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Fast Fashion: Business Model Overview and Research Opportunities

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Part of the International Series in Operations Research & Management Science book series (ISOR,volume 223)

Abstract

Fast fashion is a business model that offers (the perception of) fashionable clothes at affordable prices. From an operations standpoint, fast fashion requires a highly responsive supply chain that can support a product assortment that is periodically changing. Though the underlying principles are simple, the successful execution of the fast-fashion business model poses numerous challenges. We present a careful examination of this business model and discuss its execution by analyzing the most prominent firms in the industry. We then survey the academic literature for research that is specifically relevant or directly related to fast fashion. Our goal is to expose the main components of fast fashion and to identify untapped research opportunities.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_fashion, accessed January 17, 2014.

  2. 2.

    Zara has a separate section for Women in their teens (TRF), which we included in the count. The other retailers in the study have a single section for Women that includes teenagers.

  3. 3.

    Topshop and Forever 21 introduce three times more products than H&M and Zara but it is unclear whether that pays off because their GMROI is unavailable.

  4. 4.

    We focus on analytical and empirical research. For more qualitative work on fast fashion, we refer the reader to Choi (2013a).

  5. 5.

    Note that H&M, and especially Zara, have deviated from the “affordable” pricing strategy to enter Asian countries—most notably Japan and China—where they are perceived as high-end European brands that signify status and therefore consumers are willing to pay a price premium.

  6. 6.

    In manufacturing, a pull system is make-to-order, whereas a push system is make-to-stock.

  7. 7.

    Chan et al. (2013) present a method to codify and identify styles in product designs. It works well for design patents, but it might be less applicable to fashion due to the lack of IP protection.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Pol Boada Collado for helping collect the data used in Figs. 9.6 and 9.7. V. Martínez-de-Albéniz’s research was supported in part by the European Research Council—ref. ERC-2011-StG 283300-REACTOPS and by the Spanish Ministry of Economics and Competitiveness (Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, formerly Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación)—ref. ECO2011-29536.

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Caro, F., Martínez-de-Albéniz, V. (2015). Fast Fashion: Business Model Overview and Research Opportunities. In: Agrawal, N., Smith, S. (eds) Retail Supply Chain Management. International Series in Operations Research & Management Science, vol 223. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-7562-1_9

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