ArticlePDF Available

Staying Competitive in the Fast-Fashion Era in a Developing Economy

Competitive in
the Fast-Fashion
Era in a
pISSN 2233-9051
eISSN 2288-7490
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 18 No. 2, December 2018, pp. 1-12
Staying Competitive in the Fast-Fashion Era in
a Developing Economy1)
Chuma Chipo⁺ㆍChipambwa WalterKomichi Rufaro
Senior Lecturer, Department of Clothing and Textile Technology, School of Art and Design, Chinhoyi
University of Technology, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
Lecturer, Department of Clothing and Textile Technology, School of Art and Design, Chinhoyi University
of Technology, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
Fashion Designer, Sheomol Design House, Harare, Zimbabwe
(Received December 23, 2017; Revised June 14, 2018; Accepted August 29, 2018)
Abstract The purpose of this study was to examine strategies which clothing manufacturers had em-
ployed to make themselves more competitive in the era of fast fashion. The Zimbabwean fashion industry
is facing fierce competition from imported fast-fashion products which are lower priced and offer con-
sumers a variety of designs from which to choose. The study made use of a qualitative approach with
multiple case study design. In-depth interviews were used to gather data from participants, who were se-
lected using the purposive sampling. The study found that clothing manufacturers had resorted to
sub-contracting garment manufacturing work, promoting the buy-Zimbabwe campaign and developing
in-house brands. This study offers insights into how the fast-fashion era has impacted the local fashion
industry and unveils the practical solutions that local clothing manufacturers have embraced in a bid to
remain operational and become globally competitive.
Key words Fast Fashion, Fashion Brand, Competitive Advantage, Clothing Manufacturer
The fast-fashion phenomenon was adopted by retailers in a bid to gain a competitive advantage in the
fashion market. Cachon and Swinney (2009) describe fast fashion as a range of systems intended to give
a fashion retailer an advantage mainly in terms of enhanced design and rapid production. According to
these scholars, enhanced design is informed by customers’ constantly-changing tastes in fashion products.
Since 2000, the global clothing industry has experienced a multiplied annual growth rate of 4.3%, reach-
ing a market value of US1.7 trillion in 2012 (“Euromonitor International,” 2013). In countries such as
the United Kingdom, the annual growth rate of the clothing industry increased tremendously over the
same period (“Euromonitor International,’’ 2013). This is corroborated by the net profit margin of the
world’s 250 retailers for the 2015 financial year, which stood at 7.1 percent, while the retail annual
Corresponding Author: Chuma Chipo, E-mail:
Vol.18 No.2
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
growth rate was 62.5 percent (“Global Powers,” 2017). The growth registered has not only been in terms
of revenue, but also the number of clothing items purchased.
The growth registered in the clothing industry is attributable to several factors, which include on-
line shops, technology and new fast fashion brands on the market. Other factors, as has been indicated
by Weber, Lynes, and Young (2017), include the use by fashion companies of offshore manufacturing in
developed countries, which allows for the production of low-cost clothing in higher volumes. Due to
growing consumer demand, fast fashion brands have proved to be a critical component in clothing busi-
ness success worldwide in the past few years (Su & Chang, 2018). Brands such as Zara and Topshop
were instrumental at the turn of the century in changing the way of doing business within the fashion
industry as they went on an expansion drive, establishing new stores to make new styles and variety
quickly available to the customers (Caro & Martinez-de-Albeniz, 2014).
The fast-fashion phenomenon has made a significant impact on the fashion industry (Bhardwaj &
Fairhurst, 2010) and emerging markets - Zimbabwe in particular - have not been spared of its effects.
Linden (2016) opines that developing countries have low barriers to entry into the fashion market, there-
by providing a fertile manufacturing and production point for fast fashion. Consequently, these countries
are given preference in partnerships with garment companies from developed countries. Such partnerships
have, however, been more skewed towards developing Asian countries such as Bangladesh and China,
where labour is cheaper than that of developed European countries (Hartsia, 2017). Although Zimbabwe
grows its own cotton, fabric manufacturers have been facing numerous problems such as obsolete machi-
nery and have therefore had to import fabrics to manufacture fashion products. This presents a challenge
on the clothing manufacturer, supply side and influences the retailers and, in turn, the fast fashion
The Zimbabwean clothing retail environment is dominated by a small number of large multi-label
retailers who own several branches dotted about the country. These have their clothing merchandise sup-
plied by buyers whose brands are manufactured by large local clothing manufacturers. Although some of
these retail companies continue registering growth, they have been facing stiff competition from small
players, commonly referred to as fashion boutiques, which have adopted the fast-fashion model.
Consequently, other large retailers and local clothing manufacturers operating a traditional two-season
business have been forced out of the market and many verticalised players who have not yet adopted
fast-fashion model are suffering. Increased competition requires that local clothing companies re-orient
their strategies to enhance competitiveness against fast fashion companies. Owing to the dominant posi-
tion of multi-label retailers and their clothing manufacturers, their move to adopt competitive business
strategies will have far-reaching implications for the economy and the consumer market. Even though the
Zimbabwean clothing industry has been facing challenges in the face of the booming trade in sec-
ond-hand clothing (Chipambwa, Sithole, & Chisosa, 2016), retrenchments and obsolete machinery (A. B.
