The term ファストファッション (fasuto fasshon, fast fashion) has been around for a while, appearing on the media’s radar on and off. More recently, it has come under scrutiny for an インフルエンサー事件 (infuruensā jiken, influencer incident) involving Chinese fast-fashion giant Shein.

In 2009, the loanword landed itself a top 10 spot on Japan’s 新語・流行語大賞 (Shingo, Ryūkōgo Taishō, New Words and Buzzwords Awards). Still, even with this accolade, not everyone has heard of the concept. So, if you’re looking to start a conversation about shopping habits, it might be best to first start with an explanation.

ファストファッションとは、流行を取り入れながら低価格に抑えた衣料品を大量生産し、短期間のサイクルで販売するファッションブランドやその業態のことです (Fasuto fasshon to wa, ryūkō o tori’ire nagara teikakaku ni osaeta iryōhin o tairyō seisan shi, tankikan no saikuru de hanbai suru fasshon burando ya sono gyōtai no koto desu, Fast fashion is when a brand or business sells mass-produced clothes for a low price in a short cycle so as to incorporate trends).