Fast Fashioning the Supply Chain: shaping the research agenda

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1 Fast Fashioning the Supply Chain: shaping the research agenda Dr Liz Barnes & Gaynor Lea-Greenwood Department of Clothing Design & Technology Faculty of Food, Clothing & Hospitality Management Hollings Campus Old Hall Lane Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester, UK M14 6HR t. +44 (0) e. 1

2 Abstract Purpose The phenomenon of fast fashion is under researched academically yet has received attention in most of the fashion and business press. Therefore it would seem timely to present the findings of some exploratory research. Methodology The concept of agile supply chains or supply chain theory is explored with reference to fast fashion requirements. The research was carried out using in-depth interviews of key informants in the fashion industry. Findings The major findings of this exploratory research demonstrate a developmental process occurring in supply chain management when fast fashion comes into the equation. This research provides additional complexity on the existing model of supply chain management for the fashion industry. Implications This paper presents a research agenda for future exploration. There are implications for theoretical perspectives of supply chain management as well as retail operations. Originality This paper offers insights into the impact of fast fashion on the supply chain and the links in the process which deserve further research attention. Key Words: fast fashion, supply chain management, buying, design, logistics 2

3 Category: Research Paper Introduction Fast fashion is a business strategy which aims to reduce the processes involved in the buying cycle and lead times for getting new fashion product into stores, in order to satisfy consumer demand at its peak. The Fast Fashion concept has become a mainstay of the UK fashion industry, yet to date the phenomenon has received little attention from the academic literature. Fast fashion has been explored within the context of supply chain management (Ko & Kincade, 1997; Fiorito et al, 1995, 1998; Sohal et al, 1998; Perry & Sohal, 2000; Guercini, 2001; Azuma, 2002; Mattila et al, 2002; Birtwistle et al, 2003; Lee & Kincade, 2003), although the actual impact on, and implications for the supply chain, have largely been under researched and is ill defined in relation to the concept itself. This paper aims to provide a review of the literature relating to fast fashion in an effort to define the concept within the context of the supply chain, as well as using an exploratory study aimed at shaping the research agenda in the area of fast fashion. UK Fashion Retailing Fast fashion has widely been acknowledged in fashion press and within the industry as being a key strategy for success for modern fashion retailers. Retailers like Zara, H&M and New Look have become well known for adopting a strategy of constantly renewing their product ranges with fashion-led styles which attract media attention and entice their (mostly) young female customers into the stores frequently. It is argued that fast fashion accounts for 12% of the UK apparel market (Bain & Company, cited in Birchall, 2005). 3

4 This study is based on the UK market, since it is acknowledged as a market which demands a high fashion element at mass market level, although there is no reason why this study cannot be extrapolated to other fashion focused markets. Fashion retailing in the UK has historically been characterised by high levels of concentration and domination by large multiple retailers resulting in a highly competitive market (Hines & Bruce, 2001), with inflexible and uncooperative supply chains (Jones, 2002). Difficulties in the apparel supply chain are often compounded by distance, both physical and psychic (Usunier, 2000). The 1990s witnessed downwards pressure on price for UK fashion retailers, as the value players such as New Look, Matalan and the grocery retailers, notably George at Asda, emerged as strong contenders in the fashion market. To maintain competitive advantage, UK retailers focused on price, by sourcing increasingly from low cost countries in the Far East (Jackson & Shaw, 2001; Bruce et al, 2004). This resulted in extensive and complex apparel supply chains, and consequentially, to long lead times for fashion product due to the large geographical distance between sourcing and selling markets, not to mention operational differences between members of the supply chain and import-export procedures (Christopher et al, 2004). Fashion businesses perceived the cost benefits achieved through off shore sourcing were advantageous, despite being off-set by a reduction in speed to market and some quality barriers (Fernie & Azuma, 2004). Consumer Demand 4

