Style

Are We Officially Burned Out On Fast Fashion?

​Uniqlo is shuttering stores amid financial struggles​.​

BY Scott Christian | Jun 22, 2016 | Fashion

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A little over a year ago, fast fashion was king of the retail hill. Slow-moving behemoths like J.Crew and The Gap were suffering under the weight of the H&Ms and Zaras as they brought low-cost, trendy merchandise to market with blinding speed. But now, fast fashion's time in the sun may be coming to an end. According to a report in The New York Post, Tokyo-based retailer Uniqlo has shuttered five stores since January amidst growing financial concerns.

And it appears that Uniqlo is not the only fast fashion brand experiencing a downturn. Profit margins for H&M have shrunk in the last year, partly due to an expansion target of 10 to 15 percent that has some fearing the retailer will cannibalise its own stores. And, according to an article in the The Wall Street Journal, Forever 21 has not only seen profits taper off, it has also been in talks to secure a $150 million loan to pay for leases on its giant stores. 

As for those concerned about why fast fashion is so cheap, there's The New York Times report claiming that brands like H&M and The Gap have fallen short of their pledge to improve working conditions in factories overseas. This could easily hurt retailers as more and more people consider the ethical implications of the clothes they wear. Certainly the success of Everlane, a company that prizes transparency over unbridled profit, seems to suggest as much. Of course, given the rapid ascendance of fast fashion, it could simply be that slowing profits for brands like Uniqlo and H&M are part of a levelling off, of no longer being the new cool kid in town. 

As Abercrombie & Fitch, The Gap, and J.Crew can certainly tell you—the good times don't necessarily last forever.

From: Esquire US.