Why This Mompreneur Is Sad Over the Collapse of Fast Fashion Mall Stores

The news came this week that fashion retailer H&M plans to close 160 stores this year, and I couldn’t be more upset.

It wasn’t like the news was a total surprise. We could have expected it.

After all, similar mall staples Gymboree, GAP, Francesca’s and other retailers have started to shutter down in a response to tumbling sales and revenue.

Blame it on the uncontrollable growth of ecommerce and online boutiques and trendy shops like TopShop, Nasty Gal, Revolve, Fashion NOVA and others that do not have retail stores and a new generation of consumers, Millenials and GenZ, that are perfectly fine shopping for clothes, shoes and make up online and without trying them on first, we are clearly in a new era for fashion.

Still, I like “Fast Fashion”.

Maybe I’m a unicorn on this because when I posted the news on one of my Facebook pages about H&M closing stores, my more stylish friends said stuff like they had long since abandoned stores like H&M and Zara because they thought these stores had navigated away from cute, chic styles and abandoned their core aesthetic and initial appeal in exchange for the fast fashion trend.

This trend is defined as “runway to stores” and noted for cheap replicas of designer clothing. The had lost their edge and appeal, my friends said.

Meh.

But for me, a blogger and mompreneur with a full slate of activity each day, a brood of three kids and a husband, a StartUp I’m incubating and various other projects I’m balancing, fashion is not a priority.

And as a work-from-home solopreneur, it’s not that I have too many occasions to dress up because there is no office I have to check into daily.

But if I ever needed to attend a networking event, seminar or conference downtown one day, or meet up with a friend for a work lunch, I know I could always run to the Gap and pick up a solid sheath dress that could be dressed up and layered under a structured blazer or cardigan or dressed down with a plaid shirt tied around the waist depending on whether the event is on Capitol Hill or the Google DC office.

And the other advantage of Fast Fashion: you cannot beat the cost. And although it is true that investing in quality pieces may be worthwhile over the long run because they are quality constructed, pill less and most likely will last long, the spirit is willing but the pocketbook is weak.

I’ve got kids in Catholic schools, a few biz I’m bootstrapping and quite a few home remodeling projects I’d like to start this year.

Honestly, I would rather invest in the much cheaper pair of Old Navy’s jersey jogging pants I can wear to shuttle the kids or for a brisk walk around the neighborhood.

Or a $10 conversation starter Graphic Tee from Forever 21 that will be eye catching in one of my YouTube videos or during a taping of my DC Radio panel interview show.

And also, fast fashion works because God invented accessories. A whimsical scarf, pair of gold hoops, chunky bracelets, cowboy boots or fun tote or clutch can make an outfit stand out on their own.

Months later, I still get compliments on the $5 eggs over easy cloth canvas bag I picked up from Forever 21 last year sometime!

And in a world where Mark Zuckerberg is praised for being a trendsetter for wearing the same grey t-shirt to work everyday, busy moms building empires should be allowed to be as minimalist for less too.