5 Changes in consumer lifestyle and consequent demands for newness have exerted pressure on the established supply chain format. As we have moved into the 21 st century, retailers like Zara and H&M into the UK retail market, have shifted the focus of competitive advantage from price towards fast response to changing fashion trends and consumer demand. The contemporary fashion industry remains highly competitive, with additional pressure for fashion companies to compete not only on price, but also their ability to deliver newness and refresh product (Christopher et al, 2004). Frings (2002) notes that the fashion industry relies on the constant changing of product, correlating with consumer change their change of lifestyle and need for difference. Socio-cultural changes are creating a faster pace of living and as Sproles & Burns (1994) advocate, mass society is orientated toward continuous change and progress. Consumer needs are then changing at a much more frequent pace and the women of today are revising their wardrobes more often, than in previous years. (Mintel, 2003), even within a single season. Mass communication allows the consumer access to increased information surrounding the latest trends or styles. The obsession with celebrity has increased as the number of weekly glossies e.g. Grazia has, fuelling consumer demand for the latest look or product at a faster pace. Alexander (2003) supported this when noting,.they want to be able to buy things the celebrities are wearing or.trends that they ve seen from the catwalk, and more importantly, consumers want it immediately. 5

6 Popular culture has a major influence on shaping fashion trends. Consumers are influenced by music, film, television and other media. There has been a significant shift in the way consumers are influenced when purchasing fashion product. Fashion trends are moulded by culture, for example what is happening on the street, in clubs, lifestyle hotspots and fashion flash points, not from a mood board or a trend prediction agency 12 months in advance of a selling season (Raymond, 2003). The point to be considered therefore, is that these shifts in culture and the influence of popular culture, can occur anytime and from anywhere, creating significant consumer demand for a fashion style or trend. There can therefore be nothing planned in forecasting these emerging trends. Since it is difficult, if not impossible, for predictions or forecasts to be made about these emerging fashion trends, the focus for responding to consumer demand must be through lead time reduction (Christopher et al, 2004). These changes in consumers, demand and the emergence of trends means that those retailers considered to have been successful recently, are those who have the ability to respond to the fast changes in consumer demand through lead time reduction. In these short life-cycle markets, being able to spot trends quickly and to translate them into products in the shop in the shortest possible time has become a pre-requisite for success. (Christopher et al, 2004). 6

7 Fast fashion is considered from the point of view of supply chain response by Adebanjo & Mann (2000, p.223) who suggest in the drive to satisfy consumers, who are increasingly demanding and sophisticated, the powerful retailers seek greater responsiveness and flexibility from manufacturers Fashion Buying The faster pace of fashion trends and demand from consumers clearly has an impact on the buying cycle for fashion products. Fashion buying is traditionally driven by a fixed calendar of trade fairs, fashion shows, fabric events etc, organised around a two season approach to product ranges, with planning for product ranges based on previous sales data, starting as long as one year in advance of the selling season (Birtwistle et al, 2003). The changing demands of fashion consumers, the need for quick reaction to emerging trends and the move away from planned forecasts has resulted in shift in the apparel buying cycle. It seems that retail is moving away from the planned seasonal product creating smaller collections more frequently. Guercini (2001, p70) purports that, The new model is characterised by pronounced emphasis on tight style deadlines, order-processing mechanisms which differ from those adopted for seasonal orders and an overall drive towards the flexibility and speed of response. 7

8 The number of planned seasons has significantly increased in response to consumer demand for newness, resulting in as many as 20 seasons per year, for example, in Zara s case (Christopher et al, 2004). The key to accomplishing successful retailing, in today s fashion market, incorporates both accelerated product variation and the mass diffusion of designer fashions. As Alexander (2003) comments, Fast turnaround with responsive design is crucial to high street success Retailers must therefore have the flexibility to respond quickly to changing consumer demands, having the desired product in store within weeks, sometimes days, before those demands change again, and more importantly, before the competition. As Birtwistle et al (2003) discuss, the success of the company is underpinned by the flexibility of both design and production, allowing reaction to the latest trends and demands of the consumer. Failure to react quickly enough to fashion demand can result in missing significant sales and/or demand may have abated by the time product reaches the store resulting in less time to make profit and a higher risk of obsolescence (Christopher et al, 2004). Fast Fashion & Supply Chain Management It is clear from the literature that fast fashion and its associated pressure on lead time reduction has links with supply chain management. For example, it is suggested from this 8

