Future of Fashion

Future of Fashion

Fashion and Technology, how do the two integrate in the modern world and what does success, challenge and opportunity look like?  Fashion and styles are no longer the monopoly of Versace, Burberry and Gucci to dictate, they now belong to tech companies, data analysts and consumers to dictate what they want and when.  

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data, Influencers, Engagement, Storytelling and Virtual Reality experiences - all topics that are hot on the minds of any brand (big or small) trying to grab market share. 

On the 14th of March, DigitalParade hosted and moderated a panel discussion in association with BIMA - ’The Future of Fashion’ at BAaD Glasgow, to bring these pressing industry considerations to an audience of 150 budding fashionistas, tech heads and agency folks.

The panel was packed with industry expierence, each brining their own perspective to the discussion: 

Fiona Chautard, Fashion & Textile Industry Consultant covering 

Digital shifts in the global fashion market’.

Sarah Jordan, Co Founder, Y.O.U. underwear discussing 

Changing the world one pair of pants at a time: using digital to launch an ethical fashion startup’.

Alan Shaw, Manager, Centre for Advanced Textiles (CAT) at The Glasgow School of Art outlining the use of 

‘digital technology to revive heritage design and create bespoke new innovations in textile’.

Cally Russell, Founder and CEO, Mallzee covering 

Data led decision making: How Mallzee is changing the shape of the fashion industry by using its unique platform and customer community to shape the buying and merchandising process’.

Fiona Chautard kicked off proceedings with a detailed explanation that digital fashion is all about ‘sharing v selling’.  In the millennial era, consumers can switch off easily from campaigns that do not resonate.  

This idea was further developed with the use of a ‘slow v fast’ fashion cycles outlining that designers now-a-days are opting out of the traditional fast system that contains disposable looks and speed from design to market, opining instead going for a slow, more individual and artisan approaches, fuelled by a desire to connect and be part of the product story.  

Fiona’s closing statement outlined how @dolcegabbanna capitalised on digital by only using models with the largest Instagram following for their catwalk.  This led them to tap into a newer audience including the millennial market with the event being shared by this newly reachable audience through essentially, their staff activation.  

In the challenging world for small fashion houses and entrepreneurs, smart digital and storytelling provides opportunities for designers on smaller scales to be able to compete with the fast big labels.  Sarah Jordon, highlighted her approach and learnings from this perspective. 

Sarah described how using Digital to launch an ethical fashion start-up, Y.O.U brought with it scalability and reach that otherwise wouldn’t have been achievable.  Sarah presented the idea that immersive tech such as AR will shift storytelling to ‘story living’ as well as providing insight into the provenance behind the production of the product.  

Y.O.U was created to combat the problem of women being excluded from every day activities as they simply did not have underwear.  To combat this, Y.O.U was formed to donate a pair of underwear to someone in a poverty stricken country for each item of underwear purchased.  

While storytelling was a huge theme in The Future of Fashion panel, the role of education and how it supports new designers to not only to design, but give them business acumen to start a business was discussed by Alan Shaw. 

Alan went into great depth about the resurgence of fabric and how digital has made it easier to print them - rather than traditional production methods which would render the original designs un-econimcal to produce in the quantities required.   

The Centre for Advanced Textiles (CAT) at The Glasgow School of Art was established in 2001, to explore the commercial and artistic potential of advanced digital print processes and was the first college to offer commercial digital printing on fabric.  In 2016/17, they printed 30,000 m2 worth of material - the demand is there! 

Alan gave some great examples of how digital has played a pivotal role in creating print for items such as audio speakers via their commission by Linn audio and Timorous Beasties to digitally print speaker covers that do not impair the quality of sound and aesthetically look and feel great. 

The whole CAT team have been working and learning new techniques to create key heritage designs from artists such as Lucien Day to re-invent their work through digital fabric print. They have even applied their techniques to prints on items such as converse shoes.

Cally Russell, Founder and CEO of Mallzee was given the task of tying up the discussion and closing with some big app data facts.  Mallzee is an app which gathers feedback data of potential customers based on design, quantity of output, location and age groups to market a product too.  

This is claimed to reduce waste and avoid under / over production of products without any knowledge of how the market will receive them. 

Astonishingly, we learned that 50.8% of products end up on sale in their lifetime, and only 5% of products have stock run out in the first week. Either way, there are efficiencies to be gained - and data is the flag Cally (and other panelists) were flying to make this so. 

Our MD, David then closed with a Q&A session in which the panelist gave their views on questions such as “Does data impinge upon creative” and “what challenges does technology bring in storytelling when it comes to scale and demand”.  

It seems fashion is moving towards a story telling era and the production houses of the past are educating and re-aligning themselves to compete with the ever changing market by creating smarter bespoke ways of operating. 

Another success on the night was our hashtag #FofBIMA which was the top trending hashtag in Glasgow for 14 hours.  Check it out to learn about the comments from the evening and get peer views and reactions.