Fast fashion finds a foothold in Asia

Fast fashion--the inexpensive trendy clothing manufactured and sold by chains like Zara and H&M--has caught on in Asia and is beginning to overshadow luxury brands.

Fast fashion--the inexpensive trendy clothing manufactured and sold by chains like Zara and H&M--has caught on in Asia.

Midrange fashion retailers are expanding at a faster rate in Asia than luxury brands, according to a report by real-estate services firm CBRE, reported the Wall Street Journal.

Demand in Asia for cheap chic clothing reflects a broader global trend. It's also reflective of economic changes in China, where half of all 32 million square meters of shopping center space currently under construction globally is underway.

As the middle class has grown in China, so has demand for brands and stores in line with its budget. Young shoppers have more disposable income than previous generations and they're willing to spend it on cheap chic items in an effort to keep up with fashion trends.

As WSJ notes, companies like Gap and Adidas are responding to Asia's shift away from luxury brands and logos and toward trendy clothing. Gap plans to add 35 new Gap-branded stores to their existing 47 in China, while Adidas is stocking many of its China outlets with its lower-end NEO brand, according to the WSJ.

Meanwhile, some luxury brands owners, many of which were the first to enter the Asian market, have slowed the pace of new stores openings.

Why the switch towards fast fashion? It might be the increasing cost for luxury goods in China. Luxury brands may be charging as much as 50 percent more for their products in China than in other parts of the world. That has prompted Chinese, who have become increasingly savvy about price differentials in products, to travel abroad to purchase luxury items.

Photo: H&M/Peter Chen

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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