9 perspective that the fast fashion business model is based on vertical integration, for example in the case of Zara, or on a shift from Far Eastern suppliers to those closer to the domestic market like New Look, in order to take advantage of quick response times. However, in this paper the authors tentatively argue that fast fashion is somewhat different (perhaps more complex) from the existing models of supply chain management. In order to consider the results of the research, it is therefore important to evaluate some of the key literature of existing supply chain theory, including models of just-in-time and quick response. Supply Chain Management Theory Effective management of the supply chain has been identified as a key success factor in retailing, to the extent that in modern retailing it is the supply chains that compete rather than companies (Hines, 2004). The issue of the supply chain has become increasingly strategically important, in terms of organisation and co-ordination with the various entities within the chain (Wensley, 1999). As part of supply chain strategy, more companies today are turning to partnering with other members of the supply chain to improve the performance of the customer value delivery system. This involves moving away from using a wide number of suppliers to using a limited set that become involved in partnering (Han et al, 1993). 9

10 In the last five years, management commitment to supply-chain integration has increased significantly, with growing emphasis on forging downstream linkages with distributors, retailers and consumers. (Sheridan, 1998 p13) Formerly companies regarded suppliers and distributors as cost centres or even adversaries, but are now looking strategically for partners to work out mutually profitable strategies. According to Christopher (1999), there is a significant correlation between organisations that regard the supply chain as an end to end system, and successful organisations in particular markets exploit this notion. In the fashion industry, apparel pipelines (Jones, 2000; Hines, 2000) have been notoriously long, complex and inflexible. Their structure resulted in long buying cycles, which became inappropriate for the demands of the modern fashion industry and the increasingly demanding fashion consumers. Moves to improve responsiveness of supply chains in the fashion industry have been made with introduction of concepts such as just in time (Bruce et al, 2004), agile supply chains (Christopher et al, 2004; Bruce et al, 2004) and quick response systems (Giunipero et al, 2001; Fernie & Azuma, 2004). Just in time Just in time (JIT) is a common supply chain concept in the apparel industry (Bruce et al, 2004) and is considered to be the delivery of finished goods to meet demand without carrying up front supply chain inventory, but in time to meet market demand. This is a retailer driven concept aimed at reducing costs for businesses in the supply chain. 10

11 Quick Response According to Christopher et al (2004), the evolution of supply chain management and agile supply chains has provided the background for the quick response movement. Quick response is a concept that has become synonymous with the textile and apparel supply chain. Quick response was a concept first developed by Kurt Salmon Associates (KSA) in the US, who studied the US apparel industry in a 1986 study, where they found that on average it took 66 weeks for apparel product to get from manufacturing into store, despite a total production time of only 11 weeks. The major delay in the supply chain was due to inventory delays (Hines, 2004), although fabric is also recognised as being a key factor in causing delays. Although quick response was considered to be successful in improving efficiency for basics textile products, its implementation has been more recently successful with higher fashion products, regarded as a move towards achieving quick response in the quick turnover fashion goods segment (Giunipero et al, 2001). In order to regain competitive advantage, domestic manufacturers responded to the threat from low cost overseas manufacturers by operating a quick response system achieved through integration and collaboration in the supply chain (Fernie & Azuma, 2004; Giunipero et al, 2001; Birtwistle et al, 2003). Quick response places an emphasis upon flexibility and product velocity in order to meet changing requirements of a highly competitive, volatile and dynamic market place. (Lowson et al, 1999, cited in Christopher et al, 2004) 11