Nyoni, 2015), it should be highlighted that in the year 2016, there was a record revenue growth of $8.2
million as compared to $3,1 million in 2012 (M. Nyoni, 2017).
Given these challenges and current growth figures, these companies have the opportunity to contrib-
Competitive in
the Fast-Fashion
Era in a
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
ute to the country’s national fiscus if they re-strategise their business operations. Stephen (2012) reports
that the implementation of competitive business strategies has enabled fashion companies to enjoy incred-
ible success through hard economic times. Accordingly, Zimbabwean clothing companies can also benefit
by formulating business strategies that fully enhance competitiveness. Since the importation of fabric
from Asian countries to Zimbabwe, for example, takes nearly a month, it is critical that local clothing
manufacturers manage their lead times so that buyers get their orders in time. Given that other small re-
tail outlets import ready-made fashion products from these Asian countries, too, the greatest challenge lie
in the way that local clothing manufacturers and multi-label retail companies strategise their manufactur-
ing and production systems. The growing trend of fast fashion products in Zimbabwe’s clothing imports
market place extreme pressure on Zimbabwe’s clothing manufacturers and in turn on the large retail
stores. This research seeks to examine strategies that clothing manufacturers use to enhance their com-
petitive position in the era of fast fashion and to respond to threats from global fashion players. The
following is the research question that guided the study: What strategies are used by clothing manu-
facturers to enhance their competitive position in the era of fast fashion?
Literature Review
The concept of fast fashion
Hayes and Jones (2006) define fast fashion as the implementation of a range of strategies by fashion re-
tailers so as to ensure that they have the right product in the right place at the right time. As such, de-
signs move from fashion shows to stores as fast as possible to keep up with current market trends.
Thus, according to Zhenxiang and Lijie (2011), products are designed and produced quickly and cheaply
to allow the mainstream customers access to current clothing fashion at lower prices. Previously, fashion
shows were the biggest inspiration for the fashion industry and were primarily restricted to designers,
buyers and other fashion managers. Since 2000, fashion shows have become an open event, with photo-
graphs of the latest fashion seen in magazines and online shops, leading to changes in the clothing and
fashion production process. As a result, fashion-conscious consumers are exposed to special designs and
styles inspired by runways. Fast-fashion customers expect to have current fashion designs immediately
available in the latest trends and at low price with corresponding quality and service, including an attrac-
tive store design.
Strategies used in the fast-fashion business
According to Mehrjoo and Pasek (2016), most fashion companies adopted improved supply chain man-
agement systems so as to be more responsive to changes in fashion trends. Changes in supply chains
have been promoted through several measures, which include shortened product life cycles, rapidly
changing and unpredictable consumer demands and the impulsive buying behaviour of consumers (Barnes
& Lea-Greenwood, 2010). This means that the fashion consumers’ constant desire for new products and
Vol.18 No.2
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
variety shortens product life cycles. This desire is driven by the increased availability of content online
and in the print media. In a quest to respond quickly to changes in consumer buying behaviour, the
fashion industry has shifted from forecasting future trends to utilizing real-time data to understand cus-
tomer needs and desires (Stephen, 2012). To remain competitive in the fast-fashion business, companies
are faced with the challenge of cutting down on lead times to satisfy the consumer demand and main-
tain their market share. Barnes and Lea-Greenwood (2010) opine that competitiveness is vital if compa-
nies are to remain viable in the fashion business as focus has shifted from price to the ability to satisfy
consumer demand. Fast fashion companies therefore employ several designers, who bring a variety of
ideas to the design room and produce trends that contain a must-have effect on fashion consumers (Joy,
Sherry, Venkatesh, Wang, & Chan, 2012). All over the world, retailers are under increasing pressure to
get the season’s latest trends into stores to satisfy an increasingly impatient consumer base demanding
the ‘in thing’ now.
Managing the supply chain in fashion is important, as it has a direct impact on the ability of a
company to supply latest fashion trends to the market. As Cachon and Swinney (2011) aver, shorter lead
times in fast fashion are made possible by efficient information systems that facilitate the smooth com-
munication of inventory levels and trigger minimum order levels. The inventory is therefore replenished
in the shortest period. The volatile demand for fast fashion is met by maintaining closer relationships be-
tween suppliers and buyers. Trendy product designs are made possible by carefully monitoring consumer
and industry tastes for unexpected fads and reducing design lead times (Barnes & Lea-Greenwood, 2010).
This creates pressure for a quick response from fashion designers and manufacturers, who have to ensure
that new product ranges are ready to hit the fashion retailers. Whilst several studies have explored the
fast-fashion concept from the retailer’s perspective (Idacavage, 2016; Sull & Turconi, 2008), it is vital
that the manufacturer’s perspective be examined as well, with a bias towards developing countries.
This research was conducted out using a qualitative approach with a multiple case study design to un-
derstand how clothing manufacturers are responding to the fast-fashion phenomenon. The choice of re-
search design was influenced by the desire to bring to the fore participants’ voices as well as strategies
that could help Zimbabwe clothing manufacturers to remain competitive in the fast-fashion era. Purposive
sampling was used to select a total of fifteen participants from five local clothing manufacturers. The se-
lected companies were all original equipment manufacturers of ready-to-wear fashion products for buyers
of large retail stores around Zimbabwe. The two country’s major cities, Harare and Bulawayo, were
chosen, since that is where most clothing manufacturers are located. In-depth interviews were used to
gather data. Interviewees from each company included the operations manager, the senior production
manager and the product marketing manager. The data was collected and analysed using qualitative con-
tent analysis and the results were presented in narrative form.
