The rapid development of technology in the past few years has prompted multiple industries to evolve. One of the most visibly affected is the fashion industry, which continues to experience sales growth.
This billion-dollar industry has experienced innovation in all stages of production and consumption. You can observe significant changes due to technology from the management of supplies to the manufacturing of products, and even down to customer experience. For example, products like intricate knitwear that people thought can only be made by hand are now reproduced (and sometimes even improved) by computerized knitting machines.
Here we take a look at some technologies that shape the fashion industry today:
Social media is perhaps the greatest technological advancement that has impacted how humans behave and interact with each other. Social media has also influenced consumer behavior and decision-making. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media channels give fashion brands and customers a richer platform to interact with each other.
You can see this in the newer forms of campaigns and advertisements, the rise of fashion bloggers and digital influencers, and the ongoing trend of online celebrities. Social media truly influences fashion trends — what people wear, how they dress, and ultimately what people buy.
Social media also plays a big part in this generation’s awareness of and passion for social, political, and environmental issues. People don’t care about how they look anymore. More consumers are now looking into the people that made their clothes and the clothes’ impact on the environment.
Fashion brands have reacted to this demand for a better working environment, and more sustainable production practices. The increased connectivity brought by social media has facilitated these changes in the fashion industry.
Of course, the rise of social media could not have happened if it weren’t for the development of mobile technology. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops have dozens of other apps and features that have really changed how people experience fashion.
According to comprehensive research and analysis by The Business of Fashion, there is a “gap between discovery and purchase” that is very important for fashion consumers. Fashion brands “focus on bridging this gap” through online or virtual shopping apps (some are now even integrated into social media apps), digital wallets, and new technologies like visual search.
The mobile journey designed by these fashion brands influences the products that consumers discover and purchase. Smartphones, tablets, and other mobile technology not only help us shop online but also provide us with convenient payment experiences.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Analytics
Other buzzwords that people hear a lot of these days are “artificial intelligence or AI” and “analytics.”
A lot of the things we do online are digitized as information. This provides fashion companies with data about the industry and the consumers. Analyzing this data, or analytics, can help the fashion industry accelerate business, make smarter decisions, strengthen relationships with and predict the behavior of consumers, and improve organizational management.
However, due to a large amount of data, the fashion industry is now looking into using AI to collect, organize, and analyze data. So far the benefits of using AI for advanced analytics include improvement in spend effectiveness, reduction in inventory costs, better marketing, growth in digital sales, and lesser employees leaving the organization.
3D Printing and Wearables
Fashion can be described as wearable art where form meets function. This is never truer than with the rise of 3D-printed clothing and wearable technology.
With 3D printers becoming more accessible and user-friendly, fashion designers have pushed the boundaries of fashion. 3D printing enables designers to use or combine materials that were previously too difficult to incorporate into clothing. New materials can even be created allowing for designs that are intricate, complex, and functional.
On the other end of the form-function spectrum are wearables. It has always been the goal of technology to enhance what humans are capable of. Wearables allow for the latest technology to be naturally integrated into the daily tasks of life, helping us do more with less time. Wearable technology includes the infamous Google Glass and today’s more widely received Apple Watch.
Technological advancement has truly revolutionized how we live. The effects of technology can be seen across all industries, including the fashion industry. The business of fashion is the business of knowing and presenting oneself. Technologies like social media, smartphones, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and wearables have affected so much how we view ourselves. It’s no wonder that these affect how we choose others to see us by how we dress.
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