Shopping Report: Fast Fashion Is Coming
12th OF June 2012
Australian fashion was the centre of world investment attention this week - because Morgan Stanley, one of the world's biggest banks, decided to release a report predicting the future of our fashion industry.
Stylishly Yours, Jennifer Thorpe
The report was called, somewhat cringingly, "The Makeover Of The Outback", but Australian designers read it with close attention.
The news is either good or bad, depending on your perspective.
Morgan Stanley believes that 'fast fashion', which has been slow to reach Australia, will soon come through our borders in droves. Fast fashion, if you're not familiar with the term, is the catch-all phrase used for middle-range chain stores who aim to reproduce catwalk trends very swiftly and sell them at dramatically discounted prices.
The main fast fashion names are Zara, Topshop, Forever 21, H&M and Uniqlo, which all started as local stores and expanded to worldwide businesses. Zara is the ultimate one: it specialises in reproducing catwalk trends within six months, and has such a high stock turnover that it's often difficult to find the same stock on a repeat visit a week later.
So far, partially due to distance and a small market size, Australia's been left out of their boom - but they're creeping in slowly, and Morgan Stanley thinks they'll have 6% of the market by 2016.
Why does this matter to you? If you're a consumer who likes lots of choice, international chains and good prices, it's a good thing. If you worry about the state of Australian designers and how they'll survive, it's not so great.
Australia's designers have always had the advantage of not competing too hard with big brands - there's still space for new talent, and plenty of room and initiatives for it to flourish. Talents like Dion Lee come out of Australia because the retail market is geared towards Aussie designers - but that might change soon, and it's beginning to cause worry.
The report's thorough all right - it even mentions that, with real estate prices falling, foreign retailers can afford to get in on the profitable shopping turf in Australian cities for the first time in years.
Do you think it's true that fast fashion is coming - and will you welcome it?
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