The digital technologies that are transforming the fashion industry exemplify the changes impacting businesses and industries across the world. The mega trends in technology directly affect the creation, distribution, and sale of couture to consumers; technology is set to disrupt fashion at every stage of the product lifecycle.
Expect Changes In Fashion Industry Market Forces
E-commerce, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and 3D printing applications that are coming to maturity shift the boundaries and barriers to entry for all industries and fashion is no exception.
Barriers to entering the business are fluctuating, and substitute resources are becoming abundant. The relationships between producers, their suppliers, and consumers are changing as digital changes the balance of power unpredictably. Software and automation enable solo entrepreneurs and designers to leverage e-commerce platforms to deliver unique products to clients worldwide.
Predicting Trends And Trying New Experiences
Artificial intelligence systems such as IBM’s Watson collect raw data from diverse sources to spot the trends and consumer sentiments. Designers can use the business intelligence collected from the data to determine what styles and colors to order for the next season. These tools also have a role in the supply chain and in controlling inventory; digital helps to reduce overhead costs and reduces the time to market for seasonal products.
While digital is changing production and how designers chosoe the styles of the upcoming season, other technologies will shift the foundations, causing seismic impacts to hit the fashion industry in 2017. Consumers now appreciate experiences more than physical products; they will still purchase physical products; brands that deliver experiences that delight will be the most successful.
The rising value that consumers place on experiences is not a particularly new thing, but combined with emerging digital technologies it’s driving a fundamental shift what they expect from retailers.
Shoppers will use augmented reality viewers to try on virtual clothes without touching the real products. Both bricks and mortar and e-commerce sellers get feedback from this capability that’s priceless by comparing virtual behaviors to purchases. The result is likely to be lower costs for retailers as they generate fewer returns and less stock damaged in-store.
Print The Latest Look At Home
Textile manufacturing has a long list of costs both regarding supplies and the impact that processes have on the environment. That list may be about to become shorter as 3D printing technologies mature enough to move into the supply chain. Ultimately consumer may download designs that they purchase directly from designers and print them out at home.
The implication is that 3D printed fashion will eliminate the physical supply chain, reducing dependencies on intermodal transportation and warehousing. The capability to print textiles at home is inherently more sustainable than energy intensive industrial production that generates massive amounts of pollution.
These technological shifts in the fashion industry will impact other industries in the supply chain. Digital pushes the power out to the edges as designers, and customers will connect directly, with fewer points in between.
Good News For Tech Nerds Who Love Fashion
Technology means more opportunities in fashion design and in the information technology jobs that make the creative process possible. There will be roles for data scientists, computer engineers, and programmers that increase the demand for people who have the skills in these fields.
As technology drives fashion and design, it will take on a new relationship with the platforms that make it possible. More innovations like technology infused fabrics will change what it means to be fashionably attired. Exciting times lie ahead as technologies influence the fashion industry, and the industry drives a new interest in technology.