Updated: Feb 22
It is essential to understand how fast fashion is transforming to become hyper-personalized. What we wear can represent our personality and match our changing tastes, moods, impulses, and most of all, identity.
Of all the forms of expression, fashion is arguably the most intimate, freeing, and powerful display of self-expression. Fashion can make us feel more confident, empowered, and connected to who we truly are.
And that’s why, as we have access to more and more data (thanks to Instagram feeds, runway shows, changing rooms, and online shopping), the fashion industry is changing positively through shifts in technology, allowing for a more personalized experience for consumers. In this post, we’ll explore this new paradigm.
Hyper-Personalized Fashion and Technology
With hundreds of billions Google search results, “fashion tech” is no longer a stranger to the spotlight. Tech companies have leaped onto the fashion scene because of their innovative business models and disruptive technologies, fully taking advantage of the opportunity to revolutionize the outdated, old-fashioned processes that we have become so accustomed to seeing in this space.
As we’ve covered in previous posts about influential trends in digital fashion, the fashion industry has been happily reaping the rewards of advancements in technology and data analysis: brands and agencies get to experience a more efficient and transparent supply chain; retailers can offer a more consistent, personalized, and cost-effective service; and consumers get to enjoy a seamless customer experience. It is truly a scenario in which everybody wins.
Technology provides a path for continual improvement and innovation across the fashion industry, allowing companies to adapt to a perennially shifting landscape. We create a whopping 2.5 quintillion - yes, quintillion - bytes of data every day, and the fashion industry understands that effectively analyzing this data to optimize processes, make more intelligent business decisions, and become more agile and proactive. Ultimately, brands and retailers will be able to become more competitive, acquire more loyal customers, and maximize opportunities to grow within specific markets.
Let’s Get Hyper-Personalized
At this point in your reading, you might be wondering to yourself - how is all of this personal data being collected?
A very fair question, especially with narratives such as Netflix's The Social Dilemma shedding light on the sketchy (at best) practices in which big tech companies are using your data. But fear not, because the fashion industry is capturing data for good. While your clicks might be monitored while browsing clothes online, it’ll end up resulting in pieces that satisfy your preferences, less materials going to waste, and more tailored shopping experiences created just for you.
By adopting a hands-on, big data approach, fashion brands can more seamlessly understand what products are desired by their consumers. And like we said, it’s truly a win-win - their entire world now revolves around you as the consumer. Your behaviors, preferences, and styles will be what drive the design of clothing items moving forward.
Where Hyper-personalization Meets Creativity
According to fashion buyer Steve Brown, there is now more room for creativity and exploration in fashion thanks to data. He feels that enabling efficient production cycles will give designers the opportunity to have more time to focus on what they love most - creating new clothing. Instead of feeling the pressure to churn out new concepts for an excessive amount of collections, designers have the freedom to explore and test new designs, styles, and artfully position products.
So if trends and products are driven by data, what happens to creativity?
Data saves time and helps validate intuition - rather than stifle creativity, the large volumes of data that are collected and analyzed enable the fashion world to have a better understanding of its customers and what it should be working to create. And as technologies and methods continue to grow, more sophisticated artificial intelligence, data-driven innovations, and machine learning algorithms will keep improving product design and development, attempting to predict what customers will want to wear next.
It’s quite impressive how far technology in the fashion industry has come. Archaic practices of having up to eight collections per year and guessing what customers will want to wear (or using outdated data to do so) are a thing of the past. And now, designers and retailers can collect real time feedback from the consumer, enabling them to create any pattern, style, or size, in merely a matter of minutes, and then use 3D technology to model and eventually print it.
Of course, data cannot replace human creativity - and as you can see, it isn’t meant to at all. Rather, it is used to enhance it in order to provide faster and accurate results, and allow for designs to focus on what they love. Analyzing data will provide an edge against competitors and is a means to understand the economic feasibility and demand among consumers.
The Bottom Line
How companies operate is now transforming as consumers’ choices and demands evolve. Companies have clearly become more empathetic and receptive to what customers’ are looking for and what they’re more likely to purchase.
Combining fashion sense and design capability with millions of rows of customer, product, order, and experience data, designers and retailers can now offer unique services and products for every single customer. Everyone wants to feel like they have ownership over their choices and for their clothes to represent who they are, and in today’s world, that dream is becoming a reality.
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