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The Boohoo Disaster, Explained

  • July 08, 2020

Adam Kamani is now in the property business. Samir Kamani is the boss of BoohooMAN.

Yes. Ultra-fast-fashion players like Boohoo and Fashion Nova have emerged from, and adapted to, fashion trends driven primarily by social media. They have few or no bricks-and-mortar stores. And they cater to the Instagram and TikTok generation that wants to buy today what their favorite celebrity or influencer wore yesterday, and will post about their new purchases online.

Fulfilling these shoppers’ relentless demands for new products as quickly as possible means working with factories close to home, which is why Fashion Nova sources a significant proportion of its collections from Los Angeles, and Boohoo from Leicester, England.

More established fast fashion retailers like Zara and HM tend to source from developing markets, and came under increasing public pressure to investigate, police and invest in the factories that make their products after the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013.

But newer, ultra-fast-fashion retailers have encountered a little less scrutiny thanks to a younger customer base and keeping discussion of their business practices out of the limelight.

They introduce new trends every week, and are just as likely to be influenced by the clothes from a reality TV show as the clothes from the runways of New York or Paris. Prices can be even lower than fast fashion or the high street, with $5 bikinis and $15 dresses, and come with next-day delivery. Often, they will be discarded after a single wear.

It is a slick business model that has made ultra-fast-fashion retailers a force to be reckoned with even in a pandemic. Boohoo sales grew by 45 percent to £367.8 million, or $462 million, in the period of March through May compared to last year, according to the company. Boohoo also recently bought up a number of British high street stalwarts that were on the brink of bankruptcy, including Warehouse and Karen Millen.

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