Fast Fashion in the Pet Industry and Why We Avoid It
Fast Fashion - it's one of those terms we've all heard but never actually knew what it meant, especially in the pet space. We've done the deep diving for you to summarise exactly what Fast Fashion is, how it relates to the pet industry and how we, at PUPSTYLE, won't be a part of it.
What Is Fast Fashion?
In the clothing industry, Fast Fashion refers to mass produced, often cheap, low quality clothing that is designed to move quickly from being purchased by you to being out of fashion quickly after, encouraging you to purchase the next new piece to try and stay up with the trends. It is classified as 'fast' because the entire process is relatively short-lived - from using cheap, easily accessible materials and basic processes to speed up the manufacturing time, to then being stocked in stores with the intention of creating consumer hype and selling out as quickly as possible. The pieces are not designed to last and customers usually don't expect a long life from these products as they 'got themselves a real bargain!' Woo!
But there's a real downside to the entire Fast Fashion process, and it's not a nice one. The environmental impact caused by Fast Fashion is said to be increasingly contributing to global warming, almost 400% more than 20 years ago. That is:
- Water waste: It can take up to 200 tonnes of fresh water to dye 1 tonne of fabric. The used, contaminated water from Fast Fashion factories is then dumped directly into rivers, polluting all the vegetation and wildlife from rivers to the oceans that they flow into.
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions: the production, manufacturing and transporting of millions of clothes each year uses an obscene amount of energy. If the demand for fast fashion continues to grow at the current rate, it is expected that the total Carbon Footprint of fast fashion will reach a massive 26% by 2050.
- Deforestation: from over-breeding sheep for their wool to tearing down thousands of ancient rainforests every year to make way for cotton fields and wood-based fabric plantations, every act contributes to less trees that absorb the Co2 in our air which is crucial to preventing global warming.
How does Fast Fashion relate to pet products?
It's not hard to see how the fundamental principles of fast fashion (mass produced, cheap, low quality and moving quickly) have applied directly to pet accessories also. We see a lot of 'leading' accessories brands coming out with a new colour or a new print in the one product every week or month, some even releasing up to 10 new prints at a time every month or so. They do this for the exact same reason as fast fashion in the human clothing industry - to create hype and encourage customers to purchase quickly, knowing that this particular colour won't stay around for long and you'll be forced to upgrade again to the newest trend very soon.
Most of these accessories products are exactly the same 'base' product across brands, made en masse by large factories with the cheapest fabrics and then printed in that brands' colour and their logo applied at the last step.
How We Avoid Being Part of Fast Fashion
At PUPSTYLE, we design our products from scratch - both the function, and style - which means that our manufacturer cannot mass produce them. We make only the amount that we need, when we need it, and aim for as minimal waste as possible.
We have also made the conscious decision to have a core selection of products and prints and NOT release lots of different colours or prints every so often just to make quick money. The downside to this for us as a business is that a lot of our long-time customers now have all of the prints and products we offer, meaning that our only means of building our business growth is through new customers as we don't have new products to offer to our loyal PUPSTYLER's as quickly as other brands.
We've seen a direct result of this affecting our growth even across our social media following - whilst we're growing steadily from word of mouth from the same set of products, other brands' followings are growing in crazy amounts thanks to the regular hype that every new-release fast fashion product brings in.
Lastly, we use the highest quality materials we can source for every product, including Vegan Leather for minimal environmental impact, whilst others are still using mesh and poor quality polyester. The result of this means that PUPSTYLE products last and our customers don't need to replace them as quickly as other cheaper, lesser quality products. The trade-off is less money for us, but better quality for our customers and a positive impact on the environment. We have a large amount of customers still wearing the same harness they bought when we first launched 4 years ago - now that is what we like to call Slow Fashion, and proud of it!