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Fashion Issue

Zara Fever Grips Indian Retailers

Spanish retail brand’s ability to pull shoppers makes it most-preferred neighbour in malls

 

World’s largest clothing retailer Inditex entered India with its flagship brand Zara on a Friday in May last year and that day the South Delhi outlet recorded the largest single-day sale by an international retailer in the country.

 

Less than a year later, Zara fever has gripped several retailers who are chasing shop space next to the Spanish brands outlets to leverage on its ability to pull shoppers in herds.

 

“Zara has nailed it,” Natasha Chopra, who heads personal shopping services at Select Citywalk mall in South Delhi where Zara opened its first shop, said. “It’s a hot favourite among shoppers because it offers trendy styles between 1,500-2,300.”

 

Zara’s ability to chase fashion trends around the world, move a design from a drawing book to shop floor in two weeks and launch new lines sometimes twice a week has helped it ensure steady flow of consumers who now embrace global trends like never before.

 

It’s fast. It’s fashionable. And it has won the attention of several apparel brands; both Indian and multinational, that now launch more collections in a year and have stylized their shops.

 

“Zara has been selling very well over the past ten months in India,” said the head of a rival international brand. “Its success has proven that there is definitely a market for fast fashion, especially in western women’s wear,” the person added, requesting anonymity.

 

CHASING ZARA

 

The day Inditex’s Indian joint venture with Tata Group’s retail arm Trent opened the first Zara outlet; it sold apparel worth a record 90 lakh, according to industry estimates. The 18,000 sq ft shop at Select Citywalk sells 5-6-crore clothes a month. The average sales at Mumbai’s Palladium Mall outlet is similar, while it’s nearly 4 crore a month at DLF Promenade shop in New Delhi, industry insiders said.

 

Inditex refused to confirm this. “Please let us leave this in complete confidentialityLet us say that we are really honored by the good reception that our customers are given us in India,” its global spokesperson said.

 

But other brands’ rush to become its neighbour and mall developers’ keenness to host it reveals Zara’s crowd-pulling power. In January, retail planning consultancy Asipac Projects received requests from some international apparel brands, jewellery major and a cosmetics chain have sought shop space bang opposite Zara outlet at Hyderabad’s City Capital mall, which will be operational by 2013 end, an official at retail planning consultancy Asipac Projects says.

At Select City Walk, two store executives with international brands operating near Zara said customer visits in their stores have increased nearly 20% since Zara became their neighbour.

DLF Promenade in South Delhi, where Zara opened its second store in June, settled for a revenue share of 7% of sales, compared to 8-20% that developers usually charge, to attract the Spanish retailer. The mall developer also deleted the minimum sales guarantee clause for Zara and did the interiors and air conditioning of the store that usually retailers do.
Clearly, many brands would rather leverage Zara’s visibility than fight it.

 

ZARA’S SECRET

 

Zara’s early success in India reflects its impressive global growth. Amancio Ortega Gaona founded Zara in 1963 as a maker of ladies’ lingerie in the Galician town of La Coruna with just 5,000 pesetas, or $83. Today, the 75-year-old Ortega is the richest man in Spain and owner of the world’s largest apparel retailer ahead of GAP.

 

Zara owes its success to its control in every part of the business from design to distribution. It controls fabric supply, design, cutting and finishing that goes to company-owned stores. It even owns a large part of production.

 

It has 200 designers who chase fashion trends and refreshing designs all the time. And it takes just 2-3 weeks for a new fashion idea to reach store racks, while most apparel brands typically take six months to get new merchandise to the store.

 

From high-waist trousers for women’s corporate wear and casual suits at price points that count to new trends such as animal magnetism-fashion lingo for animal motifs on clothing-and flesh-coloured apparel, Zara has a huge product range that changes almost every week.

 

If a new style is not a hit within a week, it goes off shelves. Even popular styles don’t stay long. Zara makes small quantities of each style to retain a sense of exclusivity.
Thanks to its success, the 12.53-billion Euro Inditex will launch Zara’s urbane, more premium counterpart Massimo Dutti in the country in less than a year.

