Are Drops the Future of the Fashion Industry?

What is a drop?

A “drop” is a limited release of merchandise, often as a marketing technique by streetwear fashion brands.

The New York-based skater brand Supreme started it. They drop limited edition runs of 5-15 new products every Thursday at 11:00 A.M. You don’t know what will be released, creating hype and the element of surprise.

Many brands like Adidas, Nike, H&M, and more would also start releasing drops to help try a new marketing approach to their products.

From A Sustainability standpoint

As I started to do more thinking and research surrounding this topic, I began to think about how this tactic could benefit the fashion industry from a sustainability perspective.

It’s no secret that the Fashion Industry is one of the leading causes of climate change. And with Fast Fashion at an all-time high due to trends and social media. It is essential to create and implement new tactics to help make more sustainable fashion.

With creating drops, it’s easier for brands to have a set item of clothes designed, and it’s more likely that the release will sell out. Therefore, less product is wasted.

A brand that I think does drops well and is a sustainable company is Girlfriend Collective.

They will announce that a collection is dropping on their website and tell you the time, usually the next day.

Girlfriend Collection: Instagram

The Benefits to Drops

There are a couple of things I think that both the brand and the consumer can benefit from when it comes to drops

– Create hype

  • When something is limited edition, it instantly becomes more desirable. Therefore, more people are going to talk about, want to get their hands on it. Almost guaranteeing that the collection will sell out. Some examples I can think of are Telfar and Nikesnkrs. I always see Telfar trending on Twitter when thousands of people try to get their hands on a handbag.

– Less waste

  • Creating drops and limited-edition products can help reduce waste on clothing. For example, you’re selling twenty sweatshirts, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Another thing I see smaller businesses and brands do is pre-orders. Therefore, know how many items should be made versus relying on the product to sell out.

Longevity

  • Social Media, especially TikTok, have heightened consumerism and shortened the wear time of products due to trends. Don’t get me wrong; I like watching hauls to see if a clothing item is worth it or not. But somehow, there’s been this stigma created: after you wear something once or twice, it is outdated and gets thrown to the back of your closet. I think limited edition clothing can help lengthen the wear time of clothing. People will want to be seen with the product because it’s exclusive and of better quality than Shein’s.

While I think drops could be beneficial for multiple reasons, I believe some issues will have to be resolved first.

The Drawbacks

– The Cost

  • Because the items are limited, it gives brands a reason to increase the pricing. We are also still where sustainable clothing is a lot more expensive than fast fashion. Not everyone can afford to hand over $80 for a limited-edition sweatshirt.

– The Timing

  • Giving consumers such short notice on when a new release is coming can cause annoyance. While yes, many of us are on our phones more than we should be. I know that we’re not constantly refreshing a clothing brand’s website when the next drop will be. Therefore, giving a day’s notice can be more harmful to the brand than good.

– The privilege

  • I do believe there is a privilege to be able to purchase items from surprise drops. Being able to drop a lot of money at a moment’s notice is not something many people can do. An example I can think of is Harry Styles’ new brand, Pleasing. He had limited edition Crewnecks being released. No one had any idea of the sizing or the cost of the Crewneck. To summarize, the cost was $95, and the sizing was not that inclusive. It’s safe to say people were not happy.

My Final Thoughts

Drops are nothing new, they have been around for a couple of years now. The difference is, is social media is having a larger impact on how successful and trendy drops are.

I think overall; drops could be beneficial for the fashion industry. No, they would not cure climate change on their own, but at this point, something must give. And while I do hope more brands take on this marketing tactic, I hope that they do with a consumer-friendly approach. Make it affordable, make your customers aware of what’s happening.

Of course, it will be a while before drops become the norm, but I genuinely believe they can help make a difference.

I’m eager to know others’ thoughts. Do you think drops could help the fashion industry? Or is it the same as other fashion trends?

Sources & Other Articles

The Business of Hype: How to Master The Drop

The business of hype: Why so many Fashion Brands are now doing “product drops”

Thanks for reading!

Megan

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