Technological Factors Affecting the Fashion Industry
Shubham Anil Jain
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited
The initiation and obtrusion of technology have seen huge developments in many of the industries. The fashion industry has not been out of this. This technological enhancement has impacted the fashion industry too. As the time goes, fashion and technology will be more entangled just like the link between sports betting and sports. Due to technology, it has become easier for fashion brands to showcase their fashion trends to a larger audience. Technological upgradation is not just a beneficial to the brands but consumers as well. Fashion products availability has been increased and the process becomes more smooth. Utilizing the opportunity to open more revenue streams and business models, many of the fashion companies are collaborating with technology providers, snapping up startups, and even trying to create their own tech.
2. Ways in which Technology Impacting Fashion Industry:
Basically, there are three ways through which technology is continuously impacting the fashion industry.
a) It’s easier than ever for the customers to get their customized products. There are many fashion design software like Modo and TUKAcad, which helps designers and companies quickly get customized products in consumers’ hands. Due to this, designers can digitally sketch designs, create 3D models and share these patterns and design off to be made. And using digital fabric printing technology, designers can also offer consumers unique patterns. Due to this, it has eliminated the traditional way of business and no longer limited to buying ready-to-wear retail garments. Instead of going from one shop to another shop for buying the garment, one can move to a fashion designer or a company that makes customizable clothing.
b) Nowadays, brands are managing their inventories more accurately. It is found that, without a fashion on-demand model, a fashion brands were having a risks on large inventory of unsold clothing. But with help of technology, it is possible for brands to produce garments on made-to-order basis, because of which brands can manage their inventories more precisely. Even today, a great approach to inventory management is more important than ever for most of the fashion brands. According to McKinsey’s 2022 State of Fashion report, it is clearly predicted that consumers will move away from loungewear and sportswear in the upcoming few year and change their wallet share to other categories as constrained demand for newness accompanies with more social freedoms outside the home.
c) Currently, fashion is expanding beyond real life. With the high popularity of social media, AR/VR and virtual events, there will be a huge need for such kinds of virtual fashion options. There are two companies, DressX and The Fabricant that only sell virtual fashion and many of the major fashion brands are noticing, too. The Fabricant is working with also includes Puma and Tommy Hilfiger. It is seen that growing trend of virtual fashion is multicultural and global, and it also extends too many of the designers showing their collections virtually, for example the designer Balenciaga, to showcase its autumn/winter 2021 collection, the brand arranged a virtual reality runway show.
3. Correlation between the Technology and the Fashion Industry:
a) With the technological evolution, it is clearly visible that fashion has become more and more popular over the last few decades. In the era of the internet and technology, many fashions and luxury items brands have found methods to reach out to their target customers with ease. Not only those, even the consumers of these products have found it very simpler than ever to buy and receive their products because of online marketplaces.
b) Because of this ease of access through the technology, many innovations in the fashion industry has taken place. Firstly, due to internet and technology, it’s very easy to explore the large brands within the fashion industry that are based all over the globe. Take, for example, one of the largest fashion conglomerates in the world is Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy. LVMH is basically based out of France, but still able to make market-defining moves in the United States.
c) Many of the websites like Net-A-Porter works as a general collection of new branded items in the same way that Macy’s, which is simply for basic clothing. Also, general online marketplaces like eBay practiced the sale of used fashion pieces accessible to all holders of these products.
d) With the help of the internet, now-a-days, consumers are in a position, where they can buy glasses online that are of superior quality and which are difficult to find in common retail environments. Because of this economic depth of the fashion industry has rapidly expanded, by managing the continuous sale of fashion items despite their new or used quality.
e) Also, the growing trend of social media advertising has made online marketing more effective and promising than ever. It can be seen that high-end brands like Supreme being advertised by social media influencers on sites like Instagram, Facebook, etc. Due to this, existence of luxury brands on social media allows for them to connect more sales due to the added attention towards their brands.