 

Inditex and Trent have earmarked 4-5 store locations for Massimo Dutti, which straddles men’s, women’s and children’s apparel and accessories, across Mumbai and New Delhi, retail industry executives said.

 

CHALLNGES AHEAD

 

But the road ahead is not easy for Zara. The competition is strong. Western fashion market has been growing steadily in the country where more people now travel abroad and are exposed to global trends due to rising incomes and aspirations, improving lifestyles and infrastructure, and Indias rise as an economic power.

 

More than 20 international brands have been entering the country every year since 2005, according to Third Eyesight, a consumer goods and retail planning consultancy.
Zara effect of not, many fashion retailers focus more on design novelty, widening product lines and premiumising stores.

 

“Retailers here have been evolving very rapidly, learning as they grow and growing as they learn; from each other and from the rest of the world,” mall management firm Star Centres MD Pranay Sinha said.

Premium men’s formal wear brand Van Heusen has expanded into sport, club wear and women’s wear and increased store sizes to 5,000-7,000 square feet. “Our competition benchmarks have changed,” Madura Fashion & Lifestyles Van Heusen brand head Ajay Ramachandran.

 

ITC’s Wills Lifestyle has doubled the number of new collections it launches in a year to eight for women and six for men, said Atul Chand, divisional chief executive of lifestyle retail business at ITC. Brands like Wills Lifestyle, Raymond and Reid & Taylor owner S Kumar Nationwide have roped in western design houses to modernise their stores and improve display and have hired executives with international experience.

 

“Brands have realised that the fashion industry is still young in India and that they have to think global,” S Kumar Nationwide Apparel & Retail President Ashesh Amin said.

 

All this may impact Zara’s prospects. With a model that depends on 100% imports within India’s high duty regime, low penetration of women’s western wear and the need for upscale real estate locations to fit its large-format stores, it could be challenging for Zara.

 

A person who has invested in fashion brands in the country and follows Zara like a hawk said it is not easy to sustain six fashion cycles in India. Head of an international apparel brand said it is premature to declare Zara a success in India just yet.

 

“Zara has done exceptionally well in two malls where incidentally all brands have high sales. But in New Delhi, the largest market for premium brands itself, its third store in Rajouri Garden has not performed as well,” the person said.

 

Star Centres’ Sinha, who earlier headed Select City Walk, said it will be difficult for Zara to repeat its first shops success in other malls, but the brand is here to stay. “Whether Zara emerges as a market leader or not, it may be too early to tell. That it will not fail is an easier one,” said Sinha.

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Fashion Issue

Effects of New Technologies, Social Changes & Economic Trends on Fashion

This article has been written by keeping in mind the effects of the tumultuous economic downturn, social changes & technological advances on the fashion. It will scan how periods of austerity have impacted on the fashion industry from a historical perspective; analyze the situation on these sectors nowadays, particularly in relation to fashion. It will also examine the effects of new technologies, social & economic trends on fashion.

 

Fashion has always been greatly influenced by social standings and accessibility to money. In the 30s, there was a shift to purchasing more inexpensive items for the common people while if you could still afford it you would buy your clothing from abroad. During this time a lot of American designers emerged and with the help of movie stars helped to set trends without having to spend the money. Zippers were less expensive than buttons so they became very popular. As the effects of cinema became more evident, the hemlines altered from mid-calf during day time to full length in the evening. Mens fashions were more relaxed and the v neck sweater and wider pants replaced the 3 piece suit. A hat for a man was a social standing and was a sign of a well-dressed male.

 

Technology had many advances during the 20th century as well. This included the first glimpses of the TV set, as well as medical improvements.

 

Technology has proved to be a great drive in the vicissitudes and trends in fashion. Silk was produced years ago which helped in the new dress styles for evening wear that became very popular with time. Cotton increasingly got more popular and was manufactured more because of the great demand for an easy to care for fabric. Gradually people overcame the obstacles of the depression and were still able to see the positives and relay that into their fashion choices. If one looks good one feels good. During austerity period, when the money was scarce, one was able to get cheap fabrics and more women started sewing more themselves to save money as well which enabled them to set trends in their own social circles that were to stay around for decades.

