Fashion Innovations & Digital Solutions: Navigate style, sustainability, and industry trends

In this blog post, we share some unique insights from our collaboration with leading brands at the forefront of fashion innovation. 
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"Style is something that each of us already has, all we need to do is find it," Diane Von Furstenburg once said, a mantra that has inspired many of our fashion projects at oneUp. Envision a future where your wardrobe not only understands your style but also enhances it. This vision is rapidly becoming a reality for consumers and presents a golden opportunity for fashion brands. 

The Fashion Landscape - Challenges and Opportunities for Innovation

The fashion industry stands at a crossroads, with its environmental impact under scrutiny as never before. The rise in garment production by 400% over the last twenty years is alarming. The average garment lifecycle is startlingly brief, often discarded after just 7-10 wears. This trend, coupled with the fact that over half of our wardrobes are underutilized, underscores the urgent need for sustainable consumer choices in fashion.

The Expectation of Hyper-Personalization

The online shopping behavior of consumers, especially millennials, further complicates this landscape. More than half struggle to find items that truly reflect their personal style, leading to a cycle of short-lived fashion choices and dissatisfaction. 

In a world where Spotify knows your music taste better than your best friend, it's no wonder that 71% of consumers now expect fashion brands to offer similarly tailored experiences. Yet, 76% express dissatisfaction when brands fail to provide such personalization, indicating a significant gap that brands must bridge to meet evolving expectations.

Identifying the Early Adopter

Our research zeroes in on consumers that are facing challenges head-on and actively searching for solutions, the early adopter. This led us to a particular persona: the style-conscious yet sustainability-aware individuals. 

The focus of our research zeroes in on the early adopters – style-conscious and sustainability-aware millennials and zoomers. They face the challenge of balancing trendy, budget-friendly fashion with their ethical considerations. They are overwhelmed by a plethora of choices and information and annoyed by the time-consuming search for the perfect outfit. This demographic, primarily aged 20-35 and numbering approximately 101 million, often gravitates towards brands like ASOS, Zara, and H&M. Sustainability  holds significance for this individual,  yet it is more of a nice-to-have  that can provide a secondary benefit to a solution rather than being the primary goal. 

Digital Inspiration and Style Discovery

Sources of Inspiration

Platforms like Instagram (23%) and TikTok (12%) significantly influence our target audience's style choices, followed by Pinterest, TV, and fashion advertisements. Remarkably, in this digital era, real-life encounters still remain the primary source of inspiration, with 25% looking to the streets for the newest trends.

This quest for inspiration is not a static pursuit; it's a dynamic evolution, with over half of our respondents refreshing their style biennially. 53% plans what to wear ahead of time, but rarely uses digital tools as a fashion guide due to the lack of intuitive and suitable solutions. 

What the customer wants

To meet the needs of our target persona and exceed their expectations, they told us what type of value digital solutions should offer:

  • Assisted outfit creation: creating outfits based on an item they currently own or suggest an outfit for a specific occasion.
  • AI-Powered mix and match: reimagining new looks with current wardrobe pieces, giving a new purpose to their current collection.
  • Curated recommendations: offering smart suggestions for new items that complement and enhance their existing style.
  • Brand agnostic collection: using the collections of multiple brands is a definite must-have for any solution in this space.  

Opportunities to Innovate

This gap presents a unique opportunity for innovation that caters to these unmet needs. The future of fashion hinges on solutions that prioritize environmental awareness through promoting less consumption and immersive digital experiences. These should feel as personal as receiving advice from a trusted friend and offer a sense of emotion and playfulness, whilst feeling as innovative and forward-thinking as the latest tech. 

Concluding Thoughts: Seize the Opportunity

At oneUp, we are not mere observers of the future of fashion; we take an active role in shaping it. We are currently working on a project addressing this opportunity that we will be launching in April. We will share an update and more insights then.

Interested in learning more?

We've created a Future of Fashion deck where we highlight the upcoming trends in 2024 that most fashion brands should be aware of. Check it out below!

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oneUp is a business model innovation agency specialising in helping corporates turn the world's significant disruptions into opportunities.

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