As new technologies continue to emerge and impact our daily lives, the fashion industry is evolving to match fashion and tech. Technologies like AI, big data, and translation tools have elevated the fashion industry and are vital to fashion students emerging as leaders in the industry.
These cutting-edge innovations are helping designers and distributors create and share the latest styles through algorithms predicting future trends, virtual reality technology in place of dressing rooms, and camera search tools to promote inclusivity.
Here are three key ways the technology industry has transformed the fashion industry, and how future fashion leaders can learn about and seize the opportunities technology presents for the future of fashion.
Bridging the gap between fashion and technology
Fashion students exist in the gap between academics and real-world applications of technology. These emerging fashion leaders may be unaware of the technologies that exist today and how they can be leveraged to advance their industry. For example, the fashion industry is set to continue rapidly adopting artificial intelligence over the next few years. In fact, studies show global artificial intelligence within the fashion market will amount to $4.4 billion dollars by 2027. This growth trajectory is key for emerging fashion students attempting to position themselves as leaders in the industry.
Having a foundational understanding of fashion technology including the tools and strategies of these emerging innovations will ultimately drive success for fashion students after graduation. To help the fashion industry progress, it’s important to understand how to bridge the gap between fashion and technology to cultivate a more sustainable, inclusive, and personalized industry and shopping experience. By utilizing technology, future leaders are able to create more quickly, collaborate more freely, and work even more efficiently. It also creates more environmentally sustainable practices, easier production for workers, and more personalized apparel for consumers.
Three technologies students can leverage to enable the future of fashion
1. Data forecasting: Better resource management and sustainability
Fashion students who learn data forecasting strategies early will have a better ability to make informed decisions that can predict future trends based on historical data. By following this information, manufacturers can more accurately prepare their budgets and distribution plans. With online retailers becoming more popular, the fashion industry has been growing rapidly. This presents an opportunity to create more sustainable products and less waste. They have a better idea of how much resources they need to create their products and distribute them.
How technology is helping the industry become more sustainable
- More sustainable opportunities – With the fashion industry responsible for over 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, technological advancements gives leaders the opportunity to create more sustainable fashion. These new eco-friendly technologies allow biodegradable fabrics, recycled materials, repurposed garments, local materials, and secondhand products to be found, worked with, and sustainably sold.
- Trend forecasting – Using AI, companies can now predict upcoming style trends for their brands. This allows them to plan the entire distribution process better, from design to production to transportation. Managers no longer have to blindly predict how much material they’ll need or where their products will sell the most. They can now use hard data to create informed estimates of these numbers, saving time and resources.
- Consumers can repurpose clothing – Technology doesn’t just help leaders have more sustainable practices; it also extends to consumers, who now have the ability to find ways to either repurpose their clothing themselves or donate their clothing to organizations that will reuse them. This creates less waste in the overall clothing lifecycle.
- Online shopping – With retailers being able to sell their clothing online, consumers no longer have to leave their house to purchase new clothes, therefore creating less of a carbon footprint. It also allows sellers to communicate with their customers directly in order to solve any production issues or delivery needs, not wasting any time or resources.
2. Translation and image recognition: A more inclusive, global shopping experience
Modern consumers are more invested in the values of the brands they support than ever before. In fact, over 77% of consumers reported they are more likely to buy from a business that shares their values. Fashion students should think about how current and future businesses should prioritize inclusivity to both extend their reach to a wider audience and demonstrate the diversity of their clientele.
Inclusivity in the fashion industry involves having a wide range of sizes available for each product, as well as using models who are racially diverse with different body and skin types. These forward-facing changes make customers feel good about their decision to support your brand.
Companies do not need to change their style or brands in order to be more inclusive. They can extend the size range of their existing products, adding both smaller and larger sizes to their catalog. If a store cannot accommodate all of that inventory, they can offer those additional sizes to be sold online.
How technology promotes a more inclusive shopping experience
- Translation tools – Multilingual translation tools create a more inclusive shopping experience for customers in other markets that are not native to your language. It allows them to search stores and find your products easier by putting your site in their own native language.
- Camera search tools – If a customer sees a product they like out in the world, they can eliminate the language barrier altogether by using a camera search app. All they have to do is take a picture of the product and the app will help them find where they can purchase that product.
3. Artificial intelligence: Hyper-personalized recommendations for fashion-forward consumers
Hyper-personalized recommendations in the fashion industry leverage artificial intelligence and big data to analyze the behavior of customers in different situations and contexts. With this information, emerging fashion leaders can learn how to create more customized content and services for their target audience.
How technology has improved personalized fashion recommendations
- Analyzing patterns – AI can analyze a consumer’s specific shopping patterns including age, occupation, gender, purchase history, behavioral data, location, and shopping cart. By using all this information, AI can make hyper-personalized recommendations for specific individuals.
- Informed decisions – Brands can use all of this data to notice overall trends in their customers’ behavior and make style choices based on them. This data allows managers to make more informed decisions about recent trends and can help them predict future behavior and give them more tools and information to better market and distribute their products.
To make these sustainable, inclusive, and hyper-personalized changes in the fashion industry, we have to teach our future leaders how to use the technology that makes them possible. That’s why OMNIOUS is launching the National Fashion Technology Entrepreneurship Series to help educate students on how to navigate technology in the ever-evolving fashion industry. This series will reach up-and-coming professionals across the country via tour stops at U.S.-based schools throughout 2022.
By merging these two important industries, we are providing the next generation of fashion professionals with the knowledge to seize and create their own career opportunities post-graduation.
Jaeyoung Jun is the Founder and CEO of OMNIOUS.AI. As an award-winning industry researcher, Jaeyoung Jun’s credentials include conducting R&D for major government agencies and technology companies worldwide. Jun has been leading the digital revolution of the fashion industry since 2015. While working towards his Ph.D, Jun founded OMNIOUS.AI after seeing the potential applications of deep learning technology in the fashion industry. Jun had the vision to commercialize technologies that can read, quantify, and locate specific fashion data and trends directly from images. Jun’s contributions to online fashion businesses, e-commerce companies, and retailers were awarded in 2020 when he was selected as the grand prize winner in the startup sector at the 30th Korea Textile and Fashion Awards.
Tech stock photo by Kiselev Andrey Valerevich/Shutterstock