 

The behavioral content of the core assumptions is too simplified. Who can reasonably deny that individual preferences to some extent depend directly or indirectly on what other individuals around are doing? People do care actually about what others think or say. Let us consider, as the simplest example, fashion, which has obvious implications in many economic sectors, from clothing to leisure and finance.

 

An antiquity of austerity in fashion

 

Throughout the Twentieth century the world has endured various periods of economic austerity triggered as a result of war, political upheavals, and market uncertainties. World War One, the Second World War, the Wall Street Crash, the Oil Crisis, Black Monday etc. have all had a negative impact on the lives of millions of people in their respective societies.

 

There was a move during the 2nd world war to train women in mending classes, so they could use unwanted cloth for making new clothes and learn how to extend the life of their existing clothes by mending.

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Fashion Issue

Paradigm shift in Fashion Industry- An E-Business Perspective

Introduction

The face of Fashion Industry is witnessed a dramatic change in which the business is done. In the current scenario, Internet is considered as one of the channels of marketing (front end) in Apparel business. This paper will focus on how Brand building can be implemented by making use of tools like E-Business and Internet based channels to improve the traffic flow.
Internet marketing has made its presence in the fashion industry. Fashion represents one’s personal style and a taste of art. Every month, every one of us spends at least hundreds to thousands on what we are wearing. There are different purchasing and supplying sources to renew your closet every season. Now, it is no longer necessary to purchase directly from stores. E-buying is definitely the current trend.
Since fashion is renewing by the seasons, it involves a lot of media advertisements, online buying and auctions as well. There are plenty of happening issues in the fashion line. Information on big fashion event like a fashion week in France or some fashion awards is available online for consumers’ references. Marketers have to keep up with the current demands and fashion trend so that they can provide vital information to companies. Online fashion suppliers are countless. From branded name to small boutique vendors, the online network has become an ideal platform to sell and buy. Consumers can also book new arrivals without picking up a phone or going to the store.

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Fashion Issue

Lingerie Guide – Camisoles

Among the under garment world there exists a small top with spaghetti string straps. These garments are called camisoles and are wonderful outfits for sleeping or for a romantic sexy night with someone special. They are generally made of several different materials including cotton, satin, silk or nylon. Some of the fabric has solid sections with sheer or netting in discrete places. This makes for a nice view!

 

These camisoles are usually a set with a t-shirt style top that comes down to the waist and a matching panty. Some shirts are short-sleeved while others have the straps. There are full and crotchless panties with full or open bust shirts. No matter your personal preference, all camisoles are full of comfort and completely sexy. Nowadays camisoles are not only worn as under garments but are frequently found under a favorite shirt or jacket to give a classy, sexy look to any ensemble. They are almost always form fitting so as to accent curves in a subtle, sensuous manner. Like many other words in our vocabulary, the name has been shortened from camisole to “cami” as of late. (Interestingly, camisole in clinical terms means straightjacket. Have fun with that one, but don’t go nuts!) Some camis even have an underwire for support, while others are made of Spandex for support and control.

 

Camisoles are versatile. That lovely white blouse you love to wear to the club – the one that is a bit too see-through – can have a cami worn underneath it to look stylish and sexy with just a bit of conservatism so as to not be too revealing. How about that navy denim jacket you have been dying to wear if only you could find the right blouse? Well, a cami is the answer for this fashion frustration with a sporty, sexy look. Also, throw a cami over your bathing suit while on the way to the beach or pool, or even wear it by itself to sunbathe. The uses are endless so use your imagination!

 

Camisoles are a “must have” in your wardrobe ‘ and lots of them! You can get them inexpensively in a variety of styles, colors, and even prints. Have a whole collection of them so that when the mood strikes, you have the right cami to fit your needs. They can be worn casually, professionally or for sexy fun on a dreamy evening out or in. They look great in private settings and in the public eye, and are simply a fantastic piece of clothing everyone should have on hand. Buy them, wear them, accessorize with them, build an outfit around them, or simply wear them with nothing else. They are sexy and comfortable any way you look at it!

