Is it the end of the world (of fast fashion) as we know it?
Jun 01, 2022 1:09am
This week, Manchester-based fast fashion e-commerce retailer Missguided collapsed into administration.
It’s understood that the brand, which reportedly employs over 330 people, has called on third-party administrators Teneo Financial Advisory to sell the business and its assets.
However, the news of Missguided’s collapse is an unprecedented event that is set to shake the bedrock of the industry.
Missguided still remains open for trade while a buyer is being sought. Teneo’s Managing Director, Gavin Maher, claims that the brand has “a high level of interest from a number of strategic buyers”, it’s unclear what the future of this once dominating brand will be.
What Happened To Missguided?
Despite this, Missguided only grew in popularity and notoriety thanks to celebrity endorsements from the likes of Sofia Richie and marketing stunts like the launch of a $1 bikini.
In 2021, Missguided was saved from collapse by Alteri Investors. The firm obtained a 50% stake in the business after Missguided sought emerging funding.
The publication has also reported that 80 employees have already been made redundant, with another 140 jobs at risk.
Reports claim that fellow fast fashion label Boohoo was in talks to purchase the brand during a pre pack administration deal, however the agreement couldn’t be finalised. Asos and JD Sports were also contenders to buy out the company.
As of today, many of Missguided’s suppliers are seeking legal action for financial reparations owed. The Guardian have reported that over a dozen suppliers are “collectively owed millions of pounds for orders”. One factory owner told the publication that they have not been paid since April, calling the situation “completely unethical”.
Why Did Missguided Collapse Into Administration?
In a statement provided by Maher, Missguided’s collapse can be attributed to several reasons including supply chain issues and the changing retail landscape.
The full statement read:
“As we continue to see, the retail trading environment in the UK remains extremely challenging. The joint administrators will now seek to conclude a sale of the business and assets, for which there continues to be a high interest from a number of strategic buyers.” According to Darcey Jupp, Apparel Analyst at GlobalData, the brands demise can be linked to “its own lack of competitiveness rather than sudden fall in demand for fast fashion”.
“The true reason for its demise was its lack of competitiveness with the likes of Shein and boohoo.
“While many UK pureplays have struggled to continue their pandemic momentum in 2021 as in person shopping returned, Missguided has slipped further than most, with its lack of high-profile celebrity collaborations and uncompetitive pricing contributing to the brand losing the lucrative attention of young shoppers in the UK fast fashion market,” claims Jupp.
Is Missguided’s Collapse The End Of Fast Fashion?
As many analysts have suggested, Missguided’s collapse isn’t signifying the end of fashion, rather that the market is becoming capitalised by two major players: Shien and Boohoo.
Given the appetite for accessible and affordable garments (albeit unsustainable and environmentally exploitative), it’s naive to assume that Missguided’s failure is signifying a shifting tide in the fashion industry.
However there is a lesson to learn from Missguided.
Or will rapid fashion continue to prevail as a leading sector? And where does the onus lie in ensuring these fast fashion companies are regulated and truthful in their sustainability claims?
Despite Missguided’s collapse, consumers are still purchasing from its website, paying for next day delivery on items that may or may not ever arrive. Perhaps the alarming answer is that fast fashion, just like the garments the industry produces, will never be entirely gone.