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Use Of Technologies In Fast Fashion Marketing Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Marketing
Wordcount: 2028 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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For this term paper I aim to analyze and evaluate the performance of the technologies used to make Fast-fashion strategy successful. Fast fashion is a term used to describe clothing collections that are based on the recent fashion trends presented at a fashion week. These trends are designed and manufactured quickly with medium quality and affordable price allowing the regular shoppers to take an advantage of current clothing style at an affordable price.

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The “Fast-fashion” strategy that involves quick manufacturing at affordable price apparel products is used in large retailers such as ZARA, H&M, NEW LOOK, and TOPSHOP (fast fashion lecture). All these four brands are competitors. ZARA is the main ‘Fast-Fashion’ specialist, which can operate on a lead time of 15 days or less, where as the other brands take up to 280 days to operate.

The first popular Spanish international clothing retailer and pioneer of ‘Fast-fashion”, Inditex opened the Zara stores in 1975, in A Coruña. It was founded by Amancio Ortega, their aim for introducing fast fashion was to satisfy costumer’s needs and wants by offering costumers the latest fashion in good quality at affordable prices.

In an article, The Economist claims: “the consumers today are far more

Fashion-savvy and demanding then in the past”(The Economist, 2005). The article also suggests that some high fashion retailers have compressed their lead-times to satisfy market demand by having the right product in the right place at the right time. Fast fashion is usually strongly influenced by, or in some cases replications of, a catwalk or celebrity style (The Economist, 2005) (financial snap shot).

Successful retailers such as Zara have the ability to react instantly to consumer demands and to the current trend, which has expanded throughout the world with unique success. This quick response formula has attracted others in the fashion industry and has highlighted their inability to change the fashion quickly.

In Zara stores there is always limited stock, which persuades the costumers to buy the product quickly, in the fear of the product not being available if the costumers leave it there to purchase it some other time. There is always a sense of tantalizing exclusivity, due to only few items being on display even after the space of the store being wide enough. Such retails depend on the regular creation and rapid replenishment of small batches of new goods. Their designers make approximately 40,000 design annually, from which most of their designs are influenced by the latest couture, however they do manage to do better than the high fashion houses in the market and offer almost the same products, made with less expensive fabric, at much lower prices (Dutta, 2002).

The business model for the company is based on offering the latest style in high quality with affordable price, with a creative team of more than 200 professionals, Zara design process is closely built according to consumer demands.

This new strategy adapted by Zara and other retailers have developed and made the fashion industry more successful as they are now able to respond quicker to consumers demand, as the industry no longer has to wait for the top designer to set six months trend twice a year. Now retailers can serve their customers with new blooming designs in a short period of time, whilst being inspired by the movies, arts and other retail sectors (Matassa, 2008, 18/12/2009).

“Fast fashion” system relies on the constant exchange of information within every part of the Zara supply chain, from consumers to managers. The communication within Zara’s supply chain is exchanged through Information Technology (Such as their PDA) as this allows the manager to update the inventory. It is used to gather the consumer’s opinion about the products and what they wish to see in stores. The data is gathered on a regular basis and is sent to the headquarters. All this takes place within Spain with no outsourcing manufacturing, which reduces a significant amount of time. This device is not only used to keep the designers informed about the fast-changing customer demands but it also provides the company with the inside on the less desirable merchandise and trends (Anon, 28/12/09).

“Business practice, in turn, led to shorter lead times and introduction of more fashion styles. The implementation of the information and communications technology helped augment the business processes at Zara” (Gaebler, 01/01/10).

In the past 30 years computer technology has had a great impact on manufacturing success, which also applies to a function diverse such as payroll, stock control, parts production, process planning and component testing. The combination of CAD and CAM has caused improvements in the costs effectiveness, quality and the ease with which a wide variety of component parts can be produced.

The term “quick response” has been the most important strategy used to achieve fast fashion. It has been defined as:

McMichael et al. (2000, p. 613) defined

QR as:

[. . .] a consumer driven business strategy of cooperative planning by supply chain partners, to ensure the right goods, are in the right place, at the right time, using IT and flexible manufacturing to eliminate inefficiencies from the entire supply chain (Sheridan, 2006).

“It is a mode of operation in which a manufacturing or service industry aims to provide products or services to its customers in the precise quantities, varieties and within the time frames that those customers require”( S.G. Hayes and Nicola Jones, Financial snap).

Various types of techniques are used for time density and hence fast fashion can also be defined as a quick response strategy.