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Fashion Issue

Inspiration, Creativity & Their Application in Fashion Design

The work is dealing with problem of fashion design in present. Defines terms of creativity and inspiration and deals with them in field of application in fashion design. Analyzing the topic of fashion design, gives examples and suggests techniques for successful creative thinking to produce new and tangible things. The work also indicates to the application of techniques from other fields and their modification for needs of fashion design. Application of techniques has for goal to facilitate the process of creation and designing, it also promotes a new way of thinking and a successful problem solving which fashion designers faces through the process of designing.

 

Creativity

 

In order to understand the essence of multidisciplinary and complexity of creative thought processes there is a need to define each term separately. Creativity is considered as a set of thought processes which lead to new solutions, ideas, theories. [1] One of key elements of creativity is element of novelty, something new. It can be an “old idea” but if it is applied in a totally new way, new package, that same but recycled idea, it becomes a whole new entity. Creativity should not be initiated in itself, it is present or not. When it is not present it is necessary to resort to the inspiration that will form and cause our creativity.

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Fashion Issue

Lakme Fashion Week Attracts Larger Number of Buyers

On the business from Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) has reported significant growth in the number of buyer registrations as compared to the last season. This year, the premiere fashion event received 185 buyer registrations, of which 143 were domestic and 42 international buyers, from across the globe. This augurs well and speaks of the strength that Lakme Fashion Week was gaining in showcasing Indian design talent to the world.
This Year LFW was held between March 10 – 15 at the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai to showcase the best of Indian and international fashion talent to an audience comprising buyers, media and fashionistas in the global fashion industry, entering into the 11th year of its existence, LFW is continuing its pursuit to commercialise Indian fashion through certain new initiatives taken this year.
“This is where the stars are born”. Lakme Lever CEO Anil Chopra can be forgiven for sounding so chuffed. Of the 58 designers who participated in the Lakme Fashion Week Summer Resort 2011, 15 have come through the GenNext designer platform. From a prolonged 15-year internship earlier, to instant recognition in six months now, young designers have never had it so good.
The Lakme Fashion Week has managed to integrate Mumbai and India into the global fashion network. According to Ravi Krishnan, Managing Director – IMG South Asia and Senior Vice President – IMG “The purpose of LFW is to give impetus to the business of fashion in India by addressing the fashion requirements of the fraternity and to keep it at par with international standards. Fashion is rapidly moving towards a digital revolution, and to cater to the change in market, we will be launching LFW TV this season, which will provide a unique brand engagement for customers, by granting them access to LFW, whilst deriving additional value for the stakeholders of the event”.

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Fashion Issue

Chiropractic Fashion Advice

In today’s society, much value is put on the way people look and how they dress. This is not surprising because a person’s status is usually equated with their fashion. The belief that the more fashionable a person is, the more he or she earns because designer items are generally very expensive. The Hollywood and MTV fashion mania affirm this notion with celebrities showing off and posing for the cameras wearing designer clothes and shoes. Unfortunately, fashion stylists and designers, in their quest for individualism and unique styles, often create looks that are attractive but neither comfortable nor practical. Women, more than men, are the usual victims of fashion trends. Statistics show that more women are willing to sacrifice comfort for the sake of looking fashionable. This is the problem according to Dr. Jerome McAndrews, the ACA’s spokesperson, because tight clothes and high heels disrupt the body’s balance and cause muscle strains. Practitioners of chiropractic medicine also agree since most of the complaints of their female patients are not caused by sports but by excessive wearing of uncomfortable clothes and shoes.

 

A chiropractic fashion no-no that both men and women are guilty of is the use of big bags. Bags that are too heavy disrupt the natural movement of the body especially when slung over one shoulder for long periods of time. Even the simple and seemingly harmless act of putting wallets in the pants’ back pockets is also bad. Chiropractic medicine principle states that these can cause undue strain and pressure on the lower back muscles. Chiropractors agree that as important looking fashionable is, the body’s health is too big a sacrifice.

