by Kay Altamira
“The only thing that remains constant is change.” K. 😉
What about change in fashion technology? Let me tell you something, the Fashion Industry is still in the game. It’s making sure that when we block ourselves from reality by putting on the red shoes and dancing to the “people touching screens” blues we are only a PinIt click away from buying the latest’s trends. From designer brands to high-street retailers, in words of Frances Corner herself, “now that we are happy to mix our Prada with our Zara” I think the great markup mystery fades in 50 shades of pixels and spam. Everything looks the same. Cheap. Expensive. Like they say in fellow India: Same-same, but different.
As a committed student of London College of Style I had the privilege to be part of the Influencers Lounge held by Yahoo Style @YahooStyleUK. It was an uplifting event with an intellectual flare aiming to inspire entrepreneurs, bloggers, journalists and enthusiasts within the Fashion Industry to re-think fashion and start off London Fashion Week SS18 on a happy note.
Next thing I knew, after several coffees and a few too many customised little yahoo cakes, the stylish Zoe Hardman gave us a lovely welcome and introduced an interesting panel formed of (in no particular order): Tainá Vilela – Marketing & Partnerships at Depop; Paige Henke – Senior Commercial Specialist for Pavegen; Alison Coldridge – Yahoo Style Editor; Rachel Arthur – Award-winning Business Journalist specialising in Fashion and Technology, Founder of FashionandMash.com and Gwyneth Holland – Author and Trend Forecaster.
The matter in discussion was Fashion and Technology and Paige Henke unleashes the dragon quoting “Virtual Reality is not here to stay, the Millennial Generation is experience driven.” Zoe Hardman: Is online shopping cheating? The panel then start to convey that Fashion needs to be democratised.
According to Maria Morais @CeuMorais, Fashion Blogger and Digital Commerce Consultant, despite the economic drop, our wardrobe size keeps increasing thanks to the exponential online growth that we have been witnessing in recent years. Since 2011 online sales went up to 62% and the dreaded problem of returns is being tackled by pioneering start-ups like fits.me which helped reducing returns by 35%. Fits.me is a a virtual fitting room that engages online consumers in buying with confidence regarding the size and fit of the apparel of their choice.
GlobalData indicates that multi-channel retailing is a £35+ bn business. From John Lewis to Tesco, it takes a unit of creative professionals, a broadband, an app, a banner in social media, a push notification or even an “archaic” email to facilitate similar results. It takes the tip of my index finger to login into the vast Argos inventory of 18,000 product lines over 700 physical stores to instantly replace my broken jar, which is immediately ready for collection.
And when it comes to Fashion Week, what we get is a season ahead, which works great for designers to showcase their work and for buyers who want to stock up for the season ahead, but not quite for consumers, who will have to wait until it hits the market or in some cases, the High Street “reinterpretation”. Fashion Week is gradually changing, NY to Tokyo, from seasonal collections to key items: It is becoming more about drops: the tee, the dress, the shoe. – Tainá Vilela: In Depot we go by the “see now – buy now” attitude.
However Fashion and Technology coexistence goes beyond retailing and we’re not talking about wearable tech!
Rachel Arthur, who has made a successful career out of the subject, assured us that we need to reconsider our perception of tech, because “everything we wear, is Fashion Technology.” And we have to look no further than the Nylon in our tights or the Denim in our jeans to agree upon that. The tech might not be in the actual fabric, but definitely can be in the production process. And fashion has a very bad reputation of mass-production where factory employees are treated more likes slaves and live in horrendous environments. If technology can somehow make their lives better, that would surely be a massive progress?
Gwyneth Holland : “The Fashion Industry is the second most polluted industry in the world.” We must take advantage of that technology without turning our backs on ethics. We should be focusing more proactively on reducing waist and making fashion sustainable. Innovation in fashion changes the way we think: Fashion. We are living in times where ethics-conscious designers such as Ferragamo are able to make fabric out of orange peals. Times where is possible to grow our own leather or silk. Times where inventiveness brings an environmental asset to fashion.
Technology is also about proximity, easy access, connexions and time management. We want to click. We want things to click fast, we want things to click easy, and if possible, we want them to click and get delivered to our doorstep as quick as AmazonPrime
Yahoo Style Editor Alison Coldridge remarked “We are busy”, consumers are beginning to become forecasters. a sort of mood-board for retailers. Tainá Vilela: “The streets are taking over”, consumers are a brand. People are now styling and putting things together. Fashion is inspired by the streets more than ever.
One of the members of the public asked to the panelists if they considered bloggers to be influencers and Paige Henke, who specialises in trend forecasting confessed that brands indeed are now paying close attention to how people represent themselves on Instagram. After all, it’s important to not only recognise the trends set by designers, but also the ones that have been introduced through influencers and picked up on mass by other trend-seekers.
As a society, we are here to give, to take and to consume. “To buy or not to buy” is not a question. It’s a fact and it’s always going to be positive. I want to believe that the whole concept of shopping on a physical context will always be there, in our tangible universe, the same way people still buy books when we can’t get a wifi connexion in our Kindle pads.
As a thriving entrepreneur, networking is a must. Thanks to London College of Style I had the nurturing opportunity to meet these smart femme-fashion voices and be inspired by them along side actress, blogging coach and creator of fashionartista.com, Tatjana. The connections the school has are just incredible. And this is just the beginning. I cannot imagine what the future holds. Well, I can and I won’t tell 🖖🤓
This article is an excerpt from my main blog post on Fashacha.co.uk. Stop by to say hello and to check out this and my other posts!