This story begins with a Channel 4 documentary behind the scenes of the world’s largest ultra-fast fashion retailer. Against a backdrop of endless working hours and horrendous working conditions, apparently each worker earns as little as 2p for every garment they stitch and sew!
The next chapter takes us to the inventory bloodbath of what has become Black Friday. For ultra-fast fashion, this is not about exclusive product drops and deals, generous or at least strategic reductions of best sellers and desirable product lines, but an opportunity to clear the decks, wash their hands of until now, unsellable clothing, at any reduction and any cost. Clothes for sale for as little as 2p.
The ultra-fast fashion process gives a sweatshop worker 2p to make a garment to sell to a fashion obsessive customer for 2p. Simply, what is the point?
Unrecyclable, monster hybrid materials are produced in belching factories, shipped half-way around the world, distributed by lorry, van, car and via the fleeting customer, by refuse truck to landfill, all paid for by 2p.
Fast fashion businesses employ buyers, sourcing teams, negotiators, supply-chain managers, logistics managers, distributors, social media marketers, and presumably product designers all on the back of a sale of 2p.
Fast fashion businesses strive to make profits by selling garments for £10, £5, £1, and yes, for 2p, through the multiplication of tiny increments by millions and millions and millions of product sales every day, week, and month
Has there ever been such a pointless process than the ultra-fast fashion model that exists today?
“To be or not to be?’ -that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them?”
Wisdom from a different age and context by Mr Shakespeare, worthy for today.
There are better ways for factory workers, fashion customers and business leaders to work together, for everyone’s benefit!
Time to be noble and chose the better way. Every penny matters.
In the meantime…
Supply chains and inventory models are featured in the new book – ‘Meaning in the Retail Madness – How to be an Essential Retailer’
If you’d like to read my book for many more retailer insights and best practice. And to here my thoughts on retail’s future, then that’s an excellent idea.
I hope that the sections on how to flourish in the ‘The life and times of the Essential Retailer’ how to evolve ‘Agile Organisations’ and excel in ‘Astute Strategies’ may be a source of inspiration and guidance. You will also find 70 action plans and 90 retail best practice insights that may help you to assess your current weaknesses and opportunities.
Enjoy your read.