What’s the latest fashion trend? Is it wearing black or donning hoop earrings?
Nope. It’s the use of technology and innovation to completely change the world of clothing retail as we know it.
While PacSun, Quicksilver, the Walking Company, True Religion, and other big-name clothing retailers suffered bankruptcy, other fashion stores are alive and well.
Countless startups and organizations are approaching the fashion industry in creative ways. Innovation isn’t just for the fashion designers anymore. Now, you can find all sorts of new changes everywhere in the clothing companies.
What does the future of apparel retail look like? Here are some possibilities:
This San Francisco startup knows its target audience is short on time.
San Franciscans are too busy working to find the time to drop by Target or any other retailer for a new outfit.
Stitch Fix solves this problem by choosing the clothes for their customers. New shoppers have to take a survey and enter their sizes and a few questions about themselves. Then, the company will do the rest.
It will find clothes of specific shapes and styles to suit each customer’s needs. Whether someone is in need of a business casual or cocktail party outfit, Stitch Fix has got them covered.
The company also offers integration with customers’ Pinterest, where they can add photos of fashion styles they like. These Pinterest boards will then be viewed by a Stitch Fix stylist, who integrates the style into the customer’s shipment.
It offers five items and flat-rate shipping of $20. Customers decide shipment dates and frequency (e.g. every two weeks, once a month or once every two months), and upon receiving the shipment which clothes they’d like to keep.
On top of a styling fee being credited, if a customer decides to keep all five items, the company will deduct 25% of the total cost of those items.
In today’s day and age, speed is everything.
People want instant gratification – fast internet, food, communication, commutes, and everything else. Who has time to wait for things when people’s everyday lives are so busy?
Well, fashion can be fast too. This UK-based company only takes two weeks to transform an idea into a full-fledged item.
Mainly targeting 16-30 year olds, BooHoo currently sell to over 100 countries and had sales in 2017 of almost £300m. It’s clothing ranges are own-branded, consisting of 9000 clothing lines.
Boohoo’s marketing strategy mainly consists of content marketing through it’s website, as well as a strong presence on all major social media channels.
The company also offer Boohoo Premier, an unlimited next-day delivery service (midnight cut-off) and Sunday delivery for an annual fee.
Boohoo has become a force to be reckoned with, putting companies like Zara and H&M on the ropes.
Many women struggle to find clothing in bigger sizes.
That’s where ModCloth comes in. This San Francisco-based retailer caters to plus-size women. Capitalizing on this unique niche has made them very successful. They have plenty of happy shoppers who once felt alienated by a clothing industry that didn’t suit their needs.
What’s even more noteworthy is that ModCloth has banned the words “plus size” on its website. The company now refers to larger clothes as “extended size.”
ModCloth has previously launched several crowdsourcing initiatives, such as
- Style Gallery: Customers send photos of themselves wearing ModCloth items, which are posted on the ModCloth blog, allowing other customers to see what the item looks like when worn by other customers.
- Fit For Me: A feature on the ModCloth app, which gives customers suggestions of items that will fit their exact body shape, based on their inputted measurements and other customers’ review of each item based on their own experience.
- Be The Buyer: This program launched in 2009 allowed users to vote for clothing designs they wanted to be available for purchase on the company website.
- Make the Cut: A contest that was run in 2012 where users submitted their own clothing design sketches, and the winner would be chosen by other users’ votes.
One of the world’s top shoe companies is stepping up its game.
The athletic sneaker store recently decided to try something new, bold, and exciting: 3-D printed and customized shoes.
Adidas partnered with a startup known as Carbon to help manufacture these high-tech sneakers. The technology might be more advanced, but it helps boost speed and efficiency by cutting down on manufacturing time.
A sole that once cost 90 minutes to create now only takes a mere 20 minutes. Talk about efficiency!
Workout clothes or everyday casual wear? Why not both?
Lululemon is in the unique “athleisure” category — clothes made for exercise and casual wear. Now people can go to the gym or their yoga class in the same outfit they wore to work.
The company primarily focuses on womenswear, but it has a pants line that’s quite popular with men. The pants are designed to take into account men’s and women’s biological differences – making it much more comfortable for male fitness gurus.
