The Fashion World Reinvented

Even though I focused on New York Fashion Week being impacted by social media, the entire fashion industry has been affected by this new trend. So while fashion companies of all different styles have been selling their clothing for sometime now, they have recently started to use social media and their online presence to capitalize even more so.

 

One of the big changes is when it comes to luxury fashion brands. Before these brands would only sell in stores, to special customers and at a high end price. Part of this was due to the experience. When one would go to buy a luxury purse for $2,000 they would not just be buying the purse. They would be buying the experience. This may of included a celebratory champagne toast once one had picked out their new purse. On top of that by selling online, it reaches more consumers. While this is what many businesses want, luxury brands want to stay exclusive. By selling online they believe that their exclusivity would slowly go away. It is too early to tell if this exclusivity will disappear but what has been proven is that luxury fashion brands can make a huge amount of money online. It is predicted that by 2018, online sales for the luxury fashion industry will equal 18% of the industry’s total sales.

 

Another change is the growth of menswear. Up until 5 years ago, the women’s fashion market had always grown faster than the menswear market. But that has quickly changed with the help of digital business. Men are now able to go online, order their favorite pair of jeans and call it a day. Many men do not like having to go into stores and wander through multiple racks. They find shopping online easier as they can just search what object they want and easily purchase it. It also allows men who like fashion to be able to search through multiple items without worrying about being judged for being a man who is into fashion.

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Fashion companies are also able to target these potential online men shoppers due to adwords, targeted advertising and through social media. It also helps to show men what other clothing items and brands are out of there. This allows them to expand what typical clothing they would have purchased if they had just walked into a store. It feels as though they have less of a time crunch because they do not have the pressure of store workers, other customers and the stress of the store in general. These reasons have helped to grow the menswear industry.

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One of the main changes that has also occurred in the fashion industry is with personal shoppers. Before there would be high end personal shoppers who could go and buy clothing for you at stores. There were also lower end personal shoppers who would go to department stores to get items that these clients would want. As digital business has grown, this personal shopping industry has grown to become an online industry. There are now multiple different online personal shoppers. These range from monthly subscriptions where you get a package of pre picked clothing to companies who will talk with you via Skype and specifically pick one outfit based on style and price point. Many industry professionals did not think these organizations would make it. They thought that individuals enjoyed the actual time that they spent in the store. However, many have realized that it can be so much easier just to have one of these online shoppers purchase clothing for you. These online shoppers often cost less than personal shoppers in “real life”. On top of that, there is a convience with using these personal shoppers. It becomes very easy to send clothing that one does not like back to the original company. It also can be a lot easier to find a nice formal outfit for a function instead of going to a store and trying to find that perfect outfit.

 

A good example of one of these online stylists is Trunk Club. Trunk Club does a great job of getting consumer’s the clothing that they want in a quick time. On top of that they have expanded to having actual offices on top of the online business. These offices allow places for customers to get fitted for size. This allows the stylists to better select clothing style and size for the future trunks.

I believe that the fashion industry will always have a component in stores.  Whether that is a personal stylist sizing you for your online orders, large department stores or more specific brand stores, fashion in “real” life will always be around.

 

6 comments

  1. CarbNatalie · ·

    I think this is a great addition to your presentation! I especially found it interesting how social media is changing luxury brands. Before everything was for the experience but the more demand there is because people see a ton of bloggers with high end bags for example, the more necessary it has become for the brands themselves to alter their methods. Social has also been noted as driving more people to the storefronts, however it will be interesting to see how/if it will effect how much people are willing to pay for them.

  2. Nice treatment of the evolution of personal shopping. I know that companies like Target are beginning to emphasize fashion (and beauty) because they feel that the online experience does not translate well into fashion. We’ll see if it works!

  3. lenskubal · ·

    Great post! This was a nice follow up to your presentation last week. It is interesting to see how the entire fashion industry has been affected by this new trend. Fashion companies that take advantage of social media platforms have an incredible reach to consumers in the market. Brands seem to now have the ability to strengthen their image through social media, and I think it will be a trend that many companies focus heavily on. Social media can drive people to specific stores and brands, which can ultimately build loyalty. I am interested to see the progression in the industry.

  4. lesleyzhou · ·

    Jordan, it’s great that you touch upon a few challenges and changes the fashion industry is currently undergoing that I have thought much about myself! In terms of selling luxury items online at the cost of “losing exclusivity”, I found a Wharton article speaking to Patek Phillipe’s new online strategy of which I think is applicable. They are ranked as selling the most luxurious watches in the world and while they are willing to display their models online for users to admire and pick/choose, they refuse to sell via online channel; if you want the watch, you must go to the retail brick and mortar store to purchase. I honestly think their decision to stay offline when it comes to the purchasing process is the most effective way to retain the idea of “luxury” because emotional experience really is everything.

  5. Similar to Trunk Club, I tried using Bombfell at one point. I think new ways to add back in a personal touch of luxury products is one of the best ways to make up for the loss of an in-store experience. Also I think subscription-based models and other innovations like what Rent the Runway are doing will become very important as some of these companies can lean on their technology rather than their inventory. Great post!

  6. talkingtroy · ·

    My big hesitation for online shopping is the same problem I face in the stores – I have difficulty finding things that fit me well. If I knew a company had things that would fit me I would be more likely to try them because if it worked for me I would definitely be a repeat customer. I wonder how much thought it put into how to get clients started because I can’t imagine I am the only one with this problem. The convenience of having someone recommend things and knowing they fit would encourage me to pay a premium for such service.

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