FashTech: The New Business of Fashion

The Business of Fashion (BOF) and McKinsey & Company ‘2018 State of Fashion Report’ (SOFR) projects that this year, " for the first time, more than half of apparel and footwear sales will originate outside of Europe and North America" foreshadowing a shift in the industry.  Technology has made that shift possible. Due to mobile commerce, online editorial exposure and a generally flattening economic landscape, consumers have more and faster access to trends. Finding a stylist, curating a look or purchasing products, even exclusive pieces, can all happen online with the click of a button.

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For this reason, entrepreneurs and disruptors in the industry should know about more than trends and aesthetics. As Fashion Technology (FashTech) grows, stylist need a pulse on its application for their craft. Girls in Fashion & Tech (GiFT) is addressing pipeline flaws that leave fashion professionals and other creatives at a disadvantage in a business climate that grows more heavily tech focused each year. 50% of current jobs will not exist by 2025 and 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't even been created yet, so there is a growing need to re-train the workforce, address the current skills gap and increase continuous learning.

The 2018 SOFR also notes that the fashion industry is undergoing a transformative shift, where consumers have a higher expectation for customer experience and place higher scrutiny on convenience, price, quality, newness and a personal touch. Over 60% of the key trends and disruptions influencing this industry transformation are directly linked to technology. Among other economic, consumer and industry changes, customers are:

  1. focusing on personalization

  2. looking to the web and platforms first for style inspiration and product research

  3. mobile obsessed

  4. benefiting from AI in product development and customer UX

  5. caring more about sustainability

  6. finding utility from the innovations in startups and startup culture

This phenomenon points to a need the fashion education market has not recalibrated to meet. And anticipated spend in cross border e-commerce will rise to $1 trillion by 2020 making diversity of background, expertise and thought, in addition to technology focused skills, more important. GiFT is addressing these gaps by exposing industry professionals to fashion as an interdisciplinary issue alongside technology and equipping students with the language and awareness necessary to address diversity, or the lack thereof, in the US and global market as part of their professional development. For more information, check out the BOF and McKinsey and Co. 2018 State of Fashion Report.