Competitive in
the Fast-Fashion
Era in a
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
Hiring of temporary employees and keeping few permanent employees
The hiring of temporary employees emerged as a coping strategy used by local manufacturers to manage
the unstable demand for different fashion merchandise from buyers. One participant revealed that in this
dynamic situation, the company has resorted to employing temporary employees so that it keeps pace
with the quick orders as they come from buyers. In the same vein, another participant stated that at
times the company has no bulk orders and their buyers might bring in just very small orders needed
within a very short time. The best would be to hire enough temporary employees for the work at hand.
Participants also indicated that whenever they hired temporary employees, those without any knowledge
of the clothing manufacturing process would be given easy tasks like ironing and packing of products,
whilst those with prior experience would be given tasks like straight seams and hemming. They also
mentioned that there are those employees whom they hire nearly every year when they needed extra
workforce, and these [employees] are given tasks that require experienced hands. By recruiting or hiring
temporary employees, local manufacturing companies can manage to keep in line with their quality con-
trol systems as there are fewer defects. This is done to complete and deliver products in time to avoid
losing the client’s order. This finding is illustrated in research by Perera and Ratnayake (2016), who
have observed that apparel manufacturers in Sri Lanka shifted from using permanent to temporary em-
ployees in keeping with fluctuations in demand within the fast fashion strategy. The unpredictable de-
mand means that employees are not granted indefinite or permanent contracts (Tager, 2016), which
leaves them in a precarious position, with devastating consequences on their families. The global shift in
structure of the fashion industry therefore affects the stability and security of employees, as globalization
has triggered a reorganisation of production. As Oleksandr (2011) opines, this reorganisation of industrial
production is mostly stimulated by large economic organisations such as the World Bank, the
International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation to support international trade by promot-
ing foreign investment to countries so that they benefit from open trade. However, these policies often
have negative consequences, especially on employment within the clothing manufacturing industry.
Promotion of the Buy-Zimbabwe campaign
Promoting the Buy-Zimbabwe campaign was raised by several participants as a strategy to differentiate
locally-produced clothing products from fast fashion products imported by small fashion enterprises. Some
participants felt that the Buy-Zimbabwean campaign itself is a good response that is encouraging manu-
facturers to produce unique local fashion products for big retail markets. However, others felt that the
problem lies in how the Buy-Zimbabwe campaign is communicated to the consumers, for not much prof-
it was being obtained as small fashion players still look abroad for cheaper products. Participants also
indicated that several clothing companies were producing clothing made of organic cotton, thus marketing
Zimbabwe as an ethical source of fashion goods in order to capture a share of the fair-trade market es-
Vol.18 No.2
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
pecially the clothing manufacturing market. It was also noted that the buy Zimbabwe campaign must use
the bottom-up approach, where farmers are incentivised to thereby feeding more raw material into gin-
neries and spinning mills. This improves the country’s value chain, as jobs are created and other down-
stream industries also benefit. Other participants felt that although some manufacturing companies were
using organically-grown cotton for their products, it was produced in limited quantities that were not
enough to meet the demand of all the local fashion companies, accounting for limited stocks of cotton
fashion products.
The idea of local clothing manufacturing focussing on producing fashion products made of organic
cotton supports the assertion by Khosro, Poldner, and Koehler (2016) on clothing manufacturing which
benefits people and communities while reducing impact on the environment. This is also in keeping with
Henninger and Oates’ (2016) view of ethical fashion production, which emphasises the use of organic
and environmentally-friendly materials, as well as certification and traceability. This seems to be contrary
to the fast-fashion phenomenon, Pal (2016) has described as the driving force behind mass production
and consumption. This has often led to fast fashion being perceived as unsustainable, as it gives rise to
very unethical practices that are harmful to the environment. Whilst this finding might suggest a ten-
dency by clothing manufacturers to adopt sustainable practices, Steven (2016) has noted that many com-
panies that claim to use ethical productions practices are often green washing. However, this finding is
in keeping with the assertion by Kokshal, Strahle, Muller, and Freise (2017) that companies may be able
to use fast fashion’s poor reputation to their advantage to encourage sustainable practices to create con-
sumer value on corporate responsibility. This could change the way companies operate and consumer
views on clothing. Placing an emphasis on unique ethical practices in fashion production could give local
clothing manufacturers a competitive advantage and improve their image.
Garment industry subcontracting
Due to the lack of advanced technological machinery in the Zimbabwean manufacturing industry, some
of the participants pointed out that local clothing manufacturers had engaged subcontractors whom they
worked with on manufacturing different parts of clothing products. By way of example, one operations
manager stated that the company has subcontracted the manufacturing of men’s wear for one of the local
buyers to a company in Lesotho. On the same point, another production manager indicated that the com-
pany sent partially completed items to another company in a developed country, who would add the next
operation more efficiently. In both cases, they depend on the International Standards Organisation (ISO)
quality certification as the benchmark for them to subcontract to companies outside the country.
