Fast fashion brands, including Zara and H&M, are spreading rapidly throughout China by offering cheap, stylish clothes with an international cachet to China’s young as well as its growing middle class consumers.
“Fast fashion” refers to the speed with which the clothing lines move from the catwalk to the store shelves. According to Want China Times, Zara’s supply chain cycle takes 10-15 days, whereas H&M’s takes 20 days. However, this fast turnaround to produce stylish clothes without breaking the bank can compromise quality. In recent years, quality control has become an issue for some of these brands.
In 2013, the China Consumers’ Association conducted its Comparison Test of Apparel & Fashion. International brands tested included Zara, M&S, Guess, and Paul Frank. More than one-third of the tested products didn’t meet national Chinese quality standards, reported ECNS. The clothes were tested for formaldehyde and aromatic amine fuel content, PH levels, odd smells, pilling and tear resistance, color fastness, and component makeup. According to People’s Daily, H&M has had similar quality problems.
However, international fast fashion brands, such as Zara, have no significant domestic competitors, and with demand strong, quality issues have not hurt sales.
The four biggest fast-fashion retailers in China, Zara, H&M, Uniqlo, and C&A, have 523 total stores in China as of June 2013.
image source: simon q