One of the biggest trends we've seen over the past few years — with 2012 being no exception — has been the emergence of "fast fashion." You've probably seen manifestations of the trend at global chains such as H&M and Forever 21 — places where apparel selections are ever-changing and (usually) cheap.

Here's how the New York Times described the model being pioneered by Inditex, the massive Spanish parent company of several fast-fashion retailers, including Zara: "trendy and decently made but inexpensive products sold in beautiful, high-end-looking stores."

Fast fashion has also become more hip in recent years; even celebrities like Kate Middleton have been photographed wearing Zara. “It’s generally the way the retail market is going — it’s not just Zara,” says Isabel Cavill, a senior analyst with Planet Retail, a consulting firm based in London. “There’s a bit of cachet in picking up something that looks like £500 for £50.” If people compliment your nice dress, you can proudly boast that you got it for a steal.

In Zara, every purchase is an impulse buy; there’s no longer any saving up for that gorgeous leather jacket in the window. You are buying clothes not because you love them, but because, at $50, those hot pants are as cheap as Sunday brunch for two — and likely to be gone in a matter of days. It’s a way of consumption that has conditioned buyers to expect this up-to-the-minute trendiness and variety in higher-end labels as well.

Posted: 1/21/2013 4:47:01 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

The trickiest aspects of the apparel business, of course, are the ever-changing whims of consumers. This is true in every industry, of course, but it's magnified quite a bit when you consider all the factors affecting fashion tastes: freshness, trendiness, social and professional acceptance, seasonality, obscurity, fickle personal preferences, and so forth.

Compare clothes to, say cell phones: There are certain differences from one phone to another that different customers may prefer, but the products are standard and few enough that you can generally get broad agreement about which three or four phones are the best available on the market. Try getting a hundred critics to agree on which three or four t-shirts are the best in any given year. Apparel simply plays too large of a role in a consumer's image, expression and sense of self to be reviewed and promoted like most products.

Posted: 1/14/2013 2:27:38 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

The new year is finally here, and, just a few weeks ago, Pantone told us what color we'd all be wearing in 2013. Or, at least, what color a lot of people will be wearing this year. Or, at least, what color you might see designers dabbling with slightly more often than other shades of green.

This year, the color is "Emerald." So long "Tangerine Tango" (the color of 2012) — we hardly knew you. 2013, apparently, is shaping up to be a real gem of a year (albeit a bit less sweet and rhythmic).

We've discussed Pantone a bit in the past here on the Apparel Logistics blog. While their color forecasts may seem silly to some, color can actually be a subtle, but significant and demanding market indicator — one that can complicate fashion logistics. And Pantone's crack panel of color experts has had a proven impact in the past.

Posted: 1/4/2013 12:44:21 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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