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Accepted Paper:

Re-defining fast fashion. A Phenomenon from Business Model to Everyday Practice  


Heike Derwanz (University of Oldenburg)

Paper short abstract:

Emerging from the field of economics, the term fast fashion described a faster production and selling of mass-produced clothing. Today's phenomenon of fast fashion, however, had a much broader impact on clothing consumption that calls for an integrated postcolonial anthropological perspective.

Paper long abstract:

Fast fashion is a term used in fashion business publications as well as fashion studies literature and the wider public including NGO's such as Greenpeace. After some 30 years in circulation, it is time to also regard its historical becoming as everyday expression and change in the consumption of clothing, not only production. Many authors from economics mentioned early that the retail strategy or business model of the fashion market changed consumer habits or vice versa (Barnes and Lea-Greenwood 2006, 260; Cachon and Swinney 2010, 29, 34; Gabrielli, Baghi and Codeluppi 2013, 213, Samioe 2017, 26). But these enterprises produce masses of everyday clothing which is bought on high streets in big cities or in the country and is mostly left out by fashion theory unless some years (Worth 2008, Buckley and Clark 2017).

Did the term fast fashion free itself from its childhood in marketing as a retail strategy for certain items (Sull and Turconi 2006, 5; Bruce and Daly 2006, 330) to business model (Caro and Marinez de Albaniz 2014) and became a battlefield over the extremes of contemporary fashion consumption? What is an integrated cultural anthropology-perspective that opens up a new horizon taking production and consumption in consideration? My overall hypothesis is that the term fast fashion today does not only encompass the business model as it was seen in marketing. It is used in a much broader sense describing a technical revolution that led to significant changes in perception, valuation and other everyday-behaviour with clothing.

Panel P150
Fashion: uses and practises of clothing in a moving world