In the last few years, technology has been playing a major role in the fashion world. With the shift from shops and malls to shopping on your phone screens, technology has changed the scenario of the fashion industry. The latest fashion trends are now watched and bought in just a click. Technology has shaped and changed the global parameters of fashion making it accessible and available to all.
The fashion industry has immensely evolved over the last decade with the online market expected to grow further at 12.2% per year and reach a total market size of US$991.64billion by the end of 2024. The fashion industry has transformed from pure designs available in stores to social media and online markets.
Technology has revolutionized how fashion businesses operate, with the use of data analytics, virtual technology, and artificial intelligence. The coming of technology in the fashion world led the retail sector to grow to new heights. The roots of the future of the fashion industry have been growing with artificial intelligence, machine learning and advances in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Technology has decreased the gap between manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, bringing the fashion world closer. It has successfully divided the market into high-end and fast fashion. It has made the fashion global from regional, including higher speed, faster delivery times, and lower cost than currently, also reduced shipping times.
The fashion world's rising concerns about fair wages, environment and the need to become faster and most efficient to keep up with the hyper-connected shoppers of today, has given way to new technologies in the fashion industry.
Social media applications are part of our daily lives, it can be said that we are living in an “Insta-age”, and these applications change our perspectives towards fashion on a daily basis. Technology in the past years has trained the buyers to want instant access to the latest trends as soon as they hit the ramps.
As the technology made it easier for the trends to change, it decreased the sense for fashion brands to keep producing large quantities of apparel, months in advance, with no certainty of how well it will sell. With this fast-changing technological modern environment, it is much more convenient for those fashion brands who pick up the pace and are more responsive to consumer needs.
The renowned fashion designers and brands are embracing the latest technologies to push the limits of manufacturing, production, marketing, and wearability.
Technology in the past years has reshaped plenty of industries including the fashion industry. Computing power has given new heights to the fashion industry from how clothes are used to how they are made.
Technology along with itself brought changes in fashion, the rise of social media played an essential role in bringing the fashion world closer. After the rise, it wasn’t just the designers who decided on the latest fashion trends.
-Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of things helps in interacting with the shoppers to gather data which further helps the retailers understand the need and concerns to create a more personalized experience.
Artificial Intelligence made it easier for the fashion designers to analyze from the internet that what is in vogue and what people appreciate the most.
-Better and Rapid data analysis
Internet, technology along new software made it immensely easier for fashion brands to receive quick feedbacks and alerts from the consumers about defects or damaged goods. This helps them deliver adequate apparels that too at the right time.
With the emergence of 3D printers, many fashion brands, both national and international, have been looking into its possibilities for on-demand production, while creating sustainability as essential in the fashion world. 3-dimensional print leads to less waste and is less labor-intensive than other types of manufacturing. By the technique of designing apparel on demand 35% of the fabric, waste is reduced, and technology has made the on-demand procedure faster and better.
-Virtual and augmented reality (VR)
This technological advancement in the fashion industry has enabled the customers to virtually try on outfits with high accuracy and customized measurements. This feature helps the customers to play on with outfits and style it with all perspectives before buying it.
In recent years, online stores have gained a lot of popularity, with social media applications, like Instagram and Pinterest which is further making it easier for the consumers to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Now shopping has become much easier with just a click.
It is speculated that e-commerce accounted for 12% of total retail sales in 2018, it has been growing ever since.
E-commerce has successfully changed the dynamics of the fashion industry.
A data, for example, states that 90% of consumers in China, shop using their smartphones. It is mainly because e-commerce had made shopping much easier, with digital wallet options. E-commerce has provided greater visibility to consumers and better opportunities for fashion brands.
In India on the contrary, E-Commerce is a booming market, with steps such as digital India it is expected that the user base with access to the internet will increase to 660 million by 2023. This increase will further multiply the online buyers 3 folds encouraging more and more brands to sell online.
The announcement in 2016 by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, about demonetization moved the country. Just after demonetization came in, luxury fashion brand stores witnessed a steep drop in business, which further promoted the online fashion services to lower their prices, which got them, good online shoppers.
The destruction that the coronavirus has caused in a blink of an eye to the world has severely affected the Indian Fashion Industry too. All the fashion brands have shut down their stores and factories due to lockdown in the country, but still keeping money aside they are standing united with the government and are keeping the health of people as their utmost priority.
Many fashion brands are providing huge discounts online to cope up with the loss due to the lockdown. The fashion brands are making other strategic plans to recover from the loss after the crisis. The Designers accept that it is going to be hard for them to recover from this than ever thought and would take pretty much time to be back in the run. It is obvious that the people after such a crisis are not going to immediately go to the stores and purchase fashion accessories for themselves as there would be other essential things that would be much above in the list than fashion.
Brands across the globe have been affected by how coronavirus impacted the whole spring-summer season sale. Keeping the severity of the situation in mind they notice how people are avoiding the crowd and aren’t leaving their houses as often as earlier. As the government declared a shutdown, the stock market has also become increasingly volatile.
The e-commerce for grocers must have shined in this period of quarantine but coming to the fashion industry it is not the same. Apart from grocers rest of the industries are drowning due to the current scenario.
Even before a complete lockdown e-commerce companies were witnessing around 60% fall in sales.
But now, disrupted supply chains, pending orders and warehousing problems are further making the E-Commerce buy and sell a big failure.
"We have contacted our clients and told them that even online deliveries will be made after a month", says a designer at Shahpurjat
Fashion e-commerce websites like Fynd had shut down all their online deliveries even before the lockdown was regulated in. Some fashion brands that sell on Amazon, Myntra and Ajio, are planning to increase their marketing spends by up to 15% in the hope that it’ll get them more shoppers than before once the lockdown is over.
Fashion designers are also using Social Media as a medium to brand themselves and their S/S collection that has already been made but kept stocked and piled due to no or delayed orders.
"I'm using Social Media to spread awareness about my brand, that is all we can do right now"- Designer
The fashion industry is having a tough time as Coronavirus wreaked havoc. From cancellation of Lotus Makeup India Fashion Week A/W 2020 to a whole Spring- Summer season in disarray, coronavirus is causing deep disruptions in the Indian fashion industry. Across the globe designers have cancelled or postponed their fashion shows, some even went to the extent of organizing a fashion show in an empty theatre. But in this pandemic situation, the fashion brand and designers are here to support and calm their audience down by using their social media platforms.
The brilliant Bollywood fashion designer Manish Malhotra on Instagram recently posted, "At Manish Malhotra, we are doing everything we can, to restrict the spread of COVID-19 in the country, understanding our priority to ensure the health of our employees, clients, and our nation, we are temporarily discontinuing our operations from 20th March, 5 pm onwards until further notice”.
Another designer wrote to his Instagram, "Having watched the exponential spread of the COVID-19 and the resultant human toll, we are thinking about the most obvious things to do: to look out for each other, prevent the further spread that may result in a lockdown, and most importantly look after the welfare of people in our respective eco-systems who may not be lucky enough to have safety nets."
Some fashion e-commerce sites have launched a feature where its users can look out for shops of essential goods within 500 metres to the 1-kilometer range, this initiative is taken to help people out in the time of crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a tense situation for global shipping, causing severe disruption across the industry. The strict precautionary measures imposed by the state governments and Prime Minister have resulted in substantially lower demand for the movement of goods. Do you want to know more about fashion and technology in India?
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