Fashion is a dynamic industry, and in every few years, we see the rise of a new fashion vocabulary. New debates on society, culture and lifestyle give shape to newer conversations which in turn shape a new perspective on how we see, communicate, produce or buy fashion. 2018 witnessed yet another wave of change in the fashion dictionary with game- changing concepts coming into play for the future fashion market. While retailers are gearing up to understand and become a part of these new fashion terms, here are the seven concepts we all need to ponder over this year…
Combining the two words together ‘trash’ and ‘fashion’, the term ‘Trashion’ literally means turning unrecyclable, un-compostable materials into wearable art. Bringing about a creative change in the waste management industry, even though the concept of trashion is nothing new to the market, its sudden popularity and consumer receptiveness is a welcome change in the fashion industry.
The most recent example of the same is Nordstorm’s distressed sneaker being retailed at US $ 530 price tag. British designer Stella McCartney distributed invitations for her Spring/Summer ’18 show at the Paris Fashion Week, on a roll of logo-printed rubbish bags, labelled ‘trashion bags’, which were later available in selected stores as well. Another designer, Vivienne Westwood partnered with Ethical Fashion Initiative, to develop her ‘Handmade with Love’ collection crafted entirely from upcycled materials like rejected canvas, old roadside banners, brass and unused leather cut-offs.
Green washing is a term used for a PR activity or a marketing gimmick wherein a company portrays itself and its business practices as ‘green’, without actually implementing any activities that reduce its environmental impact. More like a white-wash on the consumers’ mind, big fast-fashion brands are being recently criticised for green washing in the fashion industry.
Covering their tracks under the trend of sustainability, many fashion companies have been claiming to be sustainable, when in reality they are producing cheap clothes leading to landfills full of clothing. A leading example of this was an alleged case of green washing by fashion retailer Forever 21, where on one hand the company announced its plans to have the largest single-rooftop solar-power system in Los Angeles County, but at the same time it also planned to open a 18,000-square-foot concept store that promised the cheapest of the cheap merchandise in greater quantities.
With the fashion industry becoming more and more inclusive in recent times, adaptive clothing is also becoming more mainstream than ever. Adaptive clothes are garments especially designed for people with physical disabilities, for the elderly, or for the infirm who finds it difficult to dress himself/herself. Enabling easy-to-wear features in regular, everyday clothing, adaptive clothes present a multibillion dollar retail opportunity today.
Earlier in 2018, Tommy Hilfiger launched its adaptive clothing line that addresses disability issues with functional details like magnetic buttons, adjustable pant hems to accommodate a prosthetic or brace, wrist loops to help put on pants, easy open necklines, expanded back and side openings, one-handed zippers, and Velcro closures that make fastening a cinch.
Fashion immediacy is defined as a concept of presenting a designer collection that can be purchased and delivered immediately after its runway debut. Born out of the business models of fast-fashion retailers like H&M and Zara, and combined with the tremendous reach of social media in an average consumer’s life – fashion immediacy is all about the instant gratification of the buyer who is today demanding a runway outfit much before it goes out for large-scale production and even before it hits the store shelves.
While the entire fashion industry is debating over this new ‘see it now, buy it now’ trend and is choosing sides – fashion immediacy is a concept that can only be sustained by retailers who are willing to invest in an integrated supply chain and drive operational adaptability to cut down time and be able to produce everything in-house.
Experiential retail / Experience economy
The concept of experience economy is based on the idea that value is everything, and that products and services can outcompete by building a unique experience for the consumer. According to experts, millennials today are more likely to invest in an experience rather than buying products, or owning houses.
Taking this concept further into a retail store wherein the consumer can not only see, touch and feel a product physically, but can also experience a certain emotion of calmness, exhilaration or surprise while shopping for products – is what the foundation of experiential retail is.
Considering that we live in a digital world – a unique shopping experience is directly proportional to the psychology of a shopper, and why exactly he or she is out there to shop in a store.
Mastering this experience-driven fashion market are luxury stores like designer fashion house Gucci, which let go of its divided store layout in its new 2018 store and embraced an open design of almost a 10,000 square foot space – with exposed bricks, plush sofas, an eclectic decor throughout, including an augmented reality shoe and a handbag design experience.
Freedom in gender expression has become the new conversation of our society. And the fashion industry refuses to stay behind as brands continue to gain momentum in being more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community and transgender castings. While the line between the traditional male and female binaries is blurring at a rapid pace, an entire cultural shift in fashion is also bound to happen. Designers are choosing to make gender-neutral lines and even the colours of choice for a male vs. a female collection are dramatically changing. In definition, gender-neutral fashion is simply a growing acceptance of gender fluidity.
Back in 2017, UK department store John Lewis ditched the labels on ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ clothing to reduce gender stereotypes and instead marketed them as ‘Girls & Boys’ clothing on all of the tags. Fast-fashion retailer H&M released a nineteen-piece unisex collection called Denim United with gender-neutral silhouettes such as a shirt-dress, capri shorts and hoodies. Some fresh gender-neutral brands today are One DNA, Official Rebrand, 69, The Phluid Project and Agender.
There have been endless conversations about sustainable fashion in the past, and a new addition to this dialogue is the introduction of ‘circular fashion’. Emerging from the concept of a circular economy, clothes in ‘circular fashion’ are produced at their highest value and are designed to never end up as waste.
In simple words, a fashion product is made to last in the society for the longest of time – made with minimal resources and organic materials, which later after use can be taken apart and be reused, rebuilt, or recycled into a new product. They are even sourced keeping sustainable materials and practices in mind, and if at all they need to be disposed, it is done in a planet- friendly manner.
Fashion brand MUD Jeans has pioneered a ‘Lease A Jeans’ business model that shows how circular fashion can be put into action. During the recent Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2018, the biggest of fashion names such as Burberry Group plc, Gap Inc., H&M, HSBC, NIKE, Inc. and Stella McCartney, have claimed to have joined their forces together to create a thriving industry based on the principles of a circular economy.