Technology Trends that are Reshaping the Fashion Industry
Published on 31-May-2022
From an increasing digital presence to sustainability, some tech-driven trends are transforming the global fashion fraternity.
When it comes to accepting new kinds of trends and technologies, the fashion industry has always been at the top. As more industries turn digital to keep business plans going in the face of severe disruptions in the past couple of years, many fashion brands already had a digital presence while those that didn’t quickly build their online presence as they saw the rise of digital prominence.
Today, the criticality of having a digital presence is highly accepted because of its performance in the market, particularly for D2C (direct to consumer) initiatives. Similarly, digitally founded brands that produce fashion outfits have also realised the significance of an offline presence in promoting greater consumer satisfaction. As a result, both offline and online fashion brands are adopting an omni-channel approach to offer customers a better value proposition.
Some of the multiple technology trends dominating the fashion firmament include:
Keeping customer experience at the core, AI is helping brands develop and provide personalised products/services. AI assists in predicting fashion trends by tracking social media traffic and comprehending consumer behaviour, providing recommendations as per customers’ previous purchase records, their time spent on browsing specific pages of the brand’s portal and much more. AI minimises the percentage of errors during production, thereby reducing operational costs, enhancing efficiency, augmenting revenues and improving customer experiences. Additionally, AI focuses and highlights what is in and out of style for both brands and customers and even helps in predicting emerging styles based on evolving buyer habits.
A rising number of D2C fashion players are employing chatbots for managing customer queries and expanding consumer engagement for cross-selling and upselling. Chatbots are also part of conversational commerce wherein brands use WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to interact directly with consumers to sell clothing.
An online presence is now considered imperative to interact with consumers and sell apparel directly. Besides ensuring better margins, D2C lets brands enjoy better control of customer experiences, complete visibility of consumer data and direct buyer access that fosters higher brand loyalty. Moreover, it assists brands in streamlining future growth strategies as per evolving demand. Through mobile apps and social media platforms, brands can reach out to customers seamlessly when required.
The innovative technology is transforming and safeguarding supply chains by tracking and recording all assets and transactions via a database that is permanent and inviolable. Supply chain efficiencies are boosted by blockchain because of allotting every product with a unique digital code/ID. Therefore, products apart, data and documents can also be exchanged safely and securely. With the help of blockchain, most brands and a global clothing manufacturing company often develops digital designs, which makes it virtually impossible to copy or forge. Blockchain could also have a major role to play in the Metaverse, which is a promising realm for the fashion universe.
This upcoming new times can be described as a merging of worlds: the real world and the virtual world. Here, customers could be offered an immersive experience via VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) while selecting garments. Customers can then “try” out the shortlisted garments in virtual trial rooms. After the selection is made, this can be delivered to them through the brand’s online or offline stores.
Metaverse has already opened so many doors, it seems like in the future the Metaverse will feature clothes customised as per individual preferences and diverse sizes. For example, a consumer may select a specific style, print design and colour. He or she will then receive numerous computer-generated pictures showing him/her wearing every chosen style. The consumer then places his/her order and enters a 3D measurement booth. A multi-digit size number is generated and sent to a 3D computerised patternmaker. A digital printer then produces the necessary 3D print that goes to a micro-factory, which makes a single piece only as per the order.
Once the Metaverse becomes a reality, digital merchandise will come into its own as brands monetise their top products through NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
Another visible and growing trend amongst customers is the preference for choosing new fashion fabrics via sustainable practices of garments manufactured in sustainable ways. This emerging trend and information about fashion designing has immense involvement in the fashion fraternity – It is one of the big contributors towards global warming because of its unethical practices of fast fashion. This refers to the universal practice of producing clothes quickly but having a heavy carbon trail left behind by using synthetic fabrics that are cheap and harmful to the environment.
In contrast, slow fashion deploys sustainable manufacturing practices that use environment-friendly materials. Though comparatively costly, these clothes are long-lasting, which means users don’t need to change garments periodically as with fast fashion. Consequently, sustainable fashion brands are steadily gaining prominence due to rising consumer demand.
Must Read: Moving From Fast To Slow Fashion?
Believe it or not, these unique, environmentally-friendly alternatives are made from cacti, pineapples, apples, oranges, bananas, potatoes, mushrooms, algae, nettles and more! Most are produced from the by-products of various industries, which reduces the waste of discarded items and safeguards the Earth’s resources.
For example, Vegea or wine leather is a fabric produced from waste grape skins (derived during winemaking), as well as vegetable oils and other natural fibres of the agro-industry. Then there is nettle fibre, popular with humans in the Bronze Age. Made from nettle plants, the use of nettle fibres declined swiftly after cotton was discovered since the latter is more convenient and easier to grow. Fibre from wild Himalayan nettles is perfect for denim. Best of all, such items are biodegradable.
The above trends make it clear that technological innovations are increasingly driving the shift towards sustainable practices. Simultaneously, they highlight the need to grasp digital tools for maintaining both an online and offline presence that promotes greater brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.