ZARA- Fast Fashion as unhealthy as Fast Food?

22 Apr

Before I started researching about Zara, I first thought about what I already know about it and came to the conclusion that it was not much. I have been to Zara stores several times but I could not remember that I have ever bought anything there. Neither, I have ever made up my mind about how Zara really works and what they marketing strategies are so that Zara can keep up or even outrun its competitors.

So when I read the “Dutta” case study what interested me the most was that Zara only needs 30 days from seeing a new trend on the catwalk to have new clothes produced and ready in their stores. Which leads Zara to having more sales at full prices and fewer discounts. Therefore, the biggest difference between Zara and other retailers is that Zara always has the clothes in their stores that people want at a particular moment whereas others try to forecast what people are going to buy in the future. Another very strong point Zara has, is that they do constant researching on trends and not just usual market research. All stores and head quarters are connected with each other and communicate the latest information about new styling and trends. Also the machinery is programmed in a way that changes can quickly made possible. This phenomenon is called the principle of “Fast Fashion”. One shorter and general definition is that “Fast Fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to acknowledge that designers move from catwalk to store in the fastest time possible (mostly 2 weeks) to capture current trends in the market” . On first glance, “Fast Fashion” seems like a very profitable way of fashion making for retailers like Zara which has also the advantage for the costumers that they can buy latest trends at moderate prices. But during further researches I found comparisons from “Fast Fashion” to “Fast Food” several times. Thinking about it, I found that this is very true. Let me explain it like that, people prefer going to Fast Food restaurants mostly to save time and money. When people go for example to Mc Donalds, they want tasty food as quick as possible and since fast food is mass produced with the same ingredients every time they can be sure that the quality of the products never changes and always tastes the same. Instead of going to restaurant were you have to sit down for a while and wait until a waitress serves you and usually you pay more than in a fast food restaurant. And these are exactly the same trade-offs people have to face when deciding between “Fast Fashion” or more expensive brands like Gucci or Prada. Maybe you don’t save a lot of time when consuming “Fast Fashion” but for sure a huge amount of money. So the question is what makes “Fast Food” and “Fast Fashion” different so that they can be sold at such cheap prices compared to others? What we always hear is that fast food is unhealthy. You don’t have high quality ingredients so it doesn’t make you full but fat. In my opinion this is not a hundred percent true. If you don’t consume it every and make fast food to the basis of your nutrition it is totally ok to consume it since most fast food companies today pay a lot attention on the quality of the food they sell. For example one principle of Mc Donalds is stated:” Quality is of high importance. Therefore, we have strict rules on quality, storage, and transportation of ingredients as well as on the preparation of the products in our restaurant.” But what is the unhealthy site about “Fast Fashion”, if there even is any? What I think that we have to differentiate between “Fast Food” and “Fast Fashion” here because Fast Fashion is of course not unhealthy for the consumer. But I think that it is unhealthy for the economy and the environment. As we pay less and less for more and more clothes, we throw more stuff away when we decide it’s just not trendy enough anymore. For example when we bought 15€ dress it’s easy to say: “That was so cheap, why don’t just buy a new one!” People wouldn’t say that so easily if the dress was worth 150€. Another point is, that we usually do not think about were the clothes comes from and who actually made and what these people got paid for it. I discovered that an investigation was done on Zara Brazil by São Paulo’s Bureau of Labor and Employment. They found that 52 people were working at a factory under unsanitary conditions, producing pants for Zara Brazil. Also 15 foreign workers from Bolivia and Peru, including a 14-year-old girl, working under slave-like conditions. Aside from the unsanitary and hazardous work environment, workers faced over 16-hour shifts, were prohibited from leaving the factories, in this case homes with almost no windows, and were paid a salary in between R$274 and R$460, less than the legal minimum wage of R$545. So that is another flipside of the shining coin of Zara’s “Fast Fashion”.

So the unhealthiness of “Fast Food” and “Fast Fashion” isn’t quite the same and I would say that “Fast Fashion” is even worse.

I got the point that Zara is doing what people demand of them, which is high fashion at low prices. But what I think is that we really need to change our attitude towards it. Because no matter how less we pay for our clothes somewhere someone has to pay for it. And what the famous musician Jessie J said in one of her songs about it: “It’s not about the money, forget about the price tag!”

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2 Responses to “ZARA- Fast Fashion as unhealthy as Fast Food?”

  1. rosepanama April 25, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    You have created a very understandable summary about what you’ve read and also only pointed out the most important details. Great!
    When you introduce “fast fashion” you directly give a definiton of it.
    I like the connection you draw to fast food.
    You have made your point very clear. Fast fashion is worse than fast food. Do you know what others think about that topic? Have you spoken with a friend about it?
    However, I love how you end with a phrase of the song of Jessie J!!!

  2. angi2012 May 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Hey Julia,
    I like your structure and your arguments, many people can identify with these arguments. For example that we, as soon as a thing not trandy enough throw it away. Although it is still wearable. I think this is a problem of our generation, because we live in a superfluity Two advices: You could support your blog with more images.I believe that the facts remain thus in a better remembrance. When reading, I have slipped constantly in the line 😉 Maybe you could divide your next post into paragraphs, then it reads fluently.

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