Fast fashion won’t deter designers
Co-founders of the online clothing store Steph's Creations Co, mother-and-daughter duo Stephanie and Jhanna Patterson, say they are not threatened by the rise of fast fashion in the Caribbean, as it is only a passing trend
Fast fashion refers to the trend in clothing when consumers buy items from online stores; the products arrive in quick time through priority shipping.
"I think with the rise of fast fashion, a lot of people are more in tune with what their personal style is, and being able to see it immediately is always a benefit for customers," she said. "However, it does hurt (designers), because you know fast fashion is way easier to create and it is much cheaper." But Jhanna maintained that regardless of the current trends, there will always be a market for local designers.
"People like to be in custom stuff, so I don't think it has hurt local designers in that way, because there will always be a market for custom clothing and person venturing out to wear something that nobody else has ever worn before," she said.
The 24-year-old has been designing clothes with her mother, for whom the business is named, for as long as she can remember, and the move to turn the practice into a formal business was natural.
"The business has been operating casually since I was born, but it got formalised last year March," she said. "The progression to start a business with my mom was natural. She's been sewing clothes for me and my friends since I was just a toddler, making uniforms, Christmas dresses, etc."
Stephanie has been a seamstress for over 30 years and is currently the one who physically sews the pieces for their company.
"When it comes to maintaining relevance in the current era of fast fashion, I think it's all about making your mark. You have to have your own signature things that people come to you only for, something that they know you for and know that you do well," said Jhanna. She added that while the local fashion industry is very comfortable where it stands, she is encouraging local consumers to shop around locally first before venturing out to fast fashion.
"Jamaican shoppers can skip the import duties and look to local, as there are a variety of creative, unique and quality pieces," she said.