The Rise & Fall Of A Fast Fashion Giant

 Topshop campaign

Photo cred: Topshop

Written By Pradnya Shinde & Edel Lyons

It’s January 2011 and the most sought after high street brand for 18 to 24-year-olds is Topshop. Fast forward ten years and the business is on the brink of ruin. Topshop, once one of the most desirable brands in the UK. Known for their sell-out designer collaborations, trendy clothes and styles. The brand became infamous with endorsements of celebrities, fashion editors and influencers alike.

TopShop Summer 2021 Campaign

Photo cred: Topshop

Once a fashion powerhouse, their power and influence began to dwindle due to cut-throat competition from online fast fashion brands and the public's increased awareness around the environmental impacts of fast fashion. Topshop along with the rest of the Arcadia group was on verge of bankruptcy in November 2020. It has now emerged that another fast-fashion brand “Asos” is a serious contender in the bidding war for Topshop as a narrowing field of bidders vies for control of one of the high street’s best-known fashion brands.

Gucci 2021

Photo cred: Gucci

Wondering what went wrong in the past decade? Sir Green never appreciated or predicted the rise and boom of online shopping. He refused to adapt and preferred selling through physical stores.The rise of affordable online fashion alternatives such a Shein, Prettylittlething and BooHoo dominated millennials and generation Z.
Topshop's failure to anticipate and move their production to more ethical and sustainable work practices also left them behind in terms of capturing a new conscious and sustainability-focused generation. They continued to adapt to a mid 00’s strategy despite a rapidly changing environment. Topshop was opened in 1964 by Peter Robinson in Sheffield. The brand noticed early on increasing demand for fashion especially teenagers who want to look different and stylish. The brand whose success and global dominance grew for over five decades now lays in the hands of their closest competitors who are fighting to take control of this once powerful multinational.

Photo cred: Gucci

Topshop’s fall is a classic tale of an organisation who failed to read the room and didn’t hire or promote fresh talent who had the skills to steer the business into the 21st-century fashion revolution.
Take Gucci as an example of a brand where half of their sales come from millennials and younger.
The Italian fashion label Gucci sets itself apart from the biggest luxury brands by consistently putting sustainability at the forefront of its brand and marketing efforts. Gucci’s omnichannel strategy is a signal that brands can no longer rely on their legacy, physical presence and their existing customer base. 98% of today’s consumers can be found online,
sales come from millennials, a generation consisting of 35-year olds and younger are changing the landscape forcing those out who refuse to accept digital as their primary strategy.