American Eagle was founded in Pennsylvania in 1977. Over 40 years later they are still a super successful clothing and fashion business.
This continued success is down to multiple factors including the company’s business model and external factors such as the continued growth of the fashion industry.
The fashion industry is in a constant state of change and is continuously adapting to meet consumer needs.
Only a couple of decades ago people would have a few favourite items of clothing that they cherished and would wash and wear for years on end, however, sadly this is no longer the case.
Today, a large amount of the fashion industry is based around the concept of fast fashion, this is a business model focused on replicating trends and looks from the catwalk and fashion shows at an affordable cost.
This particular business model encourages consumers to buy into current trends and fashion and to keep their wardrobe up to date as this changes.
This type of business is problematic as individuals only keep clothing for a short amount of time before disposing of it and buying new.
One of the biggest issues with fast fashion is the impact that it has on the environment due to excess waste and growing amounts of production.
How to Tell if a Company is an Example of Fast Fashion?
Trying to work out whether or not a company’s business model is based around fast fashion can be incredibly difficult.
However, luckily there are some signs that you can look out for, these can include: constantly changing what they sell to keep up with trends, selling low quality items, their social media channels suggesting new trends and whether or not they are constantly advertising new products.
Obviously, the vast majority of clothing companies use some of these tactics in order to make sales but when it comes to fast fashion you are looking for a quick paced, constantly adapting and changing company.
American Eagle’s Social Media Presence
As already stated, social media can be a great starting point when trying to figure out whether or not a company uses a fast fashion business model.
American Eagle has an impressive social media presence with lots of followers. Here we looked at each one individually:
- Facebook- American Eagles’ Facebook boasts an incredible 11 million followers. This gives them an immense amount of power to reach a large audience that they can advertise to.
Amazingly, American Eagle posts about keeping jeans and clothes for a long amount of time and even forever. Unfortunately, they also post constant links urging fans to buy their latest products.
- Instagram- On Instagram have over 3 million followers, although this is a lot less than Facebook it still gives them the ability to reach a lot of people at once.
Unfortunately, they do not use this power very favourably but rather they advertise new fashion must haves and weekly trends which puts pressure on the public to engage in disposable clothing.
- TikTok- Comparatively, their TikTok following is incredibly small at less than 400 thousand.
Here their advertising is discreetly done through fun challenges and trends but they still regularly feature models and celebrities, suggesting that it is important to keep up with the media and latest trends.
- Twitter- On Twitter American Eagle has over half a million followers. They have been a member of the site since 2009.. They use twitter mostly to interact with fans and actually do minimal advertising of trends on it which is a very good sign.
Overall, American Eagles’ social media presence is a really mixed back across all of the platforms making it really difficult to decide whether or not their use of social media is an indicator of a fast fashion business model.
However, there are many signs to suggest that unfortunately this is the case such as their affiliation with models and their constant updates on trends and fashion must haves.
As previously mentioned, price can be a big sign as to whether or not a business is based around fast fashion.
Although everyone loves a bargain when it comes to clothing, shopping cheap could in fact be really unethical and suggest that you are buying into fast fashion (sometimes even without realising it).
When it comes to American Eagle their prices are reasonable enough to be affordable for most people but not so cheap that it indicates fast fashion.
For instance, most people would be more than happy to pay the price for a pair of their jeans but not if they were to be expected to replace them every six months thus suggesting they may be a sustainable brand as opposed to being based around fast fashion.
American Eagle is renowned for providing high quality clothing, especially when it comes to jeans.
The fact that they are willing to invest in ensuring that all clothing is manufactured to a high standard suggests that they are not using a fast fashion business model as the clothes are designed to have a long shelf life which would prove counterproductive if trying to conform to fast fashion which encourages the constant renewal of clothing.
On their website American Eagle do not use celebrities or models to advertise current trends or fashion show replicas but rather they focus on guiding people to find what they are looking for.
However, having said this they do place a lot of emphasis on seasons which could be seen to suggest that customers should update their wardrobe to match the season.
American Eagle has a massive identity of its own and can be seen as a powerhouse within the fashion industry. In many respects they use this power positively by only selling clothing to a certain standard and creating sustainable items so that people do not have to constantly buy new.
They also do not use models and celebrities to pressure customers into staying up to date with current fashion trends. However, they do unfortunately still insist on segmenting the year into seasons which could be seen to encourage people to buy new each season.
Similarly, they use social media to post things such as weekly trends which encourages people to stay somewhat up to date with current trends.
Overall it is fair to say that American Eagle is not built around a fast fashion business model but it has adapted and now has some of the common traits associated with fast fashion therefore, it sits on the dence between sustainable and fast fashion.