For companies subcontracted within the country, interviewees indicated that a due diligence process
is conducted on the company’s production capacity and quality control process before it is contracted to
carryout various tasks. This helps to reduce high lead times. Subcontracting production and manufacturing
processes is reported to be a very typical cost reduction measure, which keeps the price of the product
low (Nur, 2016). According to a report by H&M Group, most of its production processes were out-
Competitive in
the Fast-Fashion
Era in a
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
sourced from developing countries where manufacturing and labour is cheaper, and this has been a con-
tributing factor to its success as a one of the giant fast-fashion company (H&M Group, 2016). Due to
globalisation, companies from developed countries can benefit from lower production costs in developing
countries, which will, in their turn, gain new job opportunities (Christopher, Lowson, & Peck, 2004).
This implies that subcontracting could address the challenges faced by the local clothing manufacturing
industry, in terms of limited technological machinery to perform specialised processes on fashion
Development of in-house brands
Participants indicated that most clothing manufacturing produced finished clothing products as per buyers’
specifications. Some participants mentioned that the clothing manufacturers were moving from subcon-
tracting manufacturing to developing and manufacturing their own brands. It was felt that this move to
brand manufacturing could give companies a competitive advantage. Participants were of the view that
original brands would ensure exclusivity and high quality and would sell themselves even before custom-
ers have seen the full product. Other participants felt that there is need for local clothing companies to
have creative designers who strive for innovation, differentiation and appeal other than imitating other
fashion brands. The view was that companies should place more emphasis on research and development
of unique, good quality fashion brands. This finding supports the assertion by Merhrjoo and Pasek (2016)
that strong and unique fast fashion brands differentiate companies from cheap fast fashion through the
positioning of the product range and brand image. This means that branded products are loaded with
meaning, stand the test of time and increase in value with the passage of time. This resonates well with
the view of Meyer (2015) that brand innovation helps to build a strong competitive advantage. This find-
ing accords with Porter’s generic strategies framework, which emphasises differentiation through the in-
novation of brand images or design features as one of the strategies that allow companies to stay com-
petitive and perform better than their competitors (Xue, 2016). Brand innovation is one of the elements
that contributes to a company’s future success and helps to discern and meet customers’ desires and
needs. If local clothing manufacturers strive to move to original brand manufacturing, however, they
should focus on enhancing the fashion innovation process rather than threaten it by copying or merely
extending other brands. This requires they have a strong capital for research on and the development of
the brands. Moreover, without a good industrial policy in the form of targeted allocation of research and
development grants or preferential taxations, local clothing manufacturing will not succeed in moving to
brand manufacturing.
Investing in manufacturing technologies
The responses of study participants revealed that most local clothing manufacturers had implemented the
2-dimensional technologies for pattern making, but sample making was still done manually. These proc-
esses make it difficult for most companies to beat the lead times required by the buyers. Participants al-
Vol.18 No.2
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
so indicated that clothing manufacturers were moving towards the 3-dimensional technologies that could
facilitate production of samples without wasting materials and time. The fewer the expenses accrued in
the manufacturing process, the fewer the costs that are then passed on to the retail consumer, who
would sell the product at an affordable price. The notion of investing in new technologies is in line
with the assertion by Xue (2016) that technology helps companies to manufacture differentiated products,
providing more conveniences than competitors. As Dzikite, Muza, and Dandira (2015) opine, by using
3-dimensional technologies, manufacturers and buyers could directly collaborate and enjoy the benefit of
the system by obtaining information and services, customising products, reducing impediments or even
transaction time. Investment in technologies can also influence buying decisions by differentiating prod-
ucts by quality, content or value. Bhardwaj and Fairhurst (2010) opine that investment in modern tech-
nology reduces lead time so that companies can be more responsive and sensitive to market demands.
However, there is need to envision how technology could be used to support the company’s competitive
strategy. If the local clothing manufacturer intends to connect with fabric producers and buyers to get
raw material for production and finished products respectively, but technological applications are not well
implemented to fit the manufacturing of the company, the company may fail to differentiate its product
and services. This implies that investment of technologies for manufacturing purposes must be well de-
fined to support the strategy of the company.
Strengthened supply chain integration between sectors of the clothing, textiles and fashion
It was evident from the data that for companies to stay competitive, linkages between the clothing and
textile sectors and the fashion industry is very important. Study participants stated that linkages between
fabric producers, clothing manufacturers and buyers have been strengthened, and this has speeded up raw
material supply. This implies that collaboration between all sectors of the clothing industry could reduce
transportation costs and encourage closer relationships between producers and clothing manufacturers.
This, in its turn, could reduce high lead times. The notion of strengthening supply chain integration be-
tween sectors of the clothing industry accords with the view of Caro and Martine-a-Albeniz (2014) on
adopting more flexible supply chain practices such as quick response, just-in-time and agile supply
chains. This seems to be well aligned with Bhardwaj and Fairhurst’s (2010) view that an integrated sup-
ply chain is directly related to successful vertical integration within the company and helps to reduce
lead times. However, Zhenxiang and Lijie (2011) argue that the most effective way to strengthen supply
chain integration is to ensure that all aspects from development of design, fabric transportation to vari-
ous assembly lines and to final order fulfilment are controlled during the process. This is well sup-
ported by the findings of Lee, Karpova, and Perry (2017) which reveals that knowledge of supply chain
management had characteristic of increasing returns to scale that increased efficiency of a production
Although strategies drawn from the findings assisted local clothing manufacturers, it should be not-
Competitive in
the Fast-Fashion
Era in a
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
ed that the prevailing legal and political framework has a major impact on the competitiveness of
ready-to-wear clothing manufacturers in developing markets in the era of fast fashion. The taxes levied
on imports, be they raw materials or finished products, also affect the pricing structure of the final
product. Clothing manufacturers and their buyers must make their own arguments heard by the govern-
ment of the day, as fashion products, like various raw materials, should be supplied at a low price so
that the final product becomes cheaper. The Zimbabwean economy itself has a direct effect on the con-
cept of fast fashion and the local clothing manufacturers should adapt to ever-changing macro environ-
mental factors.
