From Topshop to Zara to Forever
21, the top fast-fashion brands share several universal qualities: They’re affordable, they're everywhere, and, thanks to a constantly-changing stock of clothes, the
collections always feel fresh. Over the years, these retail giants have
nearly perfected the art of selling instant gratification to the masses. But, now a whole new crop of online-only brands is taking this strategy to an even faster (and cheaper) level.
Dubbed the "second generation" of fast fashion, labels such as Missguided and Boohoo have built their businesses on the idea that speed trumps all. As Nitin Passi, the founder and chief executive of U.K. brand Missguided, told The Guardian, “I like to say we’re the quickest. If [the high-street retailers] are fast fashion, we’re rapid fashion.” Rather than pioneering trends, these labels fight to be the first to copy them. “We update our site once a day
with new stock, but in my eyes, we should be updating it every
hour. If a trend comes, we need to have it on our site in under a week.” Whereas retailers like Zara take cues from the runway, this new wave of stores focuses mainly on celebrity fads. They're able to design, manufacture, and start selling a celebrity-inspired outfit in just a few days — something that even Forever 21 can't quite do yet.