12 The most significant difference between quick response and more traditional apparel supply chains is the move towards collaboration and vertical integration in order to improve efficiency in the supply chain. Like agile supply chains previously discussed, quick response supply chains are considered to be information driven (Hines, 2004), but rely on a measure of trust in sharing information. Response within a quick response supply chain is based on the sharing of information i.e. it is demand driven based on sales information, rather that being forecast driven (Birtwistle et al, 2003). Within the fashion industry, quick response is centred around the notion of minimal pre-season ordering, taking advantage of improved speed and flexibility in the supply chain by placing more frequent, in-season, small orders (Christopher et al, 2004). Production may be prebooked, but final product specification is not confirmed until nearer delivery time (Birtwistle et al, 2003). This has also meant that the proportion of open to buy budget has increased significantly, all of which leaves a measure of the unknown in the equation. However, it should be noted that although quick response is quintessentially about responding to end market demand, as a business model it remains driven by the supply side and was created as a result of the need for competitive response from suppliers to low cost threats from overseas. Agile Supply Chains A number of researchers have addressed the notion of agile supply chains (Christopher et al, 2004; Bruce et al, 2004), which like quick response, describe shorter, more flexible, 12

13 demand driven supply chains, compared with traditional supply chain concepts which are characterised by high levels of inventory and are forecast driven. The key difference in agile supply chains, according to Christopher et al (2004) is that they are driven by information such as market data and information-sharing between businesses in the supply chain. In agile supply chains, the visibility of information allows the supply chain to become more responsive to changes in demand in the market place. For example, when compared with traditional supply chains where the end market is often geographically distant to manufacturing and production businesses in the supply chain, agile supply chains share up to date point-of-sale (POS) data which can be used across the supply chain for immediate ordering and replenishment decisions. The creation of virtual environments for sharing information not only allows manufacturers greater market visibility and responsiveness, but also other parts of the supply chain, such as designers who can use the up-to-date information and respond extremely quickly to market information, and, using technology such as computer aided design (CAD), can produce new market-driven designs very quickly. The investment in information and communication technology (ICT) can contribute to shortening lead times (Bruce et al, 2004), for example through the use of computer aided design and electronic data interchange (EDI). The Concept of Fast Fashion Although there are clear links between the concept of fast fashion and theories of supply chain management, and indeed the small amount of literature with any relevance to the 13

14 fast fashion concept considers it from this point of view, in using research to shape the research agenda for fast fashion, it is important to consider how fast fashion is linked to current theoretical perspectives, and provide a review of current understanding of the fast fashion concept. Information Driven There has been considerable focus on the quickening response to consumer demand in the fashion supply chain. In fact, in both industry and academia, the term fast fashion has been widely associated with the business model of quick response through a virtual vertically integrated supply chain at Zara. In considering the Zara business model, they have achieved successful competitive advantage through quick response to catwalk trends. However, there are also other perspectives of fast fashion such as Guercini s (2001) quick fashion, whereby retailers integrate with suppliers to develop a range renewal service that is not associated with the traditional advanced seasonal plans. Clearly, the Guercini (2001) model of quick fashion is similar in concept to the quick response models of supply chain management described by Christopher et al (2004), which focuses on efficiency and flexibility for frequent ordering and fast replenishment of stock and undoubtedly, the ability to identify and respond to changing styles is a key imperative of fast fashion. The whole concept of fast fashion is centred on response to changing styles, trends and demand, therefore a key component of the business model must include the drive for information. According to Doeringer & Crean (2004), 14