Based on the findings of the study, it can be concluded that moving to own brand manufacturing could
make local clothing manufacturers strongly competitive in the fast-fashion era. Innovation and creativity
within the local clothing and fashion industry must be informed by local consumer tastes and expect-
ations of fashion. Fashion designers and buyers, with the assistance of clothing manufacturers and fashion
retail stores, need to conduct local and global research on the current market trends in fashion. They al-
so need to plan how best the findings can be used to enable local brands to compete strongly with im-
ported fast fashion brands. Market segmentation can be done by creating niche fashion brands targeting
high income earners with a taste for high-end fashion products. These brands are influenced by fast fash-
ion effects, since they specifically target a few select consumers. The Buy Zimbabwe campaign on its
own is a good initiative, but the problem lies in the way in which it is marketed or communicated to
the consumers. As a country that produces some of the finest cotton lint in the world, the Zimbabwean
clothing and textile industry could leverage on this to create strong brands synonymous with the good
quality cotton. As technology is changing, the fashion needs of different age groups have been constantly
changing, since the consumer has more choice and pays less. This places a demand on the information
technology infrastructure that companies have, as they research and communicate with freelance fashion
designers and buyers, raw material suppliers and fashion stores quickly. In the same vein, clothing com-
panies should invest in technologies that improve quality and product performance such as 3D for fash-
ion and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), which enables them to speed up the production of quality
and fashionable clothing items. The whole supply chain needs to be integrated, from fibre to final fash-
ion product. This will allow for competitive pricing systems, which should, in turn, benefit the whole
supply chain. The fast-fashion era may be viewed as a problem, but those clothing manufacturers seeking
practical solutions that embrace and understand it should enjoy more growth opportunities.
Barnes, L., & Lea-Greenwood, G. (2010). Fast fashion in the retail store environment. International
Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 38(10), 760-772.
Vol.18 No.2
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
Bhardwaj, V., & Fairhurst, A. (2010). Fast fashion: Response to changes in the fashion industry. The
International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 20(1), 165-173.
Cachon, G., & Swinney, R. (2009). Purchasing, pricing, and quick response in the presence of strategic
consumers. Management Science, 55(3), 497-511.
Cachon, G., & Swinney, R. (2011). The value of fast fashion: Quick response, enhanced design, and
strategic consumer behaviour. Management Science, 57(4), 778-795.
Caro, F., & Martınez-de-Albeniz, V. (2014). Fast fashion: Business model overview and research
opportunities. In N. Agrawal & S. A. Smith (Eds.), Retail supply chain management: Quantitative
models and empirical studies (2nd ed., pp. 1-30). New York, NY: Springer.
Chipambwa, W., Sithole, L., & Chisosa, D. F. (2016). Consumer perceptions towards second-hand under-
garments in Zimbabwe: A case of Harare urban dwellers. International Journal of Fashion
Design, Technology and Education, 9(3), 176-182.
Christopher, M., Lowson, R., & Peck, H. (2004). Creating agile supply chains in the fashion industry.
International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 32(8), 367-76.
Dzikite, C., Muza, D., & Dandira, T. (2015). Exploring the implementation of 3-dimensional technologies
in clothing manufacturing industries in Zimbabwe. International Journal of Innovation Research
and Development, 4(8), 331-338.
Euromonitor International. (2013). Global apparel and textiles trade. Retrieved from https://www.euromoni
Global powers: The art and science of customers. (2017). Deloitte. Retrieved from
H&M Group. (2016). The H&M group sustainability report 2016. Retrieved from
Hartsia, A. (2017). Future of sustainability in fast fashion (Unpublished bachelor’s thesis). Helsinki
Metropolitan University, Helsinki, Finland.
Hayes, S. G., & Jones, N. (2006). Fast fashion: A financial snapshot. Journal of Fashion Marketing and
Management, 10(3), 282-300.
Henninger, P. J., & Oates, A. C. (2016). What is sustainable fashion? Journal of Fashion Marketing and
Management: An International Journal, 20(4), 400-416.
Idacavage, S. (2016). Fashion history lesson: The origins of fast fashion. Fashionista. Retrieved from
Joy, A., Sherry, J. F., Jr., Venkatesh, A., Wang, J., & Chan, R. (2012). Fast fashion, sustainability, and
the ethical appeal of luxury brands. Fashion Theory, 16(3), 273-295.
Khosro, S. J., Poldner, K., & Koehler, K. (2016). Ethical fashion: An exploratory research. In M.
Aluchna & S. O. Idowu (Eds.), Dynamics of corporate social responsibility: Ethics & gover-
nance (pp. 221-236). Berne: Springer International Publishers.
Kokshal, D., Strahle, J., Muller, M., & Freise, M. (2017). Social sustainable supply chain management in
Competitive in
the Fast-Fashion
Era in a
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
the textile and apparel industry: A literature review. Sustainability, 9(100), 2-32.