4. Technology and Its Influence on the Fashion Industry:
4.1 Evolution in Design: Currently, 3D design is becoming the leading innovation in the fashion industry. With the fact that less than 3% of the fashion industry currently utilizing the technology, the benefits are becoming more widely known and relevant in today’s climate and asking other industries too, to use it. 3D design has boomed during pandemic, as brands took advantage of virtual fashion shows to keep their customers engaged and showcase their creations all over the world. Due to the countless benefits of this technology varying from garments having a more dynamic look during the design process, helps making better decisions on the execution of the aesthetic, adjusting fit. Additionally, due to the ability to more easily refining the designs without the cost of multiple samples, there is a scope of freedom and expanded creativity that comes with 3D designs.
4.2 Body Scanning Technology: When 3D design is considered, designers can make decisions about size and fit in a virtual landscape. Instead of following the traditional process of real life fit models, designers used science and technology to fit using more predictable, reliable technology. Because of this technology, it is possible to scans thousands of bodies all over the world, then applies algorithms and programs to identify what is particular body type for a specific design or pattern should look like. With the help of this technology, manufacturers can gather more body shape and measurement information about consumers, which will hopefully come in focus with time.
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4.3 Fitting Rooms are Going Virtual: COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many consumers buying behavior. Visiting the stores to try on and buy clothing during the peak of the pandemic was nearly impossible. So, here the technology has came into picture, where the retail stores was turn to the internet. Online shopping, however, has challenges to both consumers and retailers as buyers have no way of determining prior to a purchase how garments will actually fit their unique body. To deal with this, an alternative many companies are exploring is a fitting room experience at home. Fortunately, there are a lot of advancement present out there, such as FX mirrors, so consumers can make sure how they will look in a garment from the comfort of their own home.
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5. Negative Impact of Technology on Fashion Industry:
In today’s scenario, it is observed that the fashion industry has been one of the most fascinating, innovative and creative industries in the world. The fashion industry is changing very rapidly and is constantly being fueled by the latest trends, technologies, and ideas. But there are some negative impacts too, on the fashion industry, which are as follows:
- Because of the increase in the online shopping and evolution of social media, it had a negative impact on traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Due to many reasons people are going towards online shopping, but this convenience has come at the expense of traditional stores.
- Because of technological advancements, many of the small and independent fashion brands have been forced to close their doors.
- Now-a-days, fast fashion brands have evolved a lot and taken the market with their low prices, frequent new arrivals. This fast fashion industry has explored in recent years and pushed out many small and independent brands.
- Even with the help of technology it has become easier for people to buy second-hand clothes. There are a lot of sites and apps are available over the internet that allow people to buy and sell used clothing, due to which people are buying less new clothes from the shops.
- Because of technology it has become easier for people to copy designs and sell fake products in the market. With the evolution of social media, it is easier for people to see what’s trending in the fashion world and thus results in copying designs and selling fake products.
It is proven fact that technologies are changing the consumer behavior in shopping, through social media apps, retail shops and augmented realities. Brands are adapting to this technologies in order to get their products in front of their customer and make them to buy. Creating a new and best experience can set a retailer apart from the rest in an over served fashion world. Even though it has many advantages, but it has some negative impacts over some of the small businesses and retailers.
- Impact of Technology on the Fashion Industry, https://www.thefashionisto.com/the-impact-of-technology-on-the-fashion-industry/
- The Future of Fashion: From design to merchandising, how tech is reshaping the industry, March 22, 2022, https://www.cbinsights.com/research/fashion-tech-future-trends/
- Three Ways Technology Is Significantly Impacting The Fashion Industry, https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/12/09/three-ways-technology-is-significantly-impacting-the-fashion-industry/
- How Smart Technology Is Disrupting The Fashion Industry, by: Jasmine Williams, Published on: October 22, 2018, https://magazine.startus.cc/how-smart-technology-is-disrupting-the-fashion-industry/
- Technology and Its Influence on the Fashion Industry, https://starsdesigngroup.com/2021/05/13/technology-and-its-influence-on-the-fashion-industry/
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.