Does increased accessibility have to mean over-saturation
Technology has completely restructured the production and distribution lines of the fashion industry. It has made high quality and runway-style pieces immediately within reach of the masses. High fashion was formerly leagues beyond lower priced clothing, both in quality and desirability. But increased efficiency and accessibility has evened the playing field for frugal shoppers. No longer is style exclusive to high society. For this new accessibility, our wallets and our closets are rejoicing.
But, notwithstanding, fast fashion is synonymous with mass fashion. Mastering efficiency has come with a side effect of oversaturation.
The nature of being accessible to the masses can really infringe on the potential for originality. One can get jaded sourcing an entire wardrobe from the same 4-5 stores every time you’re looking for a closet update, only to see your outfit twins on every corner.
The rise of indie fashion brands
This new accessibility has not only benefited the consumer, but businesses alike. We have seen a rise in another sector of fashion: the independent design label. Decreased barrier of entry has pleasantly saturated the market with a diverse assortment of smaller brands, who are gaining viable traction in the fashion world. These indie brands offer originality, style, frugality, and with the internet, immediate convenience.
Small brands used to be relegated to those within walking distance of their storefront. But now location is the least of issues.
The Digital Age has given us global access to boutiques and brands that were formerly out of reach without a plane ticket and a passport. Online shopping removes the proximity barrier, giving our wardrobes boundless access to a dynamic global market.
The best part is that, with independent labels, you don’t feel like you are sacrificing authenticity for price. Fast fashion is great at making runway dupes for a fraction of the price, but they can tend to directly rip off the designer versions. All just to appear like a deliberate but inadequate knock off of the original. Even when falling in line with current trends, these smaller independent labels manage to achieve their own aesthetic. They can capitalize on a trend in a way that is refreshed rather than regurgitated.
Loosening the clutch of fast fashion
Still, when shopping, we tend to stick to what we know, revisiting the same exact shops that we always go to, despite having such an unprecedented range of options at our fingertips.
Having access without direction can be as useless as having no access at all.
If I’m honest, I don’t know what I would do without mega-brands like Zara, Asos, and Topshop. Despite all of my accolades for new ‘indie fashion brands,’ Zara could still put their name on the front of my closet and open up shop.
Every time I want to quit fast fashion, (sometimes due to ethical reasons and sometimes due to hipster-sentiments of avoiding the mainstream) their sheer ubiquity keeps them in Old Reliable status.
So in order to at least challenge this ubiquity, I decided to compile and share a small list of several smaller brands to consider adding to my bookmarks and my closet.