Technology has infiltrated almost every walk of life. Albeit slow in its penetration in the field of fashion, it is still doing wonders. For instance, sometime back, you couldn’t even conceive the idea of shopping in your pajamas. But times have changed now, and technology affords more comfort than we could have ever envisioned.
It doesn’t matter if you are in your bathtub and have no willpower to go trotting down the streets in search of a perfect dress. Because tech has your back and your pretty outfit is just a few clicks away. The 1.61 billion individuals that shop online worldwide further support this claim.
2016 alone saw the retail of fashion items at a massive figure of $72.13 billion in the US. This number is forecasted to swell to $11.3 billion by 2021. On a separate note, dissecting the global $3 trillion fashion industry reveals that womenswear is marked at $621 billion. Moreover, the branches of Menswear, childrenswear, and luxury goods are valued at $402 billion, $186 billion, and $339.4 billion respectively.
Such an inspection only confirms what is already known-the fashion industry and technology are booming sectors. Paired together, they will make waves that will reach a previously unimagined crest length. For now, let’s have a look at how technology aims to shape fashion in 2018 to attain new heights:
1. The Human-Machine Workforce
While Vision in the Marvel Comics universe may seem like a figment of imagination, artificial intelligence in the fashion realm is touching base with reality. The Deloitte’s Tech Trends for 2018 outline the growth of cognitive technologies and AI. This year is expected to see a shift in the fashion workforces from a human composition to a hybrid one.
The augmented labor sector will see machines working alongside humans. In fact, a survey revealed that 41% of organizations have either fully implemented or have become significantly advanced in adopting AI technology personnel. The same survey admitted that 34% of the respondents were in the middle of making such changes.
Strictly specifying along the fashion lines, we have the example of Swebo, a robot that stitches clothes. Sourcing and production costs are viewed as the most challenging or second most challenging factors by 33% of fashion bureaus. Swebo aims to meet this challenge.
2. The Role of 3-D Printing in the Fashion Landscape
Badged with the protocol of creativity, the advancement in 3-D printing is predicted to mature the fashion industry landscape. It affords a fast and economical means of printing a visual representation of what is in a designer’s mind.
As 3-D modeling embeds in this industry, it will help to save the dollars spent on producing sample products. It will also help save time, which will accelerate the seasonal cycles of new fashion launches. Moreover, technology encourages greater innovation by nourishing seeds of ideas into refined designs.
3-D printing can also sharpen the retail fashion industry’s competitive edge by allowing customers to create on-spot customized products. A case in point is the use of 3-D technology by Lizz Hill, who designs jewelry designs for Tapestry Inc. (previously Coach Inc.).
3. The Growth of Digital Data
As technology settles down and gets comfortable, it is altering the means and nature of fashion data collection. A revolution in data collection and analysis is, therefore, in the pipeline. In fact, data collection in this tech-oriented world has become a competitive currency. There is a vast pool of information that is full to the brim with customer behavior preferences.
The Deloitte’s 2017 Tech Trends highlights the data collection sources. These include social media, transactional systems, and search engines to name a few. This new face of data analysis can help in making informed decisions that orbit around customer behavior and preferences.
There is a lot to learn by picking from the example of Lyst, a global fashion search platform. As of 2014, 50% of its employees were data scientists that crunched 4.5 million data markers hourly. By analyzing the cross-screen consumer demeanor, Lyst increased its customer conversion rate by 25%. CEO, Chris Morton recalls the brand’s initial progress by explaining that the success, “has been driven by marrying insights from data science with the emotional nature of fashion”.
4. Wearable Fashion Devices
There can’t be a better blend of technology and fashion than wearable technology. The fusion is not limited to smart watches but extends to smart clothing and jewelry. The revolution strikes as these new wonders look less like technology.
The wearables doll up like their parent fashion items such as fitness trackers adopting jewelry looks. Samsung’s wearable prototypes follow this fashion mantra. Samsung WELT, which tracks the user’s weight, is an appropriate example. It is a belt that is smart by nature but stylish by looks.
Not only is the horizon broad for this cross between fashion and technology but the market is also welcoming. According to Newswire, 1 in 6 customers uses wearable devices. Statistics estimates that this industry will reach that pointer of $830 million in 2020.
5. Technology Will Help Maintain the Customer is King Status
Customers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable, which has amplified the attempts of delivering products that meet their liking. In this regard, Ben Alun-Jones, panelist, and co-founder of Unmade, says, “There’s been a huge way the industry has changed in terms of fashion because people are looking for unique products. If you look at the supply chain, how does it respond to the way people shop? Ten percent of products made each season goes to landfill because what’s being made is not what customers want.”
Digital tools help fashion businesses boost their ROI. StyleHop taps into crowdsourcing to ensure that only predictive analysis proceed the production of designs. Fitting tools employed by various fashion startups such as MyShape and Fits.me enhance ROI too.
Likewise, brick-and-mortar fashion retailers also make use of technology to understand customer preferences. For instance, there are special thin tiles that allow estimating foot compression of visitors. Analysis of these movements allows fashion businesses to understand which display pieces attract customers, what sells, and more.
6. Voice-Driven Technology
Voice is the most natural means of communication, and voice-driven technology will maintain this status in the world of fashion. Already, 40% of people use voice search once in a day with voice search on Google having increased by 35 times between 2008-16. Furthermore, the contribution of voice searches in 2020 is expected to have 50% share in all the searches. These trends are going to dominate the fashion industry as well.
Fashion e-businesses will, therefore, facilitate users with apps that will allow them to use their voice to navigate their search. So, multiple clicks will be replaced by voice streaming that will give a strong competitive edge to businesses.
Technology has also already been furthering communication with the aid of chatbots. Fashion houses have only recently started to experiment with them with prominent names including Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger, and Everlane. These play a potential role in marketing and enhancing customer conversion rates.
All in all, technology has some amazing tricks in its bag to stir up the fashion industry. It’s a possibility that you’ll get that smart leather jacket that you have been fantasizing about this year too.