The Fashion Industry
The fashion industry evolved along familial lines in the United States. The descendants of immigrant families established serious businesses on Seventh Avenue. Some of the fashion companies were named after fictional characters, such as "Baby Doll." In the United States, the personalities of the fashion industry were relatively anonymous compared to their counterparts in Paris. A few individuals became internationally famous, however, including Coco Chanel, Alix Gres, and Madeleine Vionnet.
The fast fashion industry is a major contributor to the growth of the global apparel industry. Many of the brands that started out in small, local clothing stores have grown into international businesses, with an average compound annual growth rate of 6.16%. Fast fashion is also favored by many consumers, with 88% of U.S. consumers indicating that they would prefer fast fashion over traditional, high-end fashion. Top fast fashion retailers include H&M, Zara, and Uniqlo.
The fast-fashion industry encourages consumers to discard clothes quickly, which generates massive amounts of waste. North Americans alone discard 9.5 million tons of clothing every year, much of which could be recycled. In addition to textile waste, most fast-fashion clothing contains toxins, including pesticides and lead, which remain in the fabric for years. Furthermore, when fast fashion clothing is disposed of, the toxins remain in the garments, and the environmental impact of this industry is immense.
The designer fashion industry has two distinct types of operations: the haute couture and the prêt-à-porter. The haute couture designers cater to an elite clientele and create classic designs for the royal courts. Many of these designers work as personal stylists as well. Privy-à-porter designers cater to a wider market, and their designs are usually ready-to-wear and do not require alteration. Both types of operations have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages.
As a result, the designer fashion industry is characterised by several interesting new trends. For example, some firms have adopted the culture of a particular place or region while others have grown to become too cool and powerful to be confined by their own culture. Likewise, some designers are attempting to reinterpret traditional fashion styles in new ways. Moreover, they may be able to benefit from global social processes and the early access to knowledge assets from other cultures.
The High-end fashion industry is dominated by a handful of luxury brands, which create unique, expensive designs. The products of high-end fashion designers set the trends for the industry and are influential to consumer lifestyles. While many of the items produced by these luxury brands are not actually made by the high-end fashion brands, they are imitations of the original pieces. Famous high-end designers include Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani, Alexander McQueen, and Stella McCartney.
New entrants in the high-end fashion industry pose a significant threat. Building a fashion house requires substantial capital and expertise, as well as access to potential buyers. While well-established fashion brands have a long history and a number of retail stores, pop-up stores are relatively inexpensive to maintain and can attract a wide variety of buyers. Additionally, pop-up stores are often easier to place orders than traditional retail outlets.
Retailing of high-end fashion
In addition to physical retail stores, consumers are increasingly able to purchase high-end goods on consignment sites. Online marketplaces are offering consumers access to a variety of luxury brands and emerging labels that would otherwise be unobtainable. In-store stores are also making the process of buying high-end goods more convenient and affordable, thanks to the proliferation of e-commerce. However, consumers also want the most personal experience possible, which is why many are turning to digital channels for their high-end shopping.