The Collapse Of Missguided - Is Fast Fashion Finally Growing Up?
Once the darling of fast fashion and the go to destination for Love Island fans, the collapse of Missguided — a result of a combination of inflation, rising costs, declining consumer confidence and a renewed awareness of the environment, was perhaps inevitable.
What surely wasn’t, was the final postscript which emerged last week. According to the i newspaper, which first revealed that the Manchester based business owed millions to suppliers, in something taken from the P&O playbook, staff were told they had been made redundant via a pre-recorded audio message.
All a far cry from the lavish opening launches and the Missguided reality TV show which made some of the buyers household names.
The rise of fast fashion has been, well, fast. And the likes of Missguided were one of the first to really exploit the power of social media and celebrity influencers. Sponsoring Love Island in a five year deal was a masterstroke, and it created one of the most successful TV partnerships ever.
But the young millennials and Generation Z have now grown up and their successors are more inclined towards retro and authentic. And eBay have ousted Missguided as the new sponsor of Love Island, the contestants wearing secondhand clothes, thus ensuring that the new series bucks the fast fashion trend.
Add in the aforementioned economic challenges and that the current target audience has become far more aware of sustainability issues and the health of the planet, and it became a perfect storm which ultimately couldn’t be weathered.
But what is the significance of this for the fast fashion industry and does it mean the end for the sector?
Michael Murray, new boss of Fraser Group, doesn’t think so because a day after the collapse, he bought the business out of administration for £20m.
He said: “We are delighted to secure a long-term future for Missguided, which will benefit from the strength and scale of FG’s platform and our operational excellence.”
And this was perhaps another masterstroke in the history of Missguided, because not only does Murray get the intellectual property, he also inherits the digital skills, inherent within the business.
But will Missguided flourish once more, not only under the stewardship of the Fraser Group but in the new environmentally aware climate? In something of an ironic twist of fate, the new series of Love Island will surely go a long way in answering that question.
Andrew Busby is Global Retail Lead at Software AG and Founder of Retail Reflections.