15 The key ingredients of fast fashion are the ability to track fashion trends quickly and to identify potentially popular new designs through daily proximity to fashion markets, fashion images and fashion makers. This means that proximity to the end market has distinct advantages in being able to observe trends and develop product to meet demand. Fast Fashion as a concept in its own right The literature review presented here has considered aspects of supply chain management, with theoretical perspectives to date tending to focus on business processes driven by the supply side need, for example reducing costs (JIT and agile supply chains) or competitive response reacting to low cost competitive threats (quick response). Fast fashion has received little academic attention, although there is some discussion relating fast fashion to aspects of supply chain management theory, for example drawing links with quick response and agile supply chains. However, fast fashion has not been considered as a concept in its own right, and this paper argues that rather than simply being linked to existing theory of supply chain management, and being a supply side driven process, fast fashion is an advance in supply chain management theory and is different to existing models of supply chain management as it is a completely consumer driven process. Methodology Fast fashion has received little attention in academic research, and as a concept, it was felt there was widespread misunderstanding of the nature of fast fashion in relation to the 15

16 supply chain. Therefore, it was considered that exploratory research, appropriate for use when a subject is little understood (Ghauri & Gronhaug, 2002), would be an appropriate method for researching the subject with a view to shaping the research agenda. A qualitative approach to research is suitable when undertaking exploratory research as it enables theory building, so it could be considered to be most suited when carrying out research to shape the research agenda for fast fashion. The study took a qualitative approach, using in-depth interviews, most suited to furthering understanding of a little known, under-researched and relatively new phenomenon (Ghauri & Gronhaug, 2002). Initial questions for the interviews were formulated from the literature review and trade press as well as some initial pilot surveys. The purpose of this qualitative study is not to provide a statistically valid conclusion, but rather to gain understanding and insight into a poorly understood phenomenon, however sampling was considered and non-probability and sequential sampling approach were used, therefore the sampling approach focused on the companies involved in the fashion supply chain and retail in the UK. In selecting respondents in the sample, a key informant approach was taken. Key informants have been well documented in academic research (Kumar et al, 1993; Joshi & Stump, 1999; Myhr & Spekman, 2005). Key informants are chosen because of their knowledge of a subject and the issues being researched, usually with their role in a company used as indicator of their level of knowledge on a given subject (Kumar et al, 1993), however for the purposes of this study, the criterion used in identification of key informants was their familiarity with the concept of fast fashion based on their industry experience. The selection of senior industry figures as key 16

17 informants was critical to the research process. They were selected on not only their seniority within the organisation, but also their experience of past and present issues in supply chain management. Fifteen in-depth structured interviews with key informants from the fashion industry from each stage of the supply chain were undertaken, including: Buyers Manufacturers Agents Logistics specialists Retailers Retail and fashion consultants Designers Merchandisers Quality controllers Each interview lasted approximately one hour and was recorded and transcribed. A content analysis approach was used to analyse the data based on recurring themes, until saturation point (Wilson, 2003) was reached. Findings of the Exploratory Research Fast fashion a consumer driven process 17

18 Across all respondents it was clear that fast fashion is very much a consumer driven response. Nowadays individuality is the trend for consumers fashion demand. Consumers want to be trend setting which has led to demand for fast fashion. (Manufacturer) with access to the media young consumers are so into the latest look these days, much more so than before. (Designer) Newness sells and the customer expects it. (Buyer) All respondents agreed that changing consumer demand that has driven the rise in the fast fashion concept is definitely a change compared with previous years, and has become increasingly important for fashion retailers over the last few years. Therefore fast fashion is a competitive response to changes in consumer demand reacting in season to maximise sales by responding to and satisfying consumer demand. The supply chain has to adapt in order to be responsive to unpredictable consumer demand. Fast Fashion impact on the supply chain Respondents were clear that Fast fashion has a definite impact on the supply chain for fashion product, but the drivers of fast fashion that create the impact are clearly coming from consumer demand. Historically there has been a power shift from the manufacturer to the retailer, but with fast fashion respondents suggested they were observing power being held by the consumer. This is a clear departure from previous understanding of supply chain management and its associated theories (agile supply chains, JIT, QR etc) which have been largely supply driven concepts. Although some may argue that QR is a market driven concept, the key difference in fast fashion is that this is a concept derived 18

