It’s 2018, and the landscape of the fashion industry is challenging and uncertain. Department stores are struggling to keep themselves afloat, while the growing success of online sales provides a constant threat to brick-and-mortar stores. Piggy in the middle? Fashion start-ups – finding brand new ways to connect with their consumers.
Many experts agree that they key to a long-lasting career in fashion is to constantly be able to innovate and move with the times. This is great news for start-up companies, who have the flexibility to explore new types of talent, partnerships and ways of working within their business. Their operating models can be a source of inspiration for bigger brands, with many finding it difficult to become completely digitally native.
For this year, many industry professionals from both start-ups and established brands are expected to be delivering the very best in terms of innovation, all the way from design through to after-sale. Navigating through the changing state of the market it not an easy task, but if done well, will certainly pay off. Collaborations could be a good way to do this, with brands like H&M joining forces with Google to gain insight into data for customised design. Continuing to think outside of the insular fashion box is a sure-fire strategy to breathe new life into all types of fashion business, introducing new digital and technological capabilities into the fashion world.
Although the presence of online sales won’t be going away any time soon, being e-friendly doesn’t always mean you’re a shoo-in for immediate success. However, being solely available online won’t ensure this either, meaning start-ups could be left feeling overwhelmed or unsure of the best plan of action. In this case, consumer desires cannot be forgotten – they are now more demanding then ever before, requiring both a meaningful connection with who they buy from, but also a sense of ease to the shopping journey. If a balanced mix between in-store and online can be maintained, start-ups can harness the best of both worlds – harnessing complex technology and upholding customer service.
Fashion start-ups may have the best seat in the house for now, but whether your business is freshly made or seasoned with experience, ‘embrace’ is the word to remember – investment and experimentation with new ideas will all help to drive crucial innovation.
Anton Dell is the CEO and founder of The Anton Dell Fashion Consultancy, matching fashion brands with agents, distributors and reps worldwide. The consultancy is the first of its kind, and after over two decades, is recognised by the fashion industry as the leading authority in the world for researching agents and distributors for brands.