 

Doctors of chiropractic medicine do not want to cramp people’s styles, so the ACA offers guidelines to looking fashionable AND comfortable. For women who must wear high heels, they advise bringing and changing into flats in the privacy of their offices or for times that their feet feel tired. Using flats for walking and changing into heels upon reaching the office is also an option. Wearing supportive shoes and more stable heels like stacked heels is also advised since the body won’t need to exert as much effort to balance unlike when wearing designer spikes. Too tight clothes are not good because they restrict the natural movement of the body. Instead the ACA advises to wear clothes with some stretch; these will be form-fitting but not restrictive. It is also important to take unnecessary items out of bags to reduce weight. Bringing laptops is not necessary if the office is equipped with computers. However, if big bags are really necessary, it is advised to sling it over the head and across the body so the weight is distributed evenly. If this is not possible, switching shoulders often is the next best option. Taking out wallets and cardholders out of back pockets is advised before sitting for a long time such as in traveling or driving.

 

Being attuned to the body’s responses is very important according to the ACA. It is also one of the most basic principles of chiropractic medicine. One vital aspect of being fashionable and comfortable is maintaining healthy judgement.

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Fashion Issue

Basics of Pattern Making

The development of a garment comprises of different process. Fit is the most important factor leading to the final acceptance or rejection of a garment. Fit must be designed into the original pattern through subtleties in the pattern that provide fullness unobtrusively at appropriate locations to accommodate body bulges in a flattering manner (Hudson). Good customized fit is dependent on the pattern drafting incorporating various shapes and proportions of the individual customer. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, standardized patterns were essential to the success of ready-to-wear clothing.

 

Pattern making is an art. It is the art of manipulating and shaping a flat piece of fabric to conform to one or more curves of the human figure . Pattern making is a bridge function between design and production. A sketch can be turned into a garment via a pattern which interprets the design in the form of the garment components (Cooklin).

 

A pattern is flat while the body is not. The body has height, width and depth. With in this roughly cylindrical framework there are a series of secondary curves and bulges, which are of concern to the pattern maker. Darts are the basis of all pattern making. They convert the flat piece of cloth into a three dimensional form, which fits the bulges of the body.

 

A patternmaker typically makes a pattern from a flat sketch with measurements or a two dimensional fashion illustration. The basic pattern is the very foundation upon which pattern making, fit and design are based. The basic pattern is the starting point for flat pattern designing. It is a simple pattern that fits the body with just enough ease for movement and comfort (Shoben and Ward).

 

Methods of Pattern Making

 

Pattern making involves three methods-

  • Drafting
  • Draping
  • Flat paper patternmaking

 

Drafting: It involves measurements derived from sizing systems or accurate measurements taken on a person, dress or body form. Measurements for chest, waist, hip and so on, and ease allowances are marked on paper and construction lines are drawn to complete the pattern. Drafting is used to create basic, foundation or design patterns.

 

Draping: It involves the draping of a two dimensional piece of fabric around a form, conforming to its shape, creating a three-dimensional fabric pattern. This muslin is transferred to paper to be used as a final pattern (Armstrong). Ease allowances for movement are added to make the garment comfortable to wear. Advantage of draping is that the designer can see the overall design effect of the finished garment on the body form before the garment piece is cut and sewn. However, it is more expensive and time consuming than flat pattern making.

 

Flat Pattern Making: It involves the development of a fitted basic pattern with comfort ease to fit a person or body form. A sloper is the starting point for flat pattern designing. It is a simple pattern that fits the body with just enough ease for movement and comfort (Shoben and Ward). Five basic pattern pieces are used for womens clothing. They include a snug-fitting bodice front and bodice back with darts and a basic neckline, a sleeve and a fitted skirt front and back with darts. However, as fashion changes frequently womens styles fluctuate frequently. These basic slopers are then manipulated to create fashions.

A basic sloper has no seam allowances, which facilitates its manipulations to various styles. It has no design interest, only construction lines are marked on it. It is necessary that the basic structure of a sloper should be such that adjustments can be introduced easily. For a good pattern making, accurate measurements are of utmost importance.

