With fashion’s credibility on sustainability under scrutiny, and consumers questioning traditional ownership, the last year has seen the industry rethink how to offer fulfilment without subscribing to the fast-fashion, mass-consumption model of the past decade. Our macro-trend Immaterial Fashion identified a new industry model that embraces digitisation at every level, providing brands with the opportunity to push creative boundaries and streamline production processes.
While other industries have embraced digital tools such as 3D rendering, machine learning and artificial intelligence, fashion has remained wedded to tactility and the physical. But a world of immaterial and digital fashion offers opportunities for brands to exert their creativity and connect with consumers through a different medium. ‘I think consuming digitally will be much more sustainable. In that sense, technology can save fashion,’ says Jessica Graves, founder and product scientist at Sefleuria, an agency that uses algorithms to help fashion companies scale sustainably.
Amy Powney, the brand’s creative director launched its first sustainable collections this summer, including a range of wedding dresses. Now, Mother of Pearl has turned its attention to evening wear – a category that shoppers often buy for only one occasion, meaning it can be wasteful and costly.
The collection uses cruelty-free materials such as mulesing-free wool, organic cotton, peace silk and bamboo lining. In addition, the viscose used in the dresses promotes sustainable forestry, with a new tree planted every time an old tree is cut down. ‘It’s definitely harder to source sustainable fabrics for eveningwear. Organic cotton and denim are fairly developed industries, but the more luxurious, fancy end of fashion hasn’t evolved at all,’ Powney tells Vogue.
Mother of Pearl, UK
The Campaign: Hate Couture
DIESEL Hate Couture FW18
Fashion has been a long-standing platform used for activism, and this year we saw brands creating campaigns that addressed issues around cyber-bullying, empowering consumers to fight back against the online trolls.
Diesel’s campaign represented a bold move for fashion brands that have previously approached anti-bullying initiatives with overly sympathetic messaging. Starring names such as actor Bella Thorne and rappers Nicki Minaj and Gucci Mane, the campaign addressed the fact that four in 10 Americans have personally experienced online harassment, according to Pew Research Center. Dubbing the movement Hate Couture, Diesel proposed that victims should embrace cyberbullying by proudly wearing the comments they receive, with plans to soon launch a service to custom-make this clothing.
Until then, customers could buy pieces worn by the celebrities in the supporting campaign video, as well as designs featuring hate comments received by 150 social media influencers employed by the brand. In addition, Diesel embraced the brand’s own share of online hate by plastering its stores with comments such as ‘Diesel is dead’. Our micro-trend bullying backlash outlines how prevalent bullying is particularly among Generation Z consumers and highlights ways in which brands can support this demographic.
The Interview: Dr Daniel Benkendorf on the faults of sustainability
Understandably, sustainability remained the primary driver for change within the fashion industry as both brands and consumers questioned how and where they purchase garments. Earlier in May, we spoke to Dr Daniel Benkendorf, professor of psychology at the Fashion Institute of Technology, to discuss in years to come, how we can encourage sustainable purchasing behaviour in line with our own morals and values.
Bekendorf highlighted that ‘There are many good things about the human species, but we are first concerned about ourselves. One of the challenges is how to create products that recognise that inherent human nature.’ Rather than expecting consumers to be inconvenienced and pay more or buy something less fashionable he states ‘we need to try to find ways to meet people where they are, and consider human nature when we develop (sustainable) marketing campaigns or new products.’
‘Using shock tactics and fear can be ineffective because if a problem is seen as scary or stressful, the human tendency is to run away from it. Others might try to solve the problem, but if we don’t know how to, then we engage in denial’ says Bekendorf. ‘But if you can stimulate a small amount of fear, and provide solutions about how it could be fixed, that can be effective. Giving people a sense that their behaviour matters, and this is what they can do to help, is very powerful.’
World of Sustainability by Stella McCartney
The Space: Eobuwie.pl
Eobuwie store designed by Dalziel & Pow, Poland
This year, fashion retailers have acknowledged the fact that shoppers exist on a spectrum, from those who want a quick, seamless interaction to those who desire a path to purchase centred on discovery, and have designed their physical stores accordingly. With 71% of consumers willing to skip a physical store for online shopping to avoid queues and other in-store hassles (source: Samsung/Capgemini), the need to provide frictionless commerce in-store has never been more important.
Eobuwie.pl is a digitally native footwear retailer that does exactly that. It launched its first bricks-and-mortar location, which translates its e-commerce platform into a store environment.
Designed by Dalziel & Pow, the space offers two different experiences, depending on how its customers want to shop. The initial showroom has no physical products on display but instead is supported by interactive tablets where customers can browse and shop the stockroom, which houses more than 100,00 shoeboxes. For those who seek a more intimate experience, the centre of the store allows consumers to try the product before purchasing and is intended to be a slower retail journey.
‘This ambitious and challenging concept blends the convenience of online shopping with the fast fulfilment of bricks-and-mortar, setting a new standard for high street footwear retailing’, explains store designer David Dalziel.
Download our Future Forecast 2019 report
Now that you know the best in the year for fashion, find out what is on the horizon for 2019. Download our Future Forecast 2019 report here.