Stephanie Brodish : Fashion Trend Forecast 2011 Essay Contest Submission : Fashion Industry Network Contests
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Forecasting trends is becoming more difficult every year because the overarching trend that has been taking over is fast fashion. This does not simply refer to the brands commonly known as fast fashion brands (e.g. Zara, H&M, Forever 21), but rather the idea that in a tightly-connected, fast-paced world, trends can - and do! - change every couple weeks. The divisions between seasons are blurring, so retailers big and small must react by launching pre-season items and quickly making additions to their collections mid-season as new trends are uncovered. The trend of fast fashion is helping unique designers because there is now a constant search for new ideas, retailers because fashionistas are obligated to visit stores more frequently to snatch up the newest merchandise, and current fashion icons because their personal style can be imitated next week - instead of next season.
Unfortunately, the peril of fast fashion is the fact that short trends make for fast trash, and it is a growing problem seen by the consumer as well as the designer. After two or three uses, a shirt is already replaced with the next design, and when fast fashion does refer to H&M or Forever 21, the shirt is cheap enough to be considered disposable. This is why, with the increase of fast fashion as a trend, there is also the counter-trend of environmentally-responsible clothing. Maybe the consumer educates herself on the importance of donating clothes after feeling guilty about throwing garments into the trash, or maybe the designer is thinking ahead to how the garment might be trendy but act as a long-lasting fashion staple, or is made from recycled materials to reduce waste, or made from natural, biodegradable fabric. The trend of fast fashion is quickly being met with eco-friendly responses, and without a doubt, stylish consumers will be supporting both this year, no matter what color or cut they are donning.
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