Urgency for the Catwalk Look Fuels the Fast Fashion Industry

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The Fast Fashion industry, a term originating from the rapid movement of styles from the catwalk to retail shelves nationwide, has grown 21% over the past 3 years[i], reflecting the growing consumer demand for speed in the retail industry. The way consumers are shopping and seeking influence is changing. Today, more consumers are turning to social platforms, such as Instagram, for fashion and lifestyle inspiration, demonstrating the power of partnerships and celebrity endorsements for marketers in the retail industry today.

Fast Fashion brands like ASOS, New Look and Very.co.uk pioneered the production of affordable clothing in rapid cycles and remain three of the most popular brands in this category. Between them these brands dominate the UK’s fast fashion market share accounting for nearly half (47 per cent).

However, Hitwise recently ran a report looking into the Fast Fashion industry to unearth the new and emerging trends in this space. Our data found the most popular emerging brand among the category was PrettyLittleThing.com, receiving an astounding 663% increase in people visiting its site y-o-y since 2014.

PrettyLittleThing is a brand endorsed by some of the most influential celebrities from Kylie Jenner to Sofia Richie and Lucy Meck, who have not only appeared wearing the brands clothing on the retailer’s site, but on their personal social platforms too. This is a great example of a brand really optimising on the power of celebrity to drive mass awareness quickly. In fact, from analysing search data across 3 million internet users in the UK, Hitwise found the twenty fifth most popular search term associated with the brand is: “celebrities wearing Pretty Little Thing”.

In The Style, a retailer endorsed by reality stars like Binky Felstead, Charlotte Crosby and Billie Faiers, recently achieved a multi-million pound investment injection, a clear indicator its success and growth in the market.  The key drivers of this success are in no doubt due to the brands celebrity endorsements and high frequency of new collections enabling the brand to meet consumer expectations for high speed and fashion.

According to Econsultancy, almost 60 per cent of fashion and beauty brands have an influencer marketing strategy in place, while a further 21 percent planning to invest in it in 2017. However, celebrities are also beginning to realise their own social influence in the fashion industry, becoming brands in their own right.

Reality star, Millie Mackintosh was one of the first UK celebrities to start her own fashion line in 2014 selling direct from her own dot-com site. Since then, by partnering with other retailers, she has become the second most popular brand on fast fashion King, ASOS, second only to the brands own label. In fact, Hitwise found that 30 per cent of the top 20 search terms around Millie Mackintosh were directly associated with her clothing line.

With the UK’s fashion industry valued at £66 billion and brands such as Boohoo continuing to predict remarkable revenue growth, the demand for fast fashion continues to rise. The importance of influence for millennial audiences demonstrates the power of partnerships and celebrity endorsements, proving fashion trends aren’t only made on the catwalk.

[i] Twelve months to March 2017 compared to twelve months to March 2015

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