Lee, J., Karpova, E., & Perry, A. L. (2017). Exploration of knowledge and competitiveness in the fash-
ion industry agglomeration. International Journal of Costume and Fashion, 17(2), 47-61.
Linden, A. R. (2016). An analysis of the fast fashion industry. Bard Senior Projects Fall 2016.
Retrieved from
Mehrjoo, M., & Pasek, Z. J. (2016). Risk assessment for the supply chain of fast fashion apparel in-
dustry: A system dynamics framework. International Journal of Production Research, 54(1),
Meyer, P. (2015). Apple’s generic strategy and intensive growth strategies. Panmore Institute. Retrieved
Nur, M. S. (2016). A study on advantages of sourcing apparel from Bangladesh (Unpublished master’s
thesis). Louisiana State University, Louisiana, United States of America.
Nyoni, A. B. (2015, May). Review of the cotton-to-clothing industry in Zimbabwe: What role can China p
lay? Paper presented at the Sino-Africa international Symposium on Textiles and Apparel, Shang
hai, China. Retrieved from
Nyoni, M. (2017). Clothing industry experiences 165% growth. Newsday. Retrieved from
Oleksandr, C. (2011). Influence of the Bretton Woods Institutions on economic growth: Literature survey
for transitional economic systems. Economics and Sociology, 4(20), 32-41.
Pal, R. (2016). Sustainable value generation through post-retail initiatives: An exploratory study of slow
and fast-fashion business. In S. S. Muthu & M. A. Gardetti (Eds.), Green fashion (pp. 127-158).
Singapore: Springer International Publishers.
Perera, K. G. U., & Ratnayake, R. M. V. S. (2016). Impact of fast fashion trend on Sri Lankan
ready-made apparel export industry. International Journal of Advancement in Engineering
Technology, Management and Applied Science (IJAETMAS), 3(12), 30-46.
Stephen, D. (2012). Radical management in the garment supply chain. Sourcing Journal. Retrieved from
Steven, C. (2016). Changing environmental values and a changing world. Huffington Post. Retrieved from
Su, J., & Chang, A. (2018). Factors affecting college students’ brand loyalty toward fast fashion: A con-
sumer-based brand equity approach. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management,
46(1), 90-107.
Sull, D., & Turconi, S. (2008). Fast fashion lessons. Business Strategy Review. London: London Business
Tager, S. (2016). Women in the global clothing and textile industry (Unpublished master’s thesis). Duke
University, Durham, North Carolina.
Weber, S., Lynes, J., & Young, S. V. (2017). Fashion interest as a driver for consumer textile waste
Vol.18 No.2
International Journal of Costume and Fashion
Vol. 10 No. 2, December 2010, pp. 1-
management; reuse, recycle or disposal. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 41(2),
Xue, C. T. S. (2016). An examination of the strategic use of IT applications in achieving competitive
advantages. International Journal of Advance Research in Computer Science and Management
Studies, 4(7), 16-25.
Zhenxiang, W., & Lijie, Z. (2011). E-business, e-management and e-learning. International Journal of
e-Education, 1(3), 195-200.
... For many years, the industry has been operating on a programmed basis, with the apprenticeship of teachers and the accumulation of experience [15]. In the face of increasingly fierce competition in the domestic and international clothing market and the rapidly changing psychology of clothing consumers, traditional design concepts and management methods have failed to meet the needs of modern industrial production [16]. erefore, with the rapid development of computers today, the organic combination of intelligent technology and garment pattern design system can greatly promote the development of China's garment industry. ...
Full-text available
With the intensification of global market competition and the continuous development of the information technology, competition in the apparel market has become increasingly fierce. The key to whether China’s garment industry can maintain its advantage in the international market competition in the future lies in whether it can promote and realize the informatization of the garment industry or not. After all, under the context of increasingly developed information technologies and growing competition in the garment market, mass customization of garments has become a future trend in the garment industry. As custom-made clothing is more in line with consumers’ individual needs in terms of style, fabric, and size, the focus of development for clothing companies is increasingly on the grasp of the fit of clothing. However, with China’s large population and the wide variety of body types, traditional hand-made garments are time-consuming and cannot meet the differentiated needs of consumers in the modern market. The design of garment samples is an important part of the industrial production of garments and is highly dependent on the skills and experience of the operators. In other words, the level of technical expertise can determine the quality and shape of a garment product to a certain extent. As a result, in order to further improve the efficiency and quality of garment sample design and to reduce the dependence on operator skills and experience, this study proposes an intelligent garment paper sample design system based on BP neural networks. The system mainly utilizes the self-learning, self-organizing, and adaptive as well as nonlinear mapping functions of artificial neural networks to design clothing samples autonomously, thus improving the design efficiency. In the era of rapid development of information technology and artificial intelligence technology, the development of intelligent garment pattern design systems with independent intellectual property rights is of great significance in promoting the prosperity of the garment industry.
... The diamond model is also actively used to analyze the competitiveness of the fashion industry (Chipo, Walter & Rufaro, 2018;Lee, Karpova & Perry, 2017). Previous studies analyzed the competitiveness of the textile and apparel industry (Kim, Kwak, Cho, & Lee 2006;Son, Kim, & Ji, 2007) and the competitiveness of the leather industry (Shafaei, Shahriari, & Moradi, 2009). ...
