Lots of changes are happening in the fashion industry lately. As new consumption and lifestyle habits are shaping up, the changes could also have long-term repercussions on consumer trends and their relationship with the luxury world.

Here are the top five emerging trends we can already witness:

1. Embracing digital transformation

Faced with the closure of stores, brands are offering online service with an impeccable customer experience from the promotion of the product offer to secure payment and delivery. To attract more customers, luxury groups are improving their digital platforms and creating a new customer journey to fully master the customer experience and preserve their brand image. This involves innovative initiatives, such as the creation of ephemeral virtual stores or “pop-up shops.”

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2. Limiting budgets

Brands are already reviewing the way they participate to shows and the way they communicate. Some are choosing to skip the regular fashion calendar, postpone their shows, or reduce the number of collections. For example, the Milan Fashion Week that was supposed to take place in June will merge men’s shows with women’s shows during the September fashion show.

In addition, faced with the crisis, retail groups are attempting to cut costs. As such, PR, communications and event budgets will be the first to be impacted. With sales currently low, many brands have suspended advertising altogether, although some continue to use social media influencers to promote products.

Gucci’s creative director confirmed that the brand will reduce the runways shows from five seasonal runways each years to only two shows, one in fall and the other in spring. Saint Laurent, owned by the same parent company as Gucci, announced that it will not be following the traditional fashion calendar for the year 2020 and will reshape its schedule. From his side Michael Kors decided to leave the official fashion week calendar and follow Saint Laurent and Gucci and declared its new plan to release two collections every year. Prada canceled the resort show planned for May in Japan. Versace and Gucci canceled their US show scheduled in May. Beginning September 2021, Off-White will skip the Paris fashion week and present the collection during the month of January.

3. Shifting towards more responsible luxury

The phenomenon of “revenge spending”- a new retail term for the post-lockdown rebound, observed in China, in particular during the reopening on April 11 of the Hermès store in Canton — which achieved $2.7 million dollars in turnover in a single day might spread to other countries. Even if it is too early to draw conclusions, the example of Hermès is nevertheless interesting. It clearly shows an inclination toward more timeless luxury and an ethically committed house.

4. Endorsing brands with a mission

Even before the start of the pandemic, research and studies showed that millennials are influenced by sustainable development in their buying behavior. People are thinking a lot more around endorsing companies that have a mission. Vivienne Westwood for instance has been a particular champion of sustainability, teaming up with green organizations and making her business more environmentally efficient.

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5. Opting for virtual shows, the next big thing

Virtual experiences are developing. Be it virtual clothing, virtual catwalks or virtual showrooms, brands are now engaging with immersive experiences. Digital fashion is also gaining traction.

In the coming months, the organization of large gatherings will indeed remain limited. Consequently, more virtual shows will take place. Hermes will livestream a digital experience for spring 2021 collection for men’s Fashion Week this July. Burberry, Dior and Ermenegildo Zegna declared they are going to host “Phygital” shows that are going to have no or limited audience along with live streaming shows. Gucci will premiere its resort collection 2021 for women’s and men’s in a digital show form on the last day of Milan’s fashion week. Georgio Armani group will present its fashion show in September; a live-stream of a physical show with limited audience.

Is it a new era for the fashion industry as we know it or just a phase? It is very difficult to predict the “next”; still too early to judge.

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