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How Fast Fashion Sales Damage Local Businesses

5 min read

How Fast Fashion Sales Damage Local Businesses

Good news: our late summer sales started this week! While for us this is an opportunity to shift our seasonal stock and keep up our excellent track record of reducing overproduction, many fast fashion retailers go the other way - towards the persistent marketing of trending styles that are not made to endure. We’ve always attempted to create what could be termed “sustainable clothing sales”; a modest amount of discounts that reflect our commitment to fair labour, high-quality goods, PRE-ORDER and, once again, no overproduction. 

As we launch our latest round of exciting offers amid a sea of fast fashion opponents, we’re prompted to consider the impact that fast fashion sales have had on industry and the planet itself. 

The rise of fast fashion has transformed the landscape of the fashion industry, offering consumers trendy and affordable clothing options at a rapid pace. While this business model has captured the attention and wallets of consumers worldwide, its impacts on local businesses cannot be ignored. The relentless pursuit of low prices, quick turnovers, and disposable fashion items has cast a shadow over traditional local fashion enterprises. This article delves into the ways in which fast fashion sales damage local businesses and the broader implications for communities and economies. 

Undercutting Prices And Profit Margins

One of the most significant ways fast fashion sales harm local businesses is through the aggressive undercutting of prices. Fast fashion retailers capitalise on economies of scale, mass production, and outsourcing to produce garments at remarkably low costs. This results in selling items at prices that local businesses find difficult to match. The allure of cheap clothing draws consumers away from local boutiques and traditional fashion retailers, eroding their customer base and ultimately undermining their ability to sustain themselves.

Local businesses typically cannot compete with the rock-bottom prices offered by fast fashion giants. They often rely on sourcing quality materials and producing garments with attention to detail (hello TWOTHIRDS!) which inherently increases their production costs. Consequently, these businesses are forced to maintain higher price points to ensure profitability. In a world where consumers prioritise affordability, local businesses struggle to keep their doors open due to the price disparity caused by the fast fashion juggernaut.

Imitating Trends

Fast fashion retailers are renowned for their agility in imitating the latest trends and quickly bringing them to market. This relentless cycle of trend reproduction places immense pressure on local designers and businesses. By the time local artisans create and showcase their unique designs, fast fashion brands may have already mass-produced imitations, flooding the market with cheaper alternatives.

This trend-chasing dynamic undermines the creativity and craftsmanship of local businesses, discouraging innovation and originality. It also denies local designers the chance to establish themselves as trendsetters and fashion influencers. Consequently, the appeal of fast fashion as a means to follow the latest trends at minimal cost diverts customers who might have otherwise supported local talents.

Environmental And Ethical Issues

The rapid pace of fast fashion sales contributes to a throwaway culture, encouraging consumers to purchase clothing impulsively and dispose of it just as quickly. This cycle of overconsumption generates a significant environmental toll, as landfills overflow with discarded garments that don't decompose easily. In contrast, local businesses often prioritise quality and durability, producing items that are designed to last. This difference in approach puts local businesses at odds with the disposable ethos perpetuated by fast fashion.

Furthermore, the global reach of fast fashion production often leads to exploitation of labour and resources in developing countries, where regulations are lax and wages are low. Local businesses, on the other hand, often have closer ties to their communities and may have stronger ethical and sustainability considerations. This juxtaposition between the two models further highlights the damage fast fashion can inflict on local economies and ethical fashion standards.

Community Impact And Economic Consequences

Local businesses play a crucial role in fostering a sense of community identity. They contribute to the local economy by providing jobs, supporting other local businesses, and participating in community events. The encroachment of fast fashion sales can erode this sense of community by diverting consumer spending away from local establishments.

The consequences of this shift can be far-reaching. Local economies that once thrived on the interdependence of various businesses may suffer as local businesses struggle to stay afloat. Job losses, reduced tax revenue, and a decline in community cohesion are potential outcomes of this shift in consumer behaviour.

An Alternative? Sustainable Clothing Sales

Sustainable clothing sales can help to put small businesses back on the map. Supporting local businesses, choosing quality over quantity, and fostering a culture of conscious consumption are essential steps toward mitigating the damage caused by fast fashion sales. Our sustainable clothing sales revolve around three key promises -

  • No loss of quality. Every collection goes on PRE-ORDER first before the items are put on sale. Which means that the garments have been crafted with precision in Northern Portugal over a series of weeks. This contrasts to garments that are made extremely fast to be sold at cut prices.   
  • A sustainable alternative to flash sales. Our seasonal sales run for weeks not days, giving you time to think about your choices. 
  • Fair prices, not fake prices. It’s often said that when garments are very cheap, somebody else (the worker) is paying the price. With us, you know you’re getting ethical and sustainable clothing even when the discount is applied.  

These sustainable clothing sales principles help us to carve a path away from the fast fashion craze. Within our supply chain, we also rely on a network of local businesses - family-owned factories in Northern Portugal, independent designers, freelance suppliers. When you shop at TWOTHIRDS, you support that sustainable ecosystem that gives life to our clothing. 

In Conclusion

During this sales period, we encourage you to seek out your local retailers, or shop with brands you trust. By making a choice not to buy into a system that trashes the planet for profit, you’ll be helping to undo some of the impacts that fast fashion sales have had on local businesses. Sustainable clothing sales offer a way forward, not least because the very items they ship are, by definition, of higher quality and have been crafted with the environment in mind.