... Which is quite similar to some of the research within this specific topic (Bhavani and Tendulkar 2001;Ferdousi and Ahmed 2009;Li and Cai 2008). The study also found a close interrelationship between green business approaches and sustainable developments, as stated by Batu and Kusumawardhani (2018), Tran et al. (2018), andChipo et al. (2018). Moreover, the study presents a structural framework for adopting green business strategy within the context of Bangladeshi RMG sectors. ...
Full-text available
Green business initiatives have become a prime driving force towards sustainable development across the world. The economy of Bangladesh is now on a pick as she has been moving towards nearly hitting the target for becoming a middle-income economy by 2021, and for attaining so, the development of industrial sectors is unavoidable. The booming industrial sectors have been resulting in a massive depletion of natural resources, greenhouse gas erosion, and toxic waste disposal, which further can cause uncontrolled degradation of air, soil, and water. In this highly competitive world, like most other businesses, ready-made garment (RMG) firms are facing tremendous pressure for being more competitive and availing a decisive position towards the reduction of pollution and impacts of ecological footprint. This nation brings a new paradigm of doing business called green business (GB). Principles of green business compact with emerging approaches for producing, marketing, and disposing of the products, which maintain environmental safety and business competitiveness. Green-oriented business strategy can act as a crucial tactic for gaining a competitive advantage over the potential competitors and assess them with a better way to uphold their stand towards attaining sustainable development. Since the modern purchaser is continuously being attracted to green-oriented RMG industries, they want to attain their responsibility to Mother Nature. Especially for the RMG sectors of Bangladesh, environmental concern is highly crucial since it is the most significant economic sectors of this country. The prime objective of this study is to provide an overview of green business strategy associated with the RMG sectors of Bangladesh, which further assist the sectors with competitive advantages. In order to fulfill the prime objectives of the paper, the authors conferred various books, journals, and research papers related to green business and competitiveness within the context of Bangladeshi RMG sectors. Furthermore, the study arranged some casual discussions with industry professionals in corporate social responsibility (CSR), environmental protectionist, sustainable development executives, and ecology-friendly performance officer to provide substantial assistance for focusing on the precise direction of foundation evaluation and synthesis. In contextualization of the intensification of green business strategy and environmental degradation, we proposed a framework to quantify the green business strategy with the view of gain competitive advantages across the RMG sectors in Bangladesh.
... Based on the above-mentioned evidence, it is problematic for Fashion Design education to ignore the environmental component that contributed to the situation of today. The need for sustainable fashion practice is essential in Zimbabwe, so we can ensure that sustainable fashion designs become a standard paradigm (Chuma, Chipambwa, & Komichi, 2018). Clothing and fashion designers can affect this change by controlling how clothing fashion are designed, distributed and disposed, so that it may in turn influence the consumer, as well as inspire economic and social change. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Zimbabwe used to boast of a full functional Cotton-to-Clothing value chain, contributing to 5% GDP and employing over 35 000 peo¬ple. This chain has regrettably been broken in the last dec¬ade, primarily due to the financial collapse of 2008 and the autonomous economic liberalisation measures that were taken under the Economic Structural Adjustment Programmes ( ESAP ). The painful autonomous adjust¬ment measures under ESAP were exacerbated by the overarching but binding global trading commitments un¬der the multilateral trading system ( WTO ) as well as re¬gional and bilateral ones, which ultimately led to sector’s contribution to GDP shrinking from 5% to just below 2 % and employment plummeting to 6,800 currently.[1] Clothing imports into Zimbabwe has grown steadily since the trade liberalisation measures were introduced in 1991. Asia has grown in importance as the source of imported yarns, fabrics and clothing. In addition, there is growing concern in the clothing sector of the continuous growth in the second-hand clothing market and illegal imports from within the SADC region. All these factors have crippled the textile and clothing industry in Zimbabwe leading to the reduction in the market share of locally manufactured products, factory closures and retrenchments. This paper reviews the impact of these adverse effects on the cotton-to-clothing value chain and suggests strategies to be adopted to repositioning Zimbabwe as a global competitor. Key words: Zimbabwe, imported, clothing and textiles, global competitor.
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to investigate perceptions towards second-hand undergarment clothing products and their trade in Zimbabwe. Data were collected from the interviews done with 30 subjects in the age range from 18 to 40, living in Harare. Results showed that affordability, quality and design variety are the factors that affect second-hand undergarment trade. It was also found that women are the major consumers of these second-hand undergarments. The young aged stated that they purchase these second-hand undergarments as they find them as more fashionable items. According to this study there are perceived health risks associated with these second-hand undergarments though the respondents could not directly link them to certain diseases or ailments. Another finding was the lack of innovation and versatility by clothing manufactures in their product design process resulting in old-fashioned designs on the undergarments.
Full-text available
The phrase “fast fashion” refers to low-cost clothing collections that mimic current luxury fashion trends. Fast fashion helps sate deeply held desires among young consumers in the industrialized world for luxury fashion, even as it embodies unsustainability. Trends run their course with lightning speed, with today’s latest styles swiftly trumping yesterday’s, which have already been consigned to the trash bin. This article addresses the inherent dissonance among fast fashion consumers, who often share a concern for environmental issues even as they indulge in consumer patterns antithetical to ecological best practices. Seemingly adept at compartmentalism, and free of conflicted guilt, such consumers see no contradiction in their Janus-faced desires. Can luxury fashion, with ostensibly an emphasis on authenticity, and its concomitant respect for artisans and the environment, foster values of both quality and sustainability? Since individual identity continually evolves, and requires a materially referential re-imagining of self to do so, we hypothesize that actual rather than faux luxury brands can, ironically, unite the ideals of fashion with those of environmental sustainability.
