Is Banana Republic Fast Fashion?
Banana Republic has been a total success in terms of providing clothes that are meant for impeccable fashion senses peoples. They provide a wide range of men, women, and toddlers’ clothing and other accessory items. As per Q4, 2022 sales report, they have a net sale of 4.24 billion dollars worth of clothing and other wearable accessories and which is a big deal. Living in the States and I assume you have also purchased from at least one or two times too.
But just like for other big brands did the question ‘Is Banana Republic a fast fashion brand?’ ever crossed your mind? It might seem irrelevant to you but it surely does matter! Read thoroughly to find out if Banana Republic is a fast fashion brand and what the odds of this matter to you.
- Now after 45 years of inception, Banana Republic has over 700+ outlets across 32 countries and sells billions of dollars every month.
- ‘Masstige’- a marketing term combining the words mass and prestige, aiming to sell clothes in large quantity and for all.
- Before buying any newer clothing do a little bit of research on if they use sustainable material and manufacturing processes and fair labor practices.
- The influential trick of attracting customers to buy newer designs comes in handy to retailers as they put more and more money from the customers in their pocket.
Banana Republic: A Walkthrough To Its Inception
If the name Banana Republic rings a bell outside of the brand, then you might be right in thinking so! It is a phrase being used in the political arena to describe a country that has weakened democracy. In 1978, Southern California residing couple Mel and Patricia Ziegler, founded “Banana Republic Travel & Safari Clothing Company”. At first, it was a travel-based magazine and clothing item-selling store. In 1983, Gap Inc. acquired the store from them and renamed it ‘Banana Republic’ only.
Now after 45 years of inception, Banana Republic has over 700+ outlets across 32 countries and sells billions of dollars every month.
Is Banana Republic A Fast Fashion Brand?
It is tough to answer the question directly as Banana Fashion has established itself as a big brand and rivals brands like H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, etc. Their products are mid-range premium but there are elements of suspicion that lead to another way of considering the brand as a fast fashion one. Let’s elaborate on some of the points of fast fashion and Banana Republic for your better understanding:
Banana Republic, just like other fast fashioned brands uses fast-paced production techniques for delivering clothes in the shortest time possible. As mentioned earlier their business strategy is to make clothes en masse, and to do so they have to put pressure on their supply chain to cop up with the offering to the customers. Just like fast-fashioned brands, it is ‘generate sells as much as possible’ is the goal. It is ok to sell but they fail to monitor the quality and values for the customers at the same time.
One of the forefront characteristics of any fast-fashioned brand is that they tend to put a lot of new designs very often. Usually, there are 4 different seasonal segments in the fashion industry based on which designers and brands launch new designs. Some fast fashion brand has divided them into up to 52 micro seasons or more frequently, if you visit the Banana Republics website you will see there are hundreds and hundreds of new designs trending as ‘new’ on the front page. Meaning they tend to launch new designs at a frequent pace.
One important characteristic of a fast-fashioned brand is that its designs are highly influenced by newer trends in and around current times. As the brand is for men, women, and toddlers and promises to bring design for all meaning they tend to catch lots of new trends all across the globe for a variety of ages, colors, and cultured people. These trends are easily reflected in their newly designed products.
Lack of Transparency
Lack of transparency is a usual characteristic of any fast fashion brand. Fast fashion brand keeps their mouth shut and sometimes insists on not expressing answers like how they source their products, what type of materials are being used to make the clothes, did the third party manufacturer practiced ethical labor laws on the workers, what are the sustainable vision, mission, and implementation of the initiatives. Though Banana Republic as a premium brand has showcased some commitments towards better manufacturing it is yet to be confirmed if they put those into action.
Impacts of Fast Fashion
Fast fashion was first introduced by the famously recognized brand Zara when they introduced short quantity but new designs often a method in the last decade. It has its pros and cons. Some things are different from alternative points of view. But its disadvantages could be horrific if not taken into account in the long run.
Some of the advantages are described below. As it seems they all are somewhat linked to financial benefits in one way or another.
- Makes Money for Retailers: Consumers are known that they tend to buy the thing they like as soon as they see it, regardless of price, because it won’t be around for long. Additionally, it’s simple to lure customers back into stores or online to make new purchases because the clothes are inexpensive (and badly constructed). This influential trick comes in handy to retailers as they put more and more money of the customers in their pocket.
- Quick To Consumers: Fast Fashion is called fast fashion because they deliver customers products within a short time. It doesn’t mean the delivery after ordering. It rather means it takes less time to design a product than produce them in bulk and put them for sale. Thus after a catwalk or fashion show, customers find their desired design very quickly.
- Cheap Price Makes Affordable: As most of the fast fashion goods are made with cheap materials, customers find it affordable when they visit the shops or order online. This makes them more influential to buy newer designs even though they already have plenty.
- Fashion For Everyone: If we step aside from the fact that fast fashion creates illustrations for the customers to buy more and more, one positive side of fast fashion is that it allows all types of financial states people who previously didn’t have the ability to buy these fancy dresses.
The disadvantages of fast fashioning are mostly environmental with a mix of financial.
- Environmental Hazard: The most concerning and alarming impact of fast fashion is the environmental hazard they put on nature. From making clothes with cheap material and using chemicals of destruction to throwing them away after use causes an immense threat to the natural system, which eventually affects the animals, plants, and ultimately humans.
- Low-Graded Materials and Workmanship: Fast fashion is also blamed for the loss of the American garment sector, where wages are higher and labor laws and work standards are stricter. This is because the apparel is produced elsewhere. Even if fast fashion clothes are inexpensive, buying several of them will ultimately cost the client more than purchasing a few more expensive clothes that are built with better materials and good workmanship.
- Buying Even You Don’t Need: Most of the fast fashion brands target the youth, particularly teen-aged customers who tend to buy clothes frequently but throw them or don’t use them after a few use. As the clothing is made of cheap materials they often aren’t easily recyclable.
- Unethical Practice of Labor Laws: After environmental issues, the most concerning problem created by fast fashioning is the exploitation of the workers. Though the RMG sector has created countless uneducated and unskilled people in third countries due to fast fashion there is also exploitation of the workers too.
Tips to Avoid Fast Fashion Brands
There are no certain methods of avoiding fast-fashioned brands. Thus it is a bit difficult to avoid brands completely that practice fast-fashioned manufacturing and selling. One of the problems is consumerism and cost; many individuals still have an obsession with the newest trends even though they cannot buy the real things that fast fashion imitates.
It will be harder to change people’s perspective towards buying fast-fashioned clothing as people care a little about nature. But apart from that you can take a few steps to avoid fast fashion brands like Banana Republic yourself or make a change in the whole process.
- Research Before Buying: Before buying any newer clothing do a little bit of research on if they use sustainable material and manufacturing processes and fair labor practices.
- Try to Buy Used Clothes: Don’t get surprised that I am suggesting this. You will find that people throw away a lot of clothes every year even though they are in perfect condition. You can look for them in suitable shops or can arrange such facilities to encourage people to donate, sell and buy these barely used clothes. It can reduce the fast fashion monopoly.
- Create Awareness: The majority of people are uninformed of the negative social and environmental effects of fast fashion; only by doing our part to spread awareness will we be able to hold the manufacturers of these products accountable.
3 Alternative Brands You May Want To Try
If you have careful consideration on a fast fashioning brand like Banana Republic and choose to wear other slow-fashioned and ethical alternatives, then you are welcome to try from below brands:
1. Taylor Stitch
Taylor Stitch is a sustainable clothing company with a focus on “responsibility” rather than “sustainability.” They use organic, upcycled, and recycled materials in their ethically produced range to conserve water and cut CO2 emissions.
Asket uses all organic and sustainable yarns to make earth-friendly clothing’s both more man and women. They use GOTS-certified organic, Recycled wool, cashmere, Traceable merino, Recycled PET and recycled nylon, etc.
3. Ministry of Supply
I liked their name personally. They use recycled plastics to create sustainable yarns for use in the cloth production process. In 2020 alone, their use of recycled polyester diverted 1.2M post-consumed plastic water bottles from landfills.
Banana Republic is known for versatile and classic clothing for men and women. Their business is over 40 years old and has over 700 outlets all over the globe.
BananaRepublics’ target audience is teenagers to mid-40s, who are looking for classic, high-quality clothing at an affordable price.
Slow fashion is a way of thinking about and doing fashion that emphasizes classic, high-quality designs while carefully considering the materials and processes needed to manufacture garments.
To conclude, it is found that though Banana Republic has established itself as a well-repeated brand in over 32 countries but speculations remain regarding its ethicality towards consumers. It frequently introduces new fashions and encourages customers to overconsume, following rapid fashion trends. Their approach is fast fashioned which ultimately hampers planet Earth. Additionally, they produce huge amounts of fast fashioned clothing using sweetshops.
So it is high time we should come together and form a solidarity against the fast fashioned clothing industry. It will take time but if we stay strong in each of our position then it is not impossible to change the scenario of fast fashion brands ruling the street.