There is a segment in the news that I see daily that talks about topics related to fashion. From what I understand what will be ultra trendy and cool for this Fall will be the “reds”, the long outfits and the Indiana Jones style “explorer”. I can’t help but wonder how they resolve the issue of “showing off” the designs in the middle of confinement and not at an event. Or how to make an attractive offer or present the most avant-garde clothing to the right segment without a fashion show. I laugh inwardly as the next note slaps me with a white glove.
Virtual runways, applications with augmented reality and a considerable increase in the personalization of what the end customer is looking for. This is the way to adapt by this sector that, although it has been one of the industries most directly affected by the pandemic in terms of sales, logistics, raw materials, maquila, etc., it is worth doing an analysis to detail of how this industry is adapting (and very well) to the forced “digitization”.
High fashion in times of confinement
In many countries in Latin America and the world, non-essential activities are condemned to an indefinite closure. This means that even after the “familiar” curve flattens out, apparel companies, distributors and department stores will remain closed. In this scenario, the industry has to deal primarily with operating costs such as income and wages, with a 40% drop in sales (according to EY studies) the outlook sounds not very encouraging, as this continues, the need will fall. to reduce the labor force, close establishments and for the weakest it means total disappearance.
The remedy to mitigate the impending negative impacts in this industry are two concepts known as innovation and electronic commerce.
According to AMVO data, last year Internet purchases represented an average of 65% of those related to fashion, particularly express fashion as an Inditex group that took full advantage of it. However, on the other side of the coin was haute couture, the world of renowned designers who knew very little (or did not give so much importance) to the digital world.
The latter are those that were most affected before the pandemic crisis as the digital approach was replaced by the urgency to cut, sew and produce the garments that were shown in the last Milan fashion show; for chasing and begging models for approval of the real Miranda Priestly (Anne Wintour) in order to be on the cover of Vogue. Finally, those who bet on technology did it in an effort to improve their production processes, but not to generate engagement, but rather through a retail store and, in one day, everything changed, the model just arrived from Paris is worth nothing if there is not dinner with friends, a bag of $1000 USD can help you little if there is no place to show it off, glamor becomes irrelevant when no one can see you.
Innovation arises when, through a catalyst, we solve things in a totally different way, turning the problem into an opportunity. A good example of this is Thomas Burberry, who invented the trench coat; This item had been on the market for some time but was not in high demand until the opportunity presented itself to this designer. Derived from the First World War, with a confined society and a shortage of materials, it identifies the needs of English soldiers who sought to cover themselves from the inclement air and rain in the trench (hence one of its names known as trench) the rest being history and his invention enduring to this day.
In a market closer to our time we have a mix of e-commerce with innovation in the following companies:
For those who are a certain number of years old, you may remember that there used to be some paper cutout templates that had the image of a girl and different dresses. You had to cut the dress and the doll and that allowed you to “dress” the girl in the drawing and make all kinds of combinations. This site that I mention to you is a true marvel, in its virtual fitting room section you can eliminate the fear of “how will I look” by combining the garments in its simulator, adjusting measurements of weight, waist, hips, etc. and if you like it, you can buy it through your online store.
This Dutch company calls itself “A fashion house leading the industry into a new fully digital apparel sector.”
At first they did not tell me much and except for a morbid curiosity, they did not generate any feelings, however, currently they have my total admiration for how they are doing things:
- They have obtained 9,500 USD for a single design in a virtual auction organized by Ethereal
- They use cutting and rendering software, supported by photographs and videos, which allows them to eliminate the need to hire models and search for locations, with their respective reduction in costs.
- They generate virtual samples of clothing, that is, their dresses do not exist, they only dress digitally, the process consists of taking a photograph of the owner within 28 days of acquiring the garment and digital equipment (which were previously ladies putting lace and pins) “adjusts” the garment to make it look perfect. This represents a huge savings in waste and waste. It is fully digital fashion that creates virtual clothing samples, rather than using physical samples, while other companies are considering this technology to minimize its impact of shrinkage and waste.
Analyzing the above, we can identify opportunities to mitigate negative impacts on this or any industry, making clear their respective adjustments. Once we have perfectly landed the above, a sea of data will come on the websites that intend to sell and promote the products, although we can mention all the existing metrics, the recommendation is that they define an objective and develop adequate KPIs to control that objective. As a suggestion, the metrics to take into account would be:
- By market: Type of client, national, export, wholesaler / retailer…
- By reference type: Product line and / or price line.
- By sales period: Campaign, season, dates……
- Conversion rate of new buyers and repeat buyers
- Conversions by campaigns
- Percentage of orders compared to those who started the purchase process
- Attraction level home page or landing pages.
Considering that we will enter a new normal very soon, the greatest benefit of applying these indicators is that they are quick to adopt and implement, thus obtaining better control of the behavior of online users in a high fashion industry, where it was previously unthinkable. do this and that will now allow them to drive their “digital transformation”.
In these times, regardless of the industry, whoever does things differently has the best chance of controlling the industry and coming out unscathed in times of crisis. It is up to us to live this pandemic now. Let’s take it as a good time to rethink the way fashion is made today, thinking about minimizing waste, optimizing digital channels and especially focusing on practicality over vanity, quality over price or quantity.