19 as a direct consequence of changing expectations and demand from consumers, compared with QR which was developed as a result of supply need in the face of low cost competition. Analysis of the data identified the impact of fast fashion on the supply chain in the following ways: Retailer power retailers no longer carry stock and therefore work with manufacturers who can supply them with new product quickly. Retailers have been working towards that. They do not want to have stock, so they will order as near as they can and get it when they want to filter it through to store. (Retail Consultant). This eliminates the risk of getting it wrong and therefore provides a greater competitive position for the retailers, strengthening their power. The ability for retailers to work with flexible manufacturers enables them to be demand responsive they can react efficiently to sales, whether they are good (by ordering more and getting into store quickly at the peak of demand) or bad (by switching to production of poor selling lines to high selling product). Minimising inventory and being demand responsive means they can be reacting in season to maximise sales. (Retail Consultant). Retailer power in the supply chain is increasing as they are able to insist that manufacturers take on additional responsibilities and are responsive to their needs, or they simply take business elsewhere. You must supply us with the right quality in the right conditions and that is now taken that is our requirement if you want to supply us. (Retail Consultant). 19

20 A shift in partnering & networks the theories of supply chain management discussed in the literature suggest a more integrated partner-led approach where retailers work with smaller numbers of partners to ensure responsiveness, but evidence suggests that fast fashion is actually placing pressure on supply chains to increase the number of suppliers used by retailers simply because consumer demand is for a bigger variety of styles that are changing more frequently. supplier partnerships are stronger to cut out as many time delays as possible (Brand Director). This has also increased pressure on suppliers to produce a greater range of product. It (fast fashion) has made our supply base increase because there are more suppliers out there doing more stuff. A lot of them are starting to offer more product too (Product Development Manager), which suggests partnering is not always the way forward for delivering a fast fashion strategy, but that the rules have perhaps changed and despite previous enduring relationships, simply if a supplier is too slow, buyers will go elsewhere. Suppliers under increased pressure suppliers are under increased pressure to be more flexible and responsive to changing demand. This has manifested itself in the retailers pushing increasing responsibilities onto the supplier, for example suppliers are now expected to carry out quality control, packaging, ticketing and encouraged to do creative product development in an attempt to reduce cycle times and be more responsive to consumer demand. there is a lot more responsibility being put on the supplier to carry out a lot of functions. The level of expectation of what a supplier will do is much higher than it used to be. (Retail Consultant). Fast fashion has resulted in suppliers having to work differently to become more consumer 20

21 responsive which results in added costs for the suppliers. you re asking suppliers to work in a completely different way, which for some suppliers means capital investment and changes to working practices. (Sourcing Director). Elimination of stages in the supply chain product development and quality control are being eliminated from the supply chain process in an effort to be more responsive to consumer demand. there isn t time for product development in a six week cycle, or whatever it is for fast fashion They (retailers & manufacturers) both have to say this is fast fashion, what do we have to compromise on or sacrifice to get the right product but get it to store fast? (Retail Consultant). We sometimes have huge quality issues with garments that have maybe skipped a test or fit session to get into the shops quicker as the lead times we have been given are very tight. (Designer). It could be concluded that consumer demand is such that they are willing to sacrifice some elements of quality and design content in favour of having a particular style or look faster. Emergence of Fast Fashion sourcing regions according to the respondents, Turkey has emerged as a strong region for delivering fast fashion product, because of its geographical and cultural proximity. Retailers mix their orders between the Far East and Turkey, by using Turkish suppliers to supply fast selling lines in season, or test marketing short-runs sourced from Turkey before ordering volume from the Far East. Culturally Turkey has a good understanding of trends in the UK and the manufacturers there are increasingly making use of their own designers and product development teams to offer retailers even more flexibility and responsiveness. Respondents identified having fabric close to production facilities as being a key 21

