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What’s driving Fashion right now?

“We are in a time of great disruption, but that also means that we are in a time of great innovation” – Imran Amed, BOF’S Founder and Chief Executive.

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As shifting consumer behavior and transformative technology continues to shake the Fashion industry at its core, permanently destabilizing its long-established business models, how can students or fashion lovers looking to break into the Industry properly prepare for an uncertain future?

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  1. Understanding the business is as important as loving the medium

Fashion is a seductive industry because it’s driven by aesthetics. But in order to succeed, one must think holistically. “The glamour and the gloss is what attracts people to this industry but it can become dangerous if that’s all you are interested in. Learn how the business works in order to understand the entire value chain of Fashion, not just the glossy stuff. The glossy stuff is not enough.”

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  1. A big follower count is only valuable if you do something with it.

Brands and designers have shifted their marketing efforts to social media, but racking up a large amount of followers only helps if it drives engagement.  “If you have followers, that’s one thing, but to be genuinely influential, impactful, you have to use that follower count in a way that can shift and shape things. It’s about people who take their following and use it in a way that can change the course of the industry or spark a dialogue.”

Considering Edward Enninful, the incoming editor-in-chief of British Vogue, whose ‘’I AM an Immigrant’’ PSA for his current employer, W magazine, made news this past February, “Edward’s influence didn’t come for having the title, Editor of British Vogue, or his half a million followers. It came from what he did with his position in the industry. He has used his followership to drive conversation.”

Also super models, Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss – who use their platforms as a communication tool, not just a branding opportunity- as shining examples. If you take a look at what Gigi and Karlie do, they are also role models, they are both using their platforms to influence the way young women see their futures.

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  1. Technology can propel a fashion brand or store forward, but only if it’s used in a considered, meaningful way.

From artificial intelligence to wearable technology, the Fashion and retail industries are now more open to experimenting with new technology. But not all technology advancements will make sense as a business. “As technology has become a widely used buzzword in our industry in recent years, brands want to be seen to be using technology.  People are doing it for the sake of using technology as opposed to using it with real specific goal that impacts what their business is trying to accomplish. The Fashion industry is an industry that creates content and powerful imagery that inspires and touches people, and if technology can enhance that, it can be very useful. But again and again not every brand needs to be on every social media channel.

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  1. Luxury brands must learn how to service consumers looking to transform themselves both spiritually and physically.

The rise of the experience economy correlates with slower growth for the luxury industry, which must learn to woo customers in ways that go beyond exceptional products. The most luxurious product we have is ourselves. They are thinking, “how can I be a better person/ how can I be healthy? How can I manage the rigors of everyday life?” A lot of people’s closet are jammed with so much stuff. Now, people are looking to spend that money on more than stuff: making oneself better or making the lives of other people better.

The stage could be seen as consumerism “beyond self-actualization”, a bubble that sits on top of the pyramid of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. “It’s about finding things you can do that make a dent in the world. Perhaps luxury is in a bit of trouble as more and more people shift away their focus from things.

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  1. Business must be socially, ethically and environmentally responsible, or risk consumer backlash.

A more direct relationship with the consumer means that companies have to be more honest with the consumer, whether that means a CEO speaking out against President Trump’s proposed immigration policy even if he has chosen to remain politically neutral in the past, or for a fast fashion conglomerate getting smarter about reducing waste and improving working conditions for employees, even if it’s going to continue to sell cheap clothes.

 

Source: The Business of Fashion

Written by : Eromosele Patrick Eidusi

Ig: @pathrik_                              T: @_pathrik

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