The Future of Fashion
The fashion industry is continually evolving, and its future looks set to stay on the same trajectory. Over the next few years, technology and sustainability are expected to play a major role in shaping the industry. The future of fashion doesn’t just lie in the creation of new and exciting designs, but also in providing a seamless and innovative customer experience. Successful brands will need to encompass several key elements into their planning strategies to ensure that they are at the forefront of the digital and environmental transformation of the industry and changing consumer preferences.
As the industry growth continues, with estimates putting a value of more than $3T on the sector by the end of the decade, companies are turning to technology to stay ahead of their competitors. This includes partnerships with technology providers, acquisitions of startups, and even the development of their own in-house tech.
One of the major new technological influences on fashion is the use of 3D printing. This technology allows for the creation of unique and highly intricate designs that would be challenging to produce using traditional methods. It also allows for more sustainable practices, such as being able to produce only what is needed and thereby reducing waste in the production process. Additionally, virtual reality and augmented reality are becoming more prevalent in the fashion industry, allowing customers to try on clothing and accessories without even having to leave their homes.
As for fashion trends themselves, we can definitely expect to see more extravagant designs appearing in the near future. With the rise of technology, designers are able to create bold and elaborate pieces that would have been impossible to produce in the past without such advanced tools.
In a moment described as “fashion history”, Parisian fashion brand Coperni demonstrated the capabilities of this new technology when it wowed the crowd on the runway at Paris fashion week for its closing look. Supermodel Bella Hadid entered the runway in nude underwear as the team from fabric technology company, Fabrican, sprayed the material for a dress onto her body. After the dress had been sprayed on, a Coperni stylist then cut and altered the white dress to create a stunning off-the-shoulder piece, which the model paraded around the room.
One of the biggest shifts we can expect to see in the future of fashion is the decline of fast fashion to make way for slow fashion. Slow fashion is more eco-friendly and designed to last longer, aligning with today’s consumer preferences for more sustainable options.
The global fashion resale market is also set to grow 127% by 2026, expanding three times faster than the wider fashion retail sector, offering a new avenue for growth for those brands looking to cement their position within the fashion sector.
One of the main driving factors behind this shift to sustainability is consumer demand, with customers actively seeking out sustainable options from brands. This has led to the rise of circular business models, where clothes are made to be recycled or repurposed at the end of their life cycle. Brands are also becoming more transparent about their supply chains, making sure that their clothes are ethically and sustainably produced.
In the same vein, we can also expect to see a return to vintage and retro styles, as consumers look for timeless and sustainable options, unwilling to buy into trends that will be out of fashion by next season or next year.
Additionally, as the industry moves online, brands will need to adjust how they create and sell clothing in the digital world. With the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and the rise of remote working, fashion trends themselves may become more simplified, reflecting the new reality of dressing for the home rather than the office or social events.
The customer experience will be a key focus for fashion companies in the future. As the industry continues to shift online, brands will be obliged to find new ways to engage customers and provide a seamless shopping experience. This includes the use of virtual reality and augmented reality technology, allowing customers to try on clothes and accessories without having to leave their homes.
In addition, the use of personalisation and customisation tools will become more prevalent, enabling customers to create and design their own clothing and accessories. Forward-thinking brands will need to invest in data analytics and artificial intelligence to better understand customer preferences and provide tailored recommendations. The further refinement of tools such as chatbots and virtual assistants will help to create an interactive and efficient customer service experience. Such actions will be paramount to enabling brands to create a personalised and immersive customer experience in order to remain competitive in the fast-paced and ever-changing fashion industry.
Sustainability, agility, and brand differentiation are seen as the biggest opportunities for fashion businesses to explore in order to assure growth and remain relevant within a crowded marketplace, with 80% of consumers expecting fashion retailing businesses to accommodate their preferences.
In 2023, changing category landscapes, new digital frontiers, and advances in sustainability will create new opportunities for growth in the fashion industry. Brands will need to focus less on serving specific categories and instead be prepared to blur the lines between menswear, womenswear, kidswear, activewear, streetwear, luxury wear etc. in order to meet consumer demand for digital experiences that are both engaging and sustainable.
The future of fashion will rest on the foundations of meeting the needs and preferences of customers, while also being mindful of the sector’s impact on the environment. With technology and sustainability now firmly at the forefront, the industry looks set to continue to evolve and surprise us in the coming years.