Thinking of Venturing into Fast Fashion? Read This!


Like many other major retail chains, Kohl’s is putting a stake in the ground when it comes to marketing to millennials, in hopes of increasing sales and broadening their assortment. On Monday, the department store launched k/lab, a new initiative targeted towards the fashion-conscious, trends-driven demographic.

While Kohl’s is known for being a family-friendly department store, k/lab will have a strong fast fashion feel. Rather than forecasting seasonal trends and planning collections well in advance, k/lab strives to be more reactive, creating each piece as the trends go live.

Kohl’s Vice President of Trend, Sofia Wacksman explains, “[Kohl’s] focus is really on the family, so this is focusing on the family member we kind of forgot about — the millennial, who is still part of that family.”

Why Fast Fashion?

Fast fashion is typically described as low-cost clothing inspired by trends ripped straight from the runway (almost as soon as the show ends). This appeals to a younger, more fashion-savvy demographic who want to show off their stylistic chops but don’t necessarily have the disposable income to be able to afford designer duds. The “fast” in fast fashion means consumers aren’t left feeling out of the loop (they can wear those patent, pointed-toed booties almost as soon as they spot it on Rihanna’s Instagram page), and the low-cost, often lower quality materials used means they’re not a strain on the wallet either.

Unfortunately, while we can certainly see the upside to going the fast fashion route from a retailer or brand’s perspective, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows…

The Ugly Side

While fast fashion may seem like a win/win situation for end consumers, the sad reality is that, historically, that hasn’t always been the case when it comes to the garment workers who manufacture the products, or the environment. As we’ve seen in the news time and time again, there have been several instances of the lives of workers in these factories, many of them connected to some of the top fast fashion brands in the industry, ending in tragedy due to hazardous conditions. Reports from the Ethical Fashion Forum indicate that factory workers have to work extremely long hours just to keep up with retailers’ demands of frequent, and large volumes of clothing.

Additionally, cheap, easy-to-produce, and chemical-based materials like polyester and acrylic also wreak havoc on the environment. Cotton, the most ubiquitous of all textiles requires an unseemly amount of pesticides and water. In 2010, the amount of textile waste produced within the industry came out to approximately 11 million tons – that’s 126 million cubic yards of landfill space contributing to global warming with the release of methane from materials decomposing.

What Can You Do?

While brands and retailers still have a ways to go, it’s not an entirely impossible task to follow the fast fashion trend in a sustainable manner. Many established brands and retailers have made it their mission to produce chic, eco-friendly wares and top retailers in the sector, like H&M have begun following in their footsteps. Of course, once local sourcing, sustainable materials, and social-responsibility come into play, prices will indeed go up. However, as statistics show, millennials are open to shelling out a bit more money if it means they won’t be contributing to today’s harmful “throw away culture.”


Want more ideas on how to appeal to fast fashion-loving millennials? Read on below!