The fashion industry is quite possibly one of the most innovative and creative sectors we can observe in the world today. Every day we see a multitude of new designs, products, and developments occurring. Fashion innovation does not only help in bettering clothing form, function, and style but it also goes a lot deeper. Fashion innovation is helping us build a more ethical world, from replacing unethical production practices to providing new sustainable practices and merging with the technological sector.
Perhaps one of the biggest movements in fashion innovation right now is sustainability. With the fashion industry currently placing around 1.2 tonnes of textile waste in landfills, the efforts to reduce these numbers have been at the forefront of the industry’s missions. Brands like H&M now offer recyclable bins where people can deposit their old clothing in exchange for points so it can be reused later on. Other innovators have taken it a step further, for example Aniela Hoitink. Hoitink is the creator of MycoTEX, a biodegradable material developed from the root part of fungi that can be moulded in-lab to create a perfect fit, therefore eradicating any chance of having textile cut-offs.
It is also worth mentioning the applications of the circular economy model in fashion today. The circular economy model is one that refers to the reuse and regeneration of materials and products to continue production in a more sustainable manner. This is a concept that can potentially be incredibly beneficial to the industry’s sustainability journey and progression. However, at the moment this is a more utopian notion due to the rapid changes it would require to be made to make it a reality. Some examples include-
- Fewer materials being used
- Removal of non-recyclable materials
- Reusing all waste, from textile offcuts to packaging
- Ensuring the effective reuse from collection schemes
- Making unavoidable waste biodegradable.
Though these results are not yet 100% achievable, we have also seen a rapid introduction of technological innovation in fashion which is not only actively working toward making the industry more sustainable but has also made shopping a more convenient sport for the consumer. From the introduction of AI & VR to the long-standing influence of data analytics, mobile commerce, and digital marketing.
AI & VR
Designers and brands have begun to realize the applications of artificial intelligence and virtual reality in fashion. For example, Prada’s virtual reality project has shown people the power of connecting the consumer to their epicenter stores all over the world without them even leaving the house. On the other hand, Rebecca Minkoff has been testing VR’s limits by sampling her designs in different materials using VR before implementing them in real life, therefore saving valuable time, space, and materials.
Alternatively, on a broader spectrum, luxury fashion brands such as Dior and Burberry use AI chatbots to update their customers on the latest news, and new collections and even encourage them to visit the stores for in-person consultations and personalise their consumer experience by signing up for customer loyalty program. Thus, ultimately resulting in increased footfalls and sales. These are just minor examples of how AI can have a massive impact on fashion. AI models could be trained in inventory history and sales performances to better understand and predict sales, thereby increasing profits and customer satisfaction.
Mobile commerce and digital marketing
It is no secret that mobile commerce is slowly changing the retail industry one step at a time. To maintain relevance, brands need to recognize the importance of consumer demand, and the demand for a multi-channel shopping experience is one that must be met. A loyal consumer wants a fluid shopping experience, and it is the brand’s job to give them one. Furthermore, apart from providing the convenience of shopping remotely to drive up sales; brands are also benefiting from mobile commerce through gaining access to data collection.
Data analysis in fashion is a vital aspect of the retail sector of the industry. It is important for brands to understand consumer patterns and preferences to best understand what kind of clothing to stock and promote, and more importantly what to not. Additionally, this also aids in the digital marketing sector of brands and gives them information on who, what, where when and how they must target their marketing campaigns. This practice is essential to ensure maximum profitability and customer satisfaction and loyalty and has shown tangible results.
In fact, research from McKinsey shows that brands employing data-driven decisions have increased sales by 10% and reduced inventory costs by up to 15%.McKinsey
In conclusion, the retail industry is constantly being challenged, altered, and made better for not only the producer and consumers, but on a much broader spectrum- the world. All because of rapidly evolving technology and innovation which is aiding in its growth and development today.
Sustainability is not a buzz word & it is here to stay, and to keep up with the rapidly changing consumer behaviours & retail technology landscapes we are here to help! For more information, please visit www.absolutelabs.co or follow us on LinkedIn & Twitter.