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Here today…gone tomorrow?

The 2OPINIONATED crew are over fast-fashion

The fast-fashion concept seemed so very exciting at first.

We could instantly access collections “inspired by” the latest catwalk trends…no more waiting 6 months for the trickle down effect from high-fashion to the high street. Better still…you could buy a complete outfit from Zara for the same price as a blazer from premium brand.

Fast-fashion literally transformed retail practices and totally changed our shopping habits as consumers.

Whats more, designer collaborations with top-tier labels like the Versace for H&M collection allowed us all to believe that we were really buying superior styling as opposed to just throw-away fashion.

So why is our love affair with  fast-fashion nearly over?

I was going away for a long weekend and I needed a few basic T’s for the trip so I headed off to Sportsgirl. For the benefit of our international readers we will give you some background on the label. Sportsgirl was established in 1948 and is an Australian retail icon with well over 100 stores today. The Sportsgirl brand has reinvented itself many times over the years and yet it has somehow managed to remain relevant to generations of Australian women. Sportsgirl is currently owned by the Susan Group and its latest financial turnaround has been attributed to both the leadership of CEO Naomi Milgrom and to the brands adoption of fast-fashion practices. If you’re interested in getting a better idea about what the brand is all about the Sportsgirl website www.Sportsgirl.com.au should fill in the blanks.

I freely admit that I’m a little older than the Sportsgirl’s targeted demographic but I really admire the brands latest reincarnation and I have always had a positive experience shopping at Sportsgirl. I purchased three T-shirts at $24.95 each and by the end of the weekend all 3 had holes in them. Just to clarify – I have never been known for packing light so it wasn’t exactly like these garments were on high-rotation.

The image below shows you just how the T-shirt looked afer one wear and one wash. It didn’t last a week… hell… they didn’t even survive the weekend!

Throw-away fashion” …literally!

Rating – Pointless minus

Call me sentimental but I’m a little over throw-away fashion. I’m old enough to remember the days when you could expect a chain-store garment to last (not pill and not lose its shape) for a whole season, sometimes a whole year..sometimes they even lasted until they went out of fashion. I don’t know if there’s any place for morality in fashion but a single wear garment is a little too disposable  for me – it seems like a huge waste of resources as well as a waste of my money and my time. – Hannah Brooks

I had the same issue with a T-shirt I bought at Zadig and Voltaire. I wore it once and it had a whole in it. I conscious that it was fine fabric but I knew hadn’t caught it anything. I took it back to the store, they immediately replaced it for me and I haven’t had a problem since but at the same time it was a €120 T-Shirt. I have found the H&M range to be great value. Generally their T’s are priced from €10-25 and I haven’t had any issues with them, they last a year,sometimes  a year and a half – Olya Bell

It seems like former” best practices” in the fashion industry have been abandoned in the race to get products to market more quickly. Is there any quality-control anymore? One company I have worked for years ago tested each garment for 50 washes before the style could be approved (that practice certainly wasn’t applied by Sportsgirl). Do brands conduct fit-testing anymore? The inconsistent sizing by brands these days drives us mad! How can it be that in the same collection you can be both a S and a L in a top- go figure?

This prompts us to ask another question…why should there be such a massive trade-off between price and quality?  The gap between an $24.95 price point and €120 price-point seems enormous. In her last trip to Australia Olya noted that few Australian retailers seem to be successfully targeting the middle-tier price points. You can either buy from down and dirty retailers or high-end boutiques and not much in between. When did middle of the road become so unpopular?

I’m quite an extreme personality so it’s kind of ironic that I am making a case for the middle ground – but I think it’s a legitimate one. As a 41-year-old (yes I said it out loud!) I feel like the forgotten fashion consumer in Australia. No retailer is doing a good job of providing quality, fashion-forward, age appropriate apparel, especially when it comes to basics and casual wear. It’s either frumpsville or completely inappropriate. I honestly would be prepared to pay more than $24.95 for a T if it was flattering and lasted longer than the weekend – Hannah Brooks

Where can you find good basic T’s in Australia, what’s a reasonable time frame to expect them to last, are you prepared to pay a little more for a product that stands the test of time?

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. In all of my travels I finally found the ‘holy grail’ of tshirts in Glenmore Road Paddington! Bassike (www.bassike.com) have the best range of tshirts (& many other items) They wash well, don’t stretch out & are ultra flattering. At $80 they are a bit more expensive than the sportsgirl/H&M t’s but I think it is money well spent for a quality item that lasts.

    February 9, 2012
  2. Kendra #

    Ditto Kimberly. I love Bassike. The cut is fantastic and they last well beyond a season.

    February 10, 2012
    • Thanks for the tip ladies. I’m heading to Paddington tomorrow and now I feel like my shopping mission has purpose!!!

      February 10, 2012
  3. That’s the way I feel about Target. I feel you do get value for your money. It’s also why I try to encourage my readers to look for sales from good stores like Nordstrom’s and Sak’s. You can find sale items (that are made well) for sometimes the price of a Wal-Mart, which will fall apart after 4 washings.

    p.s. thanks for finding my site…not really sure what’s going on there.

    February 10, 2012
    • Australia is such a small market by comparison to the US but its interesting to know that you sometimes suffer for the same issues. Nordstom’s and Sak’s both ship to Oz so I will keep an eye out for their sales. Many thanks Hannah

      February 15, 2012

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