Trade Marks and Brands

Fashion as Urban Scene? Like Berlin techno or ‘Madchester’?

By Blog

mcrobbieAngela McRobbie, Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London reflects on the changing shape of the Fashion industry.


Photo credit: Sopopular, Berlin

Fashion, as we know, is almost synonymous with the capriciousness of taste, with ephemerality, with an ever-accelerating pace of products and items which can now be on the rails to suit customer needs, even when the weather does not correspond with the calendar of collections traditionally tied to the ‘seasons’. Not long ago a cold summer or a warm winter meant significant losses, this is no longer unsurmountable. The vast expansion of the infrastructure of production, on a global basis, with new locations for small and large factory manufacture opening up on a weekly basis, from Vietnam to Cambodia, from Turkey to Morocco, means that the sheer capacity correlates also with a speeded-up idea of change and ‘newness’ now signalled by upmarket labels as mid-season ranges. At the lower end of the market the new temporality of fast fashion brings cheap copies of haute couture looks to (mostly) young consumers thanks to fine-tuned production, distribution and retail processes such as those developed by Zara and H&M, with a lead time of three weeks from the ‘runway’ to the high street store. Underpinning all of these significant transformations of fashion’s consumer culture is the role of IT, social media, rapid transport and distribution and of course the exponential growth of e-commerce.

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