new video, that’s all from me for today 🙂 Until next time, take care,
bye!