Fashion. When you see, hear and say that word, it resonates differently in each person. As fashion is seen by one, it is different by the other. As before and now, fashion serves a greater purpose in the design of our lives; being as important and essential as food, water and housing. Centered around this are the retailers, who need to process all this information and deliver to the consumer a product that is in accordance with their desires.
And, in part, the explanation for this is in a paradigm shift. The global notion, that fine and sophisticated fashion is exclusive to men and women who are suitable for “catwalk modeling” has long prevailed. For years, much of the population has not seen a reflection of itself in the fashion world.
In recent years, we have seen a much-needed shift in perspective on this issue; you can attribute much of that credit to the abundance of the most diverse thoughts and lifestyles that have been accepted into our society. Cultural influences in fashion are much more prevalent, as this is a privileged area not only to celebrate cultural ties, but also to educate.
Moving from an era where uniformity was the norm, to an era where creativity, expression and freedom can be expressed, fashion is the best vehicle for that. Opinion leaders who understand this especially are usually young urban people who can bring their perspective and energy to the clothing industry and create what is yet to be seen. We saw this in the increase not only of women and POC in executive positions, but also of total ownership of brands in the interest of complementing the largest possible number of people within the marginalized demographics.
In opening the market, all it did was quadruple the fashion industry’s revenue by showing that this customer base is profitable. Hip Hop is an excellent example. This is a musical genre born organically from New York’s Black and Latino neighborhoods; we saw that the fashion sector has evolved from street fashion to haute couture.
In the 1980s, we saw names like Run-DMC, LL Cool J and others put their styles on display, displaying sneakers, chains and hats. Where hip hop is today with its Kanye Wests, A $ AP Rocky’s, Pharrell and others will be the figures for Calvin Klein and Dior Homme. It would be impossible to conceive of that notion in the early 1980s