RedBubble is the website for anyone who loves graphic tees. It functions as an online marketplace that prints user submitted artwork.
It offers all sorts of different artwork to suit people’s styles and interests. Whether someone wants to express their love for Star Wars, Pokémon, or Batman, or want something funny, edgy, or artistic.
With millions of designs from different artists, everyone can find something unique. RedBubble also offers stickers, tote bags, duvet covers, scarves, hoodies, and dozens of other items featuring users’ favorite artwork.
Body positivity is all the rage.
Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign was a prime example of rebuke toward brands such as Victoria’s Secret and featured women in all shapes and sizes. UnderArmour, Always, and Nike have launched similar campaigns to empower every girl and woman.
Aerie is the latest to join the battle. Their #AerieReal campaign featured models that weren’t airbrushed or photoshopped. This company has become known for it’s focus on women’s empowerment and natural beauty. Being a sub-brand of American Eagle Outfitters, Aerie targets 15-25 year olds and sells lingerie, sleepwear, loungewear, active wear and accessories.
Rent the Runway
A lot of people wish to be able to wear the fancy dresses they see on television, but cannot afford them.
Rent the Runway makes impressive high-end fashion affordable for the everyday person. Instead of buying these extravagant clothes, people can just rent them. It offers nearly 500 different luxury designers each with their unique flair and style.
Rent the Runway charges $30 for most single-use purchases. Dedicated customers can purchase a monthly subscription of 4 rental items for $89 per month, or a subscription of unlimited rentals for $159 per month.
Shopping for menswear can be such a pain. There are far too many rules to remember.
Suit jacket sleeves must end before the long sleeve undershirt. Top buttons can’t be too tight or too loose. The waist must be loose enough for movement, but not form a muffin top. Who can keep up with all these rules?
Luckily, Bonobos aims to help consumers solve this problem. Their “Guideshops” allow shoppers to try before they buy. No longer will men worry about needing to take their shirts to a tailor afterward.
This New York-based company is so innovative that Walmart purchased it for $310 million in 2017.
Amazon does it all.
The company initially began as an online bookseller, but soon expanded to pretty much everything under the sun.
Now, the e-commerce giant is one of the biggest companies in the world and CEO Jeff Bezos makes more money in a single minute than most people make in an entire year. That’s because the company is continually finding new ways to change the game.
Alexa and the Kindle Fire were both significant developments. What’s Amazon’s latest endeavor? Prime Wardrobe is the company’s attempt at a clothing service. It allows customers to try before they buy. They get items shipped to them and can return if they are unsatisfied.
Now that’s innovation!
Much like men’s fashion, there are way too many rules to follow when it comes to eyeglasses.
Do you have an oval face or a square face? How are you supposed to know which frame best suits your face? It’s almost overwhelming trying to find the right fit.
Warby Parker makes the process much more comfortable. Customers take a short and straightforward six-question quiz to determine which options work best for them.
Warby Parker will also send their customers five different glasses on try on. They have five days to return the ones they don’t want.
Everlane is doing something unique by making clothing costs transparent. Shoppers know precisely how to calculate prices. They receive a robust picture of everything from the material and labor expenses.
This startup earned about $51 million in 2016 online sales in online sales alone. The clothing company now has two physical stores in the U.S. The first is in its hometown of San Francisco and the other in the Big Apple itself, New York City.
Imagine eBay or Craigslist without all the unnecessary hassle.
Poshmark is a handy app that allows users to buy and sell clothing and accessories from the simplicity of their phone. Customers snap a picture of the item, name a price, and wait for someone to buy.
This app is highly appropriate for the Instagram age. People love pictures, and scrolling through Poshmark is like viewing a gallery of beautiful clothes. The app also has a social aspect as customers can see what their friends are purchasing or selling.
The fashion industry changes in many ways.
It’s not just about the latest in-season style or trend; it’s about discovering new ways to innovate, market, and stay ahead of the competition. Each company is trying to capitalize on the $3 trillion industry.
There are countless shoppers out there who want to find the right clothing for them – do you also have what it takes to disrupt this industry?