22 factor in the management of the fast fashion supply chain. Fast fashion product is reliant on the availability of fabric, so manufacturers in Turkey continue to emerge as an important region for fast fashion because trend fabric is available, compared with regions that have to import fabric which increases lead times. In a market like Turkey everything is available immediately so you can turn it around quickly. (Retail Consultant). However it is not just the availability of resources, they have to be on trend resources. All respondents used Turkey as an example of a region which has a high availability of raw materials, but crucially they are the right raw materials for current trends demanded by consumers in the UK, such as jersey knit fabric and denim. The impact of fast fashion therefore is that specialist fast fashion regions are beginning to emerge, focused on particular product categories and trends, with the availability of raw materials needed to condense the supply chain. Ethical Issues there is increased pressure on suppliers to deliver on time, which in turn places ethical practices at greater risk of being ignored. The pressure to deliver on time is immense, so what is a factory going to do if it s running late, they re going to work all night, of course they are. (Retail Consultant). This obviously has serious implications for compliance, and there is anecdotal evidence of increased media focus on ethical issues in the light of low cost fast fashion. Shorter production runs because fashion trends are changing at a faster pace, there is less demand from retailers for long high volume production runs. Flexibility and response to changing consumer demand has resulted in shorter runs, perhaps only 500 units, becoming more frequent. This is causing some shift in the supply chain as sourcing moves away from China who favour long production runs, towards more 22

23 flexible and small production units, such as those in Europe and the Middle East. However, respondents suggests that the Far East is responding to this new demand. Changing logistics pressure on speed to market, advances in technology and changing economics have enabled innovation in shipping, resulting in shorter shipping times and where necessary air freighting has become more of a norm in fast fashion supply chains, although this is sometimes only for partial orders. I m going to have to air freight some of it, but actually it s going to meet demand so it s much better for me to only make 50p when I sell this than for me to make nothing at all and turn the customer away because they ll go elsewhere. (Sourcing Director). This would suggest that there are changing priorities in buying decisions regarding speed and profit margins. Indeed the research further suggests implications for the role of the buyer. Fashion buyers need to understand the supplier market. (Manufacturer), meaning that it is not simply about finding the cheapest supplier, but understanding also about responsiveness and the flexibility of different suppliers. Conclusion a continuous consumer supply chain? Whilst this research presents initial findings and is exploratory in nature, due to the phenomenon of fast fashion being relatively new and under researched, some interesting implications appear to be emerging from the findings. From this research it would appear that in considering fast fashion as a consumer driven approach to supply chain management, it gives rise to a new model featuring a continuous consumer influence on the entire supply chain. All respondents had a high regard for the consumers insatiable 23

24 demand for newness which they recognised as the driving force in the fast fashion, which in turn has an impact throughout the supply chain and retail operations management. Fast fashion with the onus on consumer driven trends is the ultimate marketing concept and thus, this paper has presented the themes and put fast fashion on the research agenda. References Adebanjo, D. & Mann, R. (2000) Identifying problems in forecasting consumer demand in the fast moving consumer goods sector Benchmarking: An International Journal v7 n3 p Alexander, H. (2003) Store Wars: Fast Fashion - The Money Programme, BBC2, 19 th February 2003 Alexander, H. (2003) 'Stylish in an instant' The Daily Telegraph, 9 June Azuma, N. (2002) Pronto moda Tokyo-style- emergence of collection-free street fashion in Tokyo and the Seoul-Tokyo fashion connection Journal of Retail & Distribution Management v30 n3 p Birtwistle, G., Siddiqui, N. & Fiorito, S.S. (2003) Quick response: perceptions of UK fashion retailers Journal of Retail & Distribution Management v31 n2 p

25 Bruce, M., Daly, L. & Towers, N. (2004) Lean or agile: a solution of supply chain management in the textiles and clothing industry? International Journal of Operations and Production Management v24 n2 Christopher, M. (1999) Customer service and logistics strategy in Baker, M.J. (1999) (Ed.) The Marketing Book 4 th edition, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford Christopher, M., Lowson, R. & Peck, H. (2004) Creating agile supply chains in the fashion industry International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management v32 n8 Churchill, G.A. Jr (1992) Basic Marketing Research The Dryden Press, Forth Worth, TX Doeringer, P. & Crean, S. (2004) Can Fashion Save the US Apparel Industry? Harvard University Centre for Textile & Apparel Research Fernie, J. & Azuma, N. (2004) The changing nature of Japanese Fashion. Can quick response improve supply chain efficiency? European Journal of Marketing v38 n7 Fiorito, S.S., Giunipero, L.C. & Yan, H. (1998) Retail buyers perceptions of quick response systems International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management v26 n6 p

