You’ve seen them, I’m sure of it… Zara top, H&M jeans, Forever 21 jacket. Head-to-toe in fast fashion but wearing expensive distinctive designer eyeglasses and toting a handbag with a thousand dollar price tag. I’ve seen this fashion trend lately which has raised a few questions as to why? These days fast fashion or disposable fashion is everywhere. These trends are taken from high fashion houses whose designers have painstakingly created and designed seasonal looks, only to have their ideas stolen from the catwalk and sold at H&M, ZARA and Forever 21 for ¼ of the cost and sometimes even less. |
Fast Fashion: Retailers like H&M and ZARA offer designer knock offs, styles taken from high fashion houses and are reproduced quickly and sold at a fraction of the cost due to low cost manufacturing processes which are made to be as efficient as possible, using cheaper materials and even cheaper labor.
It’s common for teenagers and young adults to see styles and trends on the catwalk and then a few short weeks later, find the same styles and trends in stores that will sell the clothes for just dollars in comparison. The clothes are cheaply made but at the low cost, who cares, the trend will surely die off in a few months. The quality is poor, the clothes last but a few washes, and in most cases, the items are not even fit to be sold as second hand.
Why then, do these fashionistas-in-the-making, dress head-to-toe in cheaply made trendy clothes but choose to spend hundreds up to thousands on fine designer accessories?
Distinctive designers: Certainly, sneakers have a lot of value, and jeans have a lot of value, but if you think about when a person approaches you, they've got their sunglasses on or they've got their sunglasses on top of their head; it's almost as if it’s the very first thing that we see. When you look at someone, you typically look straight into their eyes and so it becomes something like a calling card, here I am with my Chanel sunglasses, here I am with my Ray-Bans or whatever particular brand it is which puts us into a category: This is who I am.
Even though consumers are not dishing out hundreds on designer clothing, they’ll spend more on accessories because they last longer. Buying something for the brand name is one thing. Sometimes, people are just as happy to spend more on something that looks better. Creating demand for an on-trend style means more people are willing to spend more to buy it. And for many sunglasses retailers, of which often have high inventory and low turnover – the trendy eyeglasses must cost more to make up for the losses of styles that have failed.
Brand Recognition over Designer clothes: Rather than choose one or two expensive designer clothing pieces that can be kept as a timeless garment, a consumer can spend the same amount of money on a plethora of cheaply made trendy clothes instead. Even though those clothes will last at most a year, the gratification of quantity over quality has surely won here. But choosing a designer eyeglasses or a pair of sunglasses and/or designer handbag essentially choosing that designer to represent themselves, will last longer and will be the recognized brand to which the consumer can relate.
Michelle Costanza Weis is a fashion stylist - turned optical specialist. Her focus is on accessories and statement pieces - like prescription eyeglasses. She is currently working for GlassesUSA.com - the easiest way to buy glasses online, which now offers free shipping all over the US, with the code FreeShip10.
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