A push for environmental sustainability
Environmental friendliness has become an increasingly important facet of business in every industry, and that doesn’t look to change in 2020. As we learn more and more about the negative effects of unsustainable practices, it is becoming obvious that our current efforts are simply not enough. The fashion industry is well aware of this.
It is no secret that there has always been a large amount of fashion industry waste. Many older materials and fabrics are not biodegradable, and clothing factories can use an exorbitant amount of energy. While it was common in the past for customers to turn a blind eye to such conditions, this is no longer the case.
Consumers are beginning to demand more sustainable materials and practices from their clothing providers, and the industry will have to pay attention. This means committing to leaner, more connected supply chains that will allow them to maximize material utilization, reduce waste and decrease costs.
This goes hand in hand with environmental sustainability and is certain to change the industry in many ways. With so many synthetic and bioengineered materials that have become available, clothing manufacturers can provide sustainable products that will impress customers and communities. As fashion is always forward-thinking, these items might open entirely new paths for certain styles and trends.
Some of these materials will even break into the digital realm, with the ability to do things like change color or store electricity. Smart textiles will also likely see a surge in popularity, as they help customers remain connected by simply utilizing the clothes that they are wearing.
A new digital world
Fashion has had a strong online presence for some time now, but it has remained one of the larger holdout industries in the brick-and-mortar realm. Despite the convenience of online shopping, many customers still preferred to see, feel, and try on their clothes in person. Technological advances were starting to change that, and the COVID-19 crisis will likely expedite the transformation to a digital marketplace.
With impressive apps and software programs that can measure customers through a phone camera, there is no longer as much risk in size discrepancies that might arise from ordering something online. Online ordering can also increase customization and reduce supply chain waste, which is something that is a benefit for both the consumer and the manufacturer.
Internally, fashion companies will need to implement software, such as 2D/3D CAD and PLM, to digitally manage files and data, improve efficiency while working remotely and perfect the fit and style of garments before they’re sold. With online shopping, there’s a greater risk of return because consumers aren’t able to try on clothes before purchasing, which can have a large impact on revenue. By implementing technology that will help perfect fit before going to market, companies will greatly reduce the risk of return.
With COVID-19 dictating more social distancing, the digital fashion revolution may be ushered in ahead of its expected date. While some customers are ready to get back to the shops to try on clothes, others will prefer the online method of measuring, trying on, and ultimately placing an order.
The cultural landscape
Fashion may generally be considered a progressive industry thanks to the artistry and creativity involved, but the major players haven’t always held the most diverse viewpoints or employed a truly multicultural workforce. That is likely to change in the coming years as the push for inclusivity, equality, and diversity has ramped up greatly in 2020.
Fashion is an excellent way for people of different cultures to express themselves, but it hasn’t always been readily available or accessible for certain demographics. Expect to see new, local brands experience more success as the major companies promote them and even fund them. Corporate fashion organizations will likely dedicate entire divisions to inclusivity and community outreach to ensure that their products cater to many different cultures.