We may have Zara to thank for the non-stop fashion cycle.
Only a decade ago, high fashion designers were responsible for creating two collections per year: Fall and Spring. But in recent years that number has doubled, if not tripled: Most labels now churn out a Resort and Pre-fall collection, as well as in some cases, capsule collections, special collaborations and couture. And, according to the New York Times, it's all because of Zara.
"They broke up a century-old biannual cycle of fashion," Tank editor Masoud Golsorkhi told the paper. "Now, pretty much half of the high-end fashion companies [Prada and Louis Vuitton, for example] make four to six collections instead of two each year. That’s absolutely because of Zara."
There's no doubt that Zara has upped the ante of fast fashion. The retailer (along with, of course, the internet) has trained consumers to expect a constant flow of new items, and a lightening fast turnaround. Now, it seems, high fashion designers are feeling the pressure to keep up.
But while there's no doubt that the fashion cycle has sped up, it remains to be seen what kind of ramifications the new calendar could hold for the future.
"It used to be that we could do with three T-shirts a year." Golsorkhi said. "Now we need 30. Sometimes it’s actually cheaper to throw away clothes than to wash them. That has got to be wrong."
It is wrong, according to Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. "People are buying throw-away clothes," she told us. "It’s a big shift in our thinking."
Want to change your shopping mindset? Read her tips on how to avoid the fast fashion frenzy.