Full-text available
With the rapid progress of science and technology and continuously growing customer expectations, share of merchandise exhibiting characteristics of perishability is on the rise and a wide range of industries are affected by this phenomenon. This paper focuses on the fast fashion apparel industry due to its particular characteristics such as short life cycle products, volatile demand, low predictability, high level of impulse purchase, high level of price competition and global sourcing. A system dynamics model is proposed for analysing the behaviour and relationships of the fast fashion apparel industry with three supply chain levels. The Conditional Value at Risk measure is applied to quantify the risks associated with the supply chain of these products and also to determine the expected value of the losses and their corresponding probabilities. Multiple business situations for effective strategic planning and decision-making are generated. In particular, the impact of lead time and delivery delays on the supply chain performance (inventory, cost, backlog and risk) is analysed as the key to success for this industry is to satisfy customers’ needs in the shortest time.
Full-text available
The countries with the economies in transition to market system are usually treated the same as the other countries with different institutional systems. The same case is with the Bretton Woods Institutions that, while offering their financial assistance, impose advices commonly considered as identical to the approaches they use to other countries. This idea led to the discussion whether International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization really have positive effect on the economic growth of the countries in transition. This paper offers detailed literature survey on the discussion and suggests the methodological framework for the actual estimation of the Bretton Woods Institutions' influence on the economic growth of the transitional countries.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to empirically investigate the factors affecting consumer’s fast fashion brand loyalty by examining US college students’ perceptions and loyalty toward fast fashion. Design/methodology/approach Using consumer-based brand equity approach, a research model which examines the factors affecting consumer’s brand loyalty in the fast fashion context was proposed. It was hypothesized that consumer’s perceptions of fast fashion, including brand awareness, perceived quality, perceived value, brand personality, organizational associations, and brand uniqueness, affect consumer brand loyalty. Based on the valid data from 419 US college students, this study employed structural equation modeling to investigate the factors affecting US college students’ brand loyalty toward fast fashion. Findings Results reveal that for the US college students, brand awareness, perceived value, organizational associations, and brand uniqueness are the contributing factors to generating consumer’s loyalty toward fast fashion brands. Originality/value Due to the fact that fast fashion has become a key feature of the global fashion industry over the last decade, there is phenomenal growth in the availability of fast fashion brands in the US markets. This study provides valuable insights about young consumers’ perceptions of fast fashion brands and the factors’ contributions to their brand loyalty.
This paper represents an attempt to examine and evaluate ethical fashion. It will use a combination of primary as well as secondary sources of information to provide some plausible answers to the questions surrounding the field of ethical fashion. The Ethical Fashion Forum (EEF) suggests that ethical fashion represents an approach to the design, sourcing and manufacture of clothing which maximises benefits to people and communities while minimising impact on the environment. However, in practice these definitions do not always apply to every garment made under the ‘ethical’ label. Therefore, the EEF believes that the application and integration of the triple bottom line concept at the core of the business practices and policy throughout the organisation would be crucial (www. EEF. com). Summary statement of contribution: Ethical fashion appears to be gaining prominence and popularity and as such this paper endeavours to augment previous research and investigations into the theme with what might be viewed as further insight albeit limited in investigative impact.
The dialogue between slow and fast fashion has gained great prominence in recent years particularly in terms of sustainability. In the forward value chain, fast fashion companies are most often considered to be unsustainable whereas the slow fashion brands are comparatively more planet-friendly. However, the discussion on the trade-off between sustainability and “speed of fashion” (classified into slow and fast fashions) in the post-retail segment is still limited. A deeper understanding, however, would not only contribute towards conceptualizing the post-retail initiatives, but would also shed light on how these are differentially undertaken by various types of fashion businesses in terms of generating sustainable value. This study proposes sustainable value generation in terms of closing the material and responsibility loops. It further reveals that the trade-off in post-retail is not as rigid as it is in the forward value chain. However, fast fashion offers the lowest potential to displace the purchase of new clothes to close the material loop whereas the redesign brands offer the highest; moreover fast fashion is less liable to take extended responsibilities compared to the slow fashion brands. It can be concluded that fast fashion is somewhat “stuck in the middle” in comparison to the slow and redesign brands in terms of generating value through closing the loop activities.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to establish an objective measure for the success of fast fashion to deliver measurable financial improvement. Design/methodology/approach – A statistical analysis of published financial data has been used to determine if any statistically significant difference exists between the financial performance of retailers split into two groups; fast fashion and non-fast fashion Findings – The research shows that no statistically significant difference exists between the financial measures of the two groups. However, some objectivity is given to the claim that reduced inventory contributes to the financial health of a fast fashion retailer. Research limitations/implications – The study was limited to published financial data; for some retailers this was not available at all, for others, it was not available for each, and similar, years. Originality/value – To the authors knowledge, this is the first paper to look objectively at the financial benefits associated with retailing to a fast fashion model.