How Victoria's Secret Is Copying Zara's Fast-Fashion Strategy

Photo: Courtesy of Victoria's Secret.
Fast fashion brands like Zara and Forever 21 have ramped up production speeds across the industry. It's affected the world of high-end fashion, with brands like Prada and Louis Vuitton now delivering four to six ready-to-wear collections per year, instead of the old standard of just two. There's also a series of so-called faster-fashion brands like Boohoo and Missguided nipping at Zara's heels with their ability to take a trending item from design to consumers in under a week. And, according to Business Insider, even brands like Victoria's Secret are now eager to embrace the fast-fashion business model.

In a sales call, Victoria's Secret CEO Sharen Turney explained that the brand is eager to streamline the time between design of a product and when it hits shelves: "We've already taken probably four months out of our development time." And, she said, she'd like to eliminate another two months.

Why is speed so important? It has to do with a fundamental difference in business models. VS, along with brands like Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch, traditionally design product in-house, as opposed to the fast-fashion model of identifying trends, and quickly sourcing garments from third-party vendors for a quicker turnaround. This means VS' design team has traditionally designed garments a full 12 months before they hit stores. But, a lot can change in a year — which means a trend or color choice can unexpectedly flop at retail, leaving a store with marked-down or unsold merchandise on its hands.

The irony, of course, is that trends used to move more slowly — and it's fast fashion brands driving that sped-up cycle, too. So, for brands like VS, speed is of the essence. And, it's showing no signs of slowing down. (Business Insider)

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