 

The flat patternmaking method is widely used in the ready-to-wear market because it is fast and accurate (Aldrich).

 

Pattern making in todays world

 

Pattern making today has become an easy job with the use of the computers. Now-a-days different softwares are available in the market to meet the needs of the manufacturers. The different softwares used are Gerber, Lectra, Tukatech , OptiTex etc. These softwares has made the job of the Pattern master easier. They have made the process of pattern making more economical and less time consuming.

 

Pattern-making softwares enables you to input your measurements and draft out a pattern. These softwares draft patterns to fit your measurements specifically, eliminating much fitting trial and error in the sewing room.

 

A pattern can be made from a 3D form in just a few steps by using these softwares. An individual’s measurements are collected from 3D body scanner. The measurements are used to create a virtual 3D model of the individual’s body. The 3D to 2D software allows the user to define a garment surface in relation to the 3D body model. Once the garment surface is defined, the application automatically unwraps and outputs a 2D flat pattern in .dxf format.

 

References

 

  • Aldrich, Winifred. 1997, Metric Pattern Cutting. Blackwell Science Ltd U.K.
  • Armstrong H.J, 2000, Pattern Making for Fashion Design, Harper & row publishers, New York
  • Cooklin, G.1994, Pattern Cutting for Womens Outerwear
  • Hudson, P.B, 1980, The role of fit and Fashion on Apparel Quality, Bobbin.
  • Shoben, M.M and J.P. Ward, 1999, Pattern cutting and Making up, CBS Publishers, New Delhi

 

The author is a Lecturer at FMG School of Studies at Greater Noida

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Fashion Issue Fashion Trends

The Emulation of Indian Fashion and the West

With the expansion of western colonialism and development of foreign trades, Indian fashion has been continually improving to perfection. However, the forte of Indian fashion industry lies in its free-wheeling nature that incorporates anything exotic into integral Indian so much that it is not that easy to sport its origin. Nowadays, the Indian fashion industry is accelerated by mainly two aspects including customer choices and globalization of Indian economy.

There are many reasons accounting western impact on the Indian apparel and costume industry. As a melting pot of multi ethnic groups, the open-minded culture coupled with cultural diversities of India embrace the whole world in tolerance posture. Each group has its own prominent style and type of dresses and costumes. Indian Fashion designers are known to interweave these diverse fashions and lend an amazing Indian touch to them.

 

In recent years, the awards of Indian beauty pageants on international platforms have been doing the nation proud. Their natural style of dressing has deeply affected the ladies fashion apparel industry in India. The dresses donned by these participants are a blend of Indian and western wear. Commoners openly ape their role models and this eventually becomes the latest fad in the general fashion wear industry in India.
Apart from the two aspects as mentioned above, Indian movies are also big influencing factor to leave a never vanishing impact on the minds of the Indians. As a matter of fact, it affects daily lives. People blindly emulate what their role models are wearing. And with movies following the western patterns of dressing it is natural for the ordinary folks to imitate them lock, barrel and stock.

 

The extensive scale of globalization and liberalization also pose great impact on the Indian fashion industry. Indian imports from the west have also made it easier for Indians to keep a track on the latest fashion clothes and accessories ruling the Western men and women’s wear market. Apparently, Indian fashion industry is also appealing to western buyers. Needless to say, the fashion fraternity in India have willingly adopted western designs keeping in mind both the Indian and western sensibilities.

 

In addition, the Indian denizens embrace western fashion industry to such an extent that they like to adapt the social and cultural changes and western lifestyles as well.

The Emulation of Indian Fashion and the West

 

With the expansion of western colonialism and development of foreign trades, Indian fashion has been continually improving to perfection. However, the forte of Indian fashion industry lies in its free-wheeling nature that incorporates anything exotic into integral Indian so much that it is not that easy to sport its origin. Nowadays, the Indian fashion industry is accelerated by mainly two aspects including customer choices and globalization of Indian economy.