The main technologies identified as quick response elements used in manufacturing and retailing are:

CAD/CAM: Computer aided design and manufacturing. This design tool is used in creating design patterns and garments, and CAM is a manufacturing tool that controls automated processes such as cutting (Gray, 1998). It is an innovative approach to pattern making to ensure that you can create patterns for your own unique designs that will fit your shape or each of your individual customer’s size & shapes.

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You can also create virtual illustration of your designs by “dressing up” mock up models with different designs. This software is used to make the design process easier, which allows the design to be seen three dimensional. It also helps the designs to develop and test the ideas to be tested without actually being commenced into form, hence using less work and less error.

Automated cutting: is a cutting system with high-speed, static table cutting system, designed to cut a wide variety of materials and fabrics. This system can easily be used cut cloth, composites, leather, industrial fabrics and most others rolled goods for use in apparel industry (Gerber technology, 01/01/10).

Automated cutting machine does not care about how complicated the pattern is, it is immunized against some of the increasing complexity within garment. This system also improves sewing quality, since every part is cut identical and the operator does not have to adjust the pieces to match. This machine requires computer aided design of markers, which also improves the fabric operation (Warburton and Stratton, 2002).

Electronic data interchange: EDI is the transfer of data, electrically exchanged through different part of supply chain, and is compiled using electronic point of sale equipment (Hayes and Jones, 2006). Quick responses have been possible because of the development of EDI and EPOS. The advanced information technology is the key to quick response, as it allows the supply chain to respond quickly to the real-time data (Gerber technology, 01/01/10). Today’s data transfer has grown even more through the internet, which allows the product develop management to share the information across the world.

Product Development Management software (PDM) is data-centric processes that revolve around the management of all the critical product, material, and component data needed to build a bill of materials (BOM), ultimately creating a complete specification package for the manufacturer. Specification management includes major components such as measurements and grading, construction details, CAD, or sketch files, and may include costing details.

It is suited for fashion designers who want to move ahead with their craft, If they are thinking of developing their own line of clothing and gets involved with other features of fashion design such as promotion, sales and marketing (Howtodothings, 01/01/10). It manages a database of all the information relating to a product and allows live product development by participants in different locations (Hayes and Jones, 2006).

Feeling the pressure to deliver more styles in less time, apparel manufacturers and retailers are more frequently turning to off-the-shelf PLM applications as the scalable platform needed to support increasingly complex product development processes in the context of business-led supply chain strategies.

Modular manufacturing and unit production systems: The building of artefacts from standardized modules, subsystems or components has been common for centuries.

In the context of engineering product design, the module system is used in firms that produce standard products. This is designed for apparel companies that produce men’s, women’s, and children’s sport wear. It involves reducing the division of labour.

Modular design resists obsolescence, shortens redesign, enables new designs to be realized by using existing modules, reduced costs, and easy maintenance. Moreover, when modular construction methods have become widely established, as in electronic fabrication using standard components (e.g. integrated circuits resistors and capacitors), the design process is generally assisted by sophisticated design and variation tools.


In today’s world, the fashion industry is very competitive; to survive in this industry it is suggested to understand the process of comparing the cost, cycle time, productivity, or quality of a specific process that is widely used, to be able to compete with the other business. To be successful within this field it is essential to understand and satisfy costumer’s demands and needs and satisfy these demands to achieve success. This is where retailers like Zara are playing an iconic role in the industry , using fast-fashion strategy with short lead time to fulfil costumer demands , aiming to please costumers by providing them with fresh and new designs, whilst manufacturing, creating and designing in-house in Spain. Not only are they fulfilling consumer demands but are also influencing other luxury brands to shorten their lead-time.

The term fast-fashion is used to describe the quick response strategy applied in retails to satisfy customer needs, by providing the customers with quality product at affordable prices, in a short time. This puts the pressure on the costumers as well and encourages them to visit the store numerous times.

The purpose of this term paper was to analyse and evaluate the significant technology consideration taken by the retailer that has applied the fast fashion strategy, retailers such as Zara H&M, Top shop, Gap , Primark and etc.

The paper illustrates that by focus on the quality product at affordable price, using technologies such as PDA: to measure consumer demands, CAD/CAM: to create design, style and pattern grading, automate cutters: can cut complicated pattern, which is inoculate against some of the increasing complexity within garments. It’s this technology that has developed fast fashion and made companies like Zara successful.


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