How modern technology has changed the fashion industry
The fashion industry has always been fast paced, but in the digital era, it has the capacity to change faster than ever.
This change applies to everything in the industry, from design and marketing, through to production and sales.
Here we take a look at some of the ways technology changed the industry, and forced business to adapt or be left behind.
The arrival of the smartphone
It’s hard to believe that the first iPhone was launched just a decade ago, and it was only six or seven years ago the majority of people didn’t have smartphones.
All that’s changed now, and having a touchscreen with access to the internet in your pocket 24/7 is the norm.
The arrival of the smartphone obviously changed business as we know it, with people shopping, purchasing and reviewing items on the go.
Fashion retailers had to think of new and innovative ways to appeal to these mobile customers, and so virtual showrooms, real-time customer service and virtual payments were invented.
Today, two out of three Millennials prefer to shop online rather than go to a physical store, with 80% of Americans having made an online purchase in the last month!
Social media influences Millenials shopping decisions
Remember a time before Facebook?
Well not many Millennials do.
A 20-year-old today would only have been seven when Mark Zuckerberg launched the world’s biggest social media platform in 2004.
There is an entire generation who only know a world with social media, and what happens in the virtual world has real life consequences in the real one. Over a third of Millennial women say social media is one of the top influencerswhen making clothing purchases.
People are on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat every day, posting selfies, and building their own social brand. One report in the UK revealed that a “wear-it-once” culture has arisen, with clothes being thrown out after only being work a few times. This is because women don’t want to be tagged wearing the same item of clothing twice, which unfortunately has far reaching effects.
The influence of social media has also changed how fashion models are chosen, with Kendall Jenner the perfect example. Rather than her looks or talent, she became the face of Estée Lauder because of her 25 million followers on Twitterand an astonishing 85 million on Instagram.
Fashion businesses soon realised how important social media was, and jumped on the bandwagon.
Facebook created personalized data-driven advertising, targeting ads to the people most likely to buy, and as a result, even the smallest fashion label could reach an incredible number of people.
3D printing revolution
3D printing hasn’t changed the fashion industry yet, but we may well be on the cusp of a revolution, something that will turn the entire industry on its head.
If 3D printing takes off and becomes economically sustainable for the average home, we may see something akin to when the MP3 arrived in the music industry. Just as people started sharing music online, they can just as easily share designs online, print them off, and even sell them – all without having to pay a penny.
There will be benefits to 3D printing; the carbon footprint will drop dramatically as shipping decreases, the manufacturing process will become faster and use less materials, and designers can test and spread their ideas across the globe in minutes.
Only time will tell what will happen.
3D printing may never take off, or printing your own clothes might be socially embarrassing.
Perhaps, like the music industry, it might create a completely new business model in order to deal with the changes.
Whatever happens, it’s going to be interesting.
Keeping up with the latest technologies
In our business, we know how important it is to keep up with the latest technologies, ensuring we’re always one step ahead of the game.
Our online management system LabelNet® is the perfect example of how we stay up-to-date with technology in the fashion industry.
LabelNet® is a web-shop concept that has been developed to enable a seamless cataloguing and ordering experience for our customers’ garment label range.
It gives our customers the flexibility to structure their label catalogue based on their own, unique business model.
Contact us today if you have any questions about how we can help you and your business.