The Crystal Ball: Future Fashion

So how is technology changing the fashion industry?

Rapidly and in more ways than one, that's for certain.

While industry headlines report on the latest, flashy wearable tech progressions with great excitement, it's plain to see that we're actually in the midst of an industry-wide revolution that is impacting every element of the process - from fashion production, to marketing, to retail.

We investigate some of the latest developments and consider how retailers can keep up the action.

Fashion Design & Production

The development of large-scale technology allows for faster, more reliable, more innovative means of producing fashion for high-street retailers, which saves times and money.

But as well as the 'how', technology is hugely influencing the 'what', too.

Wearable technology is still making baby steps, but it's certainly headed somewhere interesting.

At the luxury end of the scale, as a primarily creative industry technology developments are allowing fashion houses to experiment and explore new realms of design and functionality like never before.

"As technology becomes more automated, designing and discovery of new fabric, design or style is also becoming more fast-paced." -

"Though I can't necessarily see where it's headed, the concept of collecting data through the fashion we buy certainly leaves room for some interesting developments as far as connected commerce is concerned." - Brad Fry, Folk

"3D printing has the possibility to revolutionise the industry; it will impact our consumer culture and has the potential to make people more self-sufficient as well. Wearable tech is likely to be all about ‘self’, which is a continuation of how we use tech today with smartphones and social networking." - Leon Bailey-Green Retail

Though, not all wearable technology developments are as forward-thinking as we might desire them to be.

Fashion Marketing

Alongside the direct impact technology is having on fashion, technological progression that provides us with increasingly easy access to the latest news and developments is radically altering the way we market and promote fashion, too, and the buzz around London Fashion Week posed a variety of questions...

As a big fan of fashion week, over the last few years our Designer Natasha Spice has been delighted to see the sharp rise in the live streaming of catwalk shows, and indulged in feeling a part of the backstage action by browsing through Instagram and instant news updates.

But luxury brands have always had to demonstrate heritage and style as clear value differentiation from their high-street counterparts, which begs the question - is the increasing ease of access to once highly exclusive fashion action reducing its value?

"When watching the Burberry live stream during London Fashion Week, whilst enjoying the goings-on before they happened, including which model was next to grace the catwalk, or the next item to add to my ever growing fantasy wish list, I couldn’t help but notice the sea of screens. The FROW was full of celebrities, bloggers and editors all trying to catch their very own unique snap of the show, and it was disappointing to watch people experiencing the show through their screens, instead of being immersed in the moment.

Not only were guests living vicariously through their iPhones, star of the show, Cara Delvigne, filmed herself walking down the runway at the Giles Decon show, bringing people closer to the action than ever before - but what value did it actually contribute to the fashion experience?" - Natasha

An interesting perspective on what is bound to continue to be an increasingly powerful, power-to-the-people, uncontrollable source of information for the masses - social.

Fashion Retail

When all of these elements come together, it's easy to see what an impact technology is already having on the fashion market behind-the-scenes.

Though, it's how technology is mediating the way we connect with consumers that's really taking the biscuit...

As we'll be exploring further in our downloadable Digital Is Dead report, the always-on, always-connected world we live in requires an ever-present, adaptable kind of fashion retailer.

Omni-channel retail is the future - that much is certain, and leading online marketplace retailer, eBay, is championing the importance of accommodating connected consumers in a series of free downloadable research reports.

Omni-channel accommodates the idea of 'a united nation of retail', in which a fashion brand can offer its consumers one consistent, and increasingly personal, retail experience wherever they may be.

Indeed, a host of technological improvements over the last few years have delivered some profound developments within the fashion retail community, which allow retail to reach out to people, and not the other way around.

Keeping Up

As well as taking advantage of the resources we've featured here, it's the time to keep your eyes open and your ears to the ground.

Embrace the fact that consumers' needs are complex, with the news that they know exactly what they want, and how they want to experience it when it comes to fashion retail, and aim to accommodate those needs.

It's the time to gather knowledge and get creative, and there's plenty of opportunity for those who dare to experiment.

"The trick for retailers is knowing what actually adds value for their customers. To get that right they need to really know their customers in the first place, which is why data, and its manipulation, is really important." - Leon Bailey-Green Retail