Fast Fashion is taking its last, labored breath before the bubble bursts. With everyone from Macy’s to Bebe closing stores, and Sears and Rue21 on borrowed time, it’s time to face up that fast fashion is built on an unsustainable financial model. A few shrewd companies, such as Zara, H&M, and even the more cautious Nordstrom, may weather the storm for a bit longer, but how long can retail keep burning through the same cycle, with new lines coming in and going on clearance within weeks? With the X-Gen wary of the “sell-out” and the Millennial Generation wanting “authenticity,” the lure of Fast Fashion isn’t working, so how do retailers reach consumers?
Go to the Makers
Urban Outfitters has had 2 amazing lingerie lines working directly with maker and designer Maddie Flanigan. For over 4 years running now, West Elm continues to have their Local Artists collections. But the biggest influencer yet, is the maker-influencer herself, Zoë Edwards, the originator of Me-Made-May, or the hashtags #memademay, or #mmm17 as it’s tagged now in its 8th year. Me-Made-May has gained so much momentum, retailers have started using the famous tagline in promotions. Zulily, owned by QVC, regularly has a craft section and used Me-Made-May in a May 1st promotion.
Mood Fabrics, famous for sponsoring Lifetime’s Project Runway for 15 seasons alongside many other retailers, altered the hashtag to #moodmademay.
Successful collaboration with makers is nothing new to Mood Fabrics or many other companies in the artistic-maker realm. Even licensed costumes and cosplay celebrities are in on it. From native advertising to co-branding and design, makers have time and again proven they’re a great resource and retailers are starting to get the hint that makers are the way to consumers’ hearts. Craftsy, the giant online-craft-classroom company, was just bought by Comcast NBCUniversal, and rumors are flying around about the recent CEO shake up and a possible Etsy sale to a large retailer on the horizon. With the FTC cracking down on transparency in sponsored content, the logical step is for creative teams to start working directly with makers on authentically sourced campaigns.