 

There are many reasons accounting western impact on the Indian apparel and costume industry. As a melting pot of multi ethnic groups, the open-minded culture coupled with cultural diversities of India embrace the whole world in tolerance posture. Each group has its own prominent style and type of dresses and costumes. Indian Fashion designers are known to interweave these diverse fashions and lend an amazing Indian touch to them.

 

In recent years, the awards of Indian beauty pageants on international platforms have been doing the nation proud. Their natural style of dressing has deeply affected the ladies fashion apparel industry in India. The dresses donned by these participants are a blend of Indian and western wear. Commoners openly ape their role models and this eventually becomes the latest fad in the general fashion wear industry in India.

 

Apart from the two aspects as mentioned above, Indian movies are also big influencing factor to leave a never vanishing impact on the minds of the Indians. As a matter of fact, it affects daily lives. People blindly emulate what their role models are wearing. And with movies following the western patterns of dressing it is natural for the ordinary folks to imitate them lock, barrel and stock.

 

The extensive scale of globalization and liberalization also pose great impact on the Indian fashion industry. Indian imports from the west have also made it easier for Indians to keep a track on the latest fashion clothes and accessories ruling the Western men and women’s wear market. Apparently, Indian fashion industry is also appealing to western buyers. Needless to say, the fashion fraternity in India have willingly adopted western designs keeping in mind both the Indian and western sensibilities.

 

In addition, the Indian denizens embrace western fashion industry to such an extent that they like to adapt the social and cultural changes and western lifestyles as well.

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Fashion Issue

Chinese Fall for ‘Fast Fashion’

International retailing giants offering clothes and accessories are flocking to the Chinese mainland to tap the huge potential of so-called “fast fashion”. The phrase is taken to mean clothing collections which are designed and manufactured quickly, are affordable and are aimed at mainstream consumers; it’s otherwise known as “throw away” fashion. Gap, one of the biggest garment retailers in the US, announced at the end of June of its decision to venture into the Mainland market by opening flagship stores in Beijing and Shanghai before the end of 2010. It also disclosed plans to provide Chinese consumers with online shopping services.

While overseas garment retailers are gearing up to China’s “fast fashion” market, local manufacturers are also poised to join the race.
Vancl, established by the founder of online retailer Joyo.com, launched two rounds of light box advertising offensives on the metro and public transport systems in Beijing and Shanghai during May and June respectively.
The outdoor advertising debut of famous Mainland writer Han Han and teenage idol Wang Luodan, as Vancl’s ambassadors, drew plenty of media and cyber attention.

 

Marketing success
The crucial factors contributing to the success of “fast fashion” are novelty, trendiness, uniqueness and low price. The approach mainly targets young people. As Mainland consumers have only just learned about “fast fashion”, first movers like Zara, H&M, Uniqlo and C&A were able to capture a sizeable share of the market early on.
“Fast fashion” brands rely on several factors to establish their foothold on the Mainland. For a start, they have a short product life cycle, from product development to marketing. They closely follow fashion trends (rather than setting new trends), produce designs of the season (not ahead of time), and pay attention to the span of consumption.
The second factor is “speed”. Speed is the core value of “fast fashion”. The entire process from planning, design, display, placing orders, production and delivery normally takes between 120 and 160 days. H&M and Zara can have their products on the shelves within two weeks of holding their quarterly shows.
An affordable price is what attracts young people to “fast fashion”. The prices of H&M clothing range from Rmb99 to Rmb299. Zara’s prices are slightly higher. At Uniqlo, T-shirts sell at only Rmb59 and jeans at Rmb99. There are also bargain items selling at about Rmb39 each. Where it comes to fashion design, H&M usually co-opts famous designers to boost its brand image. Zara’s positioning is slightly higher. It basically toes the line as a low-end, big brand by imitating the designs of top luxury brands. Uniqlo produces mainly essential items, with a focus on practicality. These brands are selling products at low prices but with top rated store images. Their high-end shopping environments and designs help consumers shake off the “cheap goods are inferior” catechism. These brands attract not only students but also a growing middle class following. For example, Uniqlo is a national clothing brand in Japan but its “low price strategy” doesn’t work on the Chinese mainland. It had to close two of its nine stores in 2005.