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In the fashion industry, fast fit (often capitalised and written as Fast Fit) refers to a method of handling the shipping and sampling processes typical of multinational organisations who primarily manufacture offshore. The Fast Fit philosophy centres on the sharing of 360-degree, annotatable images intended to reduce the costs and lead times associated with shipping physical samples across continents. The term is particularly prevalent amongst (but not exclusive to) companies that fit the Fast Fashion model, as Fast Fit is considered to be a vital component in the reduction of time between design inspiration and finished garment or product.
The goal of Fast Fashion (a philosophy that drives high street retailers and brands like Zara, H&M, Topshop, Benetton, American Apparel and Peacocks) is to create demand for – and deliver to market – garments “closer to trend” and at a lower price point than was possible using traditional design, sampling, manufacturing and logistics methods. This is typically achieved through a combination of technology, supply chain agility, and inventory monitoring and replenishment.
The Fast Fashion model, with its emphasis on the rapid release of mini-collections, can only operate when superlative efficiency is achieved at each stage of the product development process. According to recent research, garment quality and cost are still the primary factors in the consumer’s buying decisions and while catwalk-inspired designs may seem to appear quickly on store shelves under the Fast Fashion model, each garment or accessory is required to undergo the same iterative sampling, fitting, quality assurance and pricing processes as it would under any other model.
Traditionally, those processes are handled by the physical shipping of sample garments from one continent to another. The Fast Fit philosophy is intended to replace at least a portion of this costly and time-consuming process with detailed, 360-degree images of those samples, recognising the fact that images are the most universal and efficient form of communication.
With the rise of offshore manufacture and distributed working, the cost and time implications of traditional fitting and sampling processes have become increasingly ill-suited to the industrial and commercial requirements of the Fast Fashion model.
Fast Fit is designed to be the most efficient method of fitting, sampling and international collaboration – delivering for each process lead time and cost savings comparable those seen for design, manufacture and logistics under the Fast Fashion model. By reducing the need for international sample shipping – replacing it with a centralised, platform-agnostic database of 360-degree, annotatable images, Fast Fit aims to reduce the traditional 4-9 month product cycle seen under traditional methods to 4–8 weeks.
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