According to Investopedia, fast fashion is the term used to describe clothing designs that move quickly from the catwalk to stores to take advantage of trends. The collections are often based on styles presented at Fashion Week runway shows or worn by celebrities. Fast fashion allows mainstream consumers to purchase the hot new look or the next big thing at an affordable price.
The fashion industry is an ever-thriving market with constant innovations and this often makes it susceptible to IP theft. The most common example of this activity in Nigeria is the Onitsha market or the popular Aba market where designer clothes are sold at affordable prices even when such designers have not shipped their designs into the country.
The concept of fast fashion was to make clothes and designs available to consumers regularly as opposed to collections being unveiled during seasons in the year but this line has been crossed as fashion designers who spend time thinking and creating designs find their works being replicated in low quality forms and worse off their permission is not sought in all of this.
However, even though this infringement cannot be totally eradicated, as it would be difficult to completely eradicate this trend, fashion designers can protect their works by:
- Conducting searches to ensure that their product lines do not infringe other third-party rights before they are launched into the market.
- Registering it, irrespective of how short the trends are.
- Put licensing and/or confidentiality agreements in place with any third parties to ensure they protect their IP and keep the benefit of the use for their company;
- Keep an eye in the market for counterfeit designs
- Sue those who infringe on their rights
Fast fashion is an area that should be looked into because fashion designers suffer from both monetary loss and intellectual property theft when their products are replicated without their permission and sold at ridiculous prices. Specific laws should be put in place to ensure this area is properly regulated.