26 Fiorito, S.S., May, E.G. & Straughn, K. (1995) Quick response in retailing: components and implementation International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management v23 n5 p12-21 Frings, G. (2002) Fashion from Concept to Consumer (7 th Edition) USA, Prentice Hall Ghauri, P. & Gronhaug, K. (2002) Research Methods in Business Studies: a practical guide Prentice Hall Europe, Harlow Giunipero, L.C., Fiorito, S.S., Pearcy, D.H. & Dandeo, L. (2001) The impact of vendor incentives on Quick Response International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research v11 n4 October 2001 pp Guercini, S. (2001) Relation between branding and growth of the firm in new quick fashion formulas: Analysis of an Italian case Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management v5 n1 p69-79 Han, S.L., Wilson, D.T., Dant, S.P. (1993) Buyer-Supplier Relationships Today Industrial Marketing Management v22 p Hines, T. & Bruce, M. (2001) Fashion Marketing Contemporary Issues Butterworth- Heinemann, London 26

27 Hines, T. (2004) The emergence of supply chain management as a critical success factor for retail organisations in Bruce, M.; Moore, C. & Birtwistle, G. Eds. (2004) International Retail Marketing Elsevier Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford Jackson, T. & Shaw, D. (2001) Mastering Fashion Buying & Merchandising Management Palgrave, Hampshire Jones, R. (2002) The Apparel Industry Blackwell, Oxford Joshi, A.W. & Stump, R.L. (1999) The contingent effect of specific asset investments on joint action in manufacturer-supplier relationships: an empirical test of the moderating role of reciprocal asset investments, uncertainty, and trust Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science v27 n3 pp Ko, E. & Kincade, D.H., Kincade (1997) The impact of quick response technologies on retail store attributes International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management v25 n2 p90-98 Kumar, N., Stern, L.W. & Anderson, J.C. (1993) Conducting Interoganizational Research Using Key Informants The Academy of Management Journal v36 n 6 pp

28 Lee, Y. & Kincade, D.H. (2003) US apparel manufactures company characteristic differences based on SCM activities Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management v7 n1 p31-48 Mattila, H.; King, R. & Ojala, N. (2002) Retail performance measures for seasonal fashion Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management v6 n4 p Mintel (2003) 'British lifestyles 2003', January Myhr, N. & Spekman, R.E. (2005) Collaborative supply-chain partnerships built upon trust and electronically mediated exchange Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing v20 n4/5 pp Perry, M. & Sohal, A.S. (2000) Quick response practices and technologies in developing supply chains International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics v30 n7/8 p Popp, A., Ruckman, J.E. & Rowe, H. (2001) Quality in international clothing supply chains: cost versus quality Journal of Fashion Marketing & Management v 4 n4 pp Sheridan, J. H. (1998) Nurturing Successful Innovation Industry Week May , v247 n 10 p16 28

29 Sohal, A.S., Perry, M. & Pratt, T. (1998) Developing partnerships and networks: learning for practices in Australia Technovation v18 n4 p Sproles, G. & Burns, L. (1994) Changing Appearances; Understanding Dress in Contemporary Society, Fairchild Publications, New York Usunier, J-C. (2000) Marketing Across Cultures 3 rd edition, Prentice Hall, Harlow Wensley, R. (1999) The basics of marketing strategy from Baker, M. J. (1999) (ed.) The Marketing Book 4 th edition, Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford Wilson, A. (2003) Marketing Research: an integrated approach Prentice Hall, Harlow 29

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