Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

Think Fast Look Sharp: How Fast Fashion is Changing How We Dress

Feb 24, 2016 11:00AM ● By Cate Reynolds

Sandro Ferrone, Spring/Summer 2016 Collection. Photo courtesy Sandro Ferrone.

By Lisa J. Gotto

Having a front seat—or any seat for that matter—to a runway fashion show can be an amazing experience. It really gives one the opportunity to see what the end product of the fashion design process is all about. How all that glitz and glamour filters down to the consumer is another story altogether.

There’s a famous dialogue exchange in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada when the movie’s antagonist, a high-powered fashion editor named Miranda Priestly, provides an in-depth, albeit snipe-y, dissertation of how the well-worn cerulean blue sweater of her newbie assistant even became an item in her wardrobe in the first place. (If you’re unfamiliar with this reference, search it out on YouTube—it’s a must-see scene.)

The take-away is this, if you do see something on a runway that you absolutely love and must have, you will need to be patient as it could be several months before you see anything resembling that item on the rack in a retail store.

Sandro Ferrone, Spring/Summer 2016 Collection. Photo courtesy Sandro Ferrone.


The More-Timely Trend

It was this gap between our fashion aspirations and reality that necessitated the evolution of the “fast fashion” retailer. An expert on the industry, John Thorbeck, Chairman of Chainge Capital defined “fast fashion” in an interview with Forbes as “…the rapid translation of design trends into multi-channel volume.”

Great examples of fast fashion retailers with familiar names in the US are Zara, H&M and Charlotte Russe. You’ll find all three of these in our local Westfield Annapolis Mall. Another label name you will find in that very same mall, but may not be familiar with, is Sandro Ferrone.

This award-winning Italian fashion designer, Alessandro Ferrone, has been successfully outfitting Mediterranean women with his stores abroad for decades, but opened his first US retail location last fall in Westfield.

This flagship store, Ferrone conveys, is just the first in a series of stores he hopes to open stateside over the next five years.

“We [truly] believe that the made-in-Italy production [combined with] a moderate price will be a success.”

Another reason Ferrone has to be optimistic: “We are a fast fashion company, for this reason we are able to [accommodate] all the requests from the American market,” says Ferrone. Meeting in-season fashion demands and getting new looks in the store, as often as weekly, is his primary goal.

Long-time Ferrone family friend and store owner Paula McLoud explains it this way: “Mr. Ferrone was here for our grand opening [and] we mentioned [to him] that our black dress featured in our showroom as the main visual image was [extremely popular with] our customers … [we also mentioned] that [Salvatore] Ferragamo had featured a similar one in red in a fashion magazine,” McLoud says. “Boom! It arrived two weeks later in red to the amazement of our clients with an $89 price tag.

McLoud adds this is a classic example of how fast fashion manufacturers reduce the lead times in design, production and distribution in order to meet the customers wants and needs.

“Customers know that if they come back next week the item they like today may not be there anymore, but they love the fact that they won’t see themselves coming and going as only a few pieces of each item are made. When they are gone they are gone.”

For the retailer, this manner of selling creates quick turnover and that means little or to no merchandise left over in inventory to liquidate at a lower or sale price point.

Alessandro Ferrone with Annapolis storeowner Paula McLoud. Photo courtesy Angie Myers Photography.


What’s In Store Now

The month of March means one thing: the spring fashion-selling season is in full swing! Ferrone says the businesswoman inspired this season’s line. “The key word for this new collection is ‘renovation’. Our Spring-Summer Collection [will have a focus on] a black and white, coral, yellow and green [color palette].”

So if you want Ferrone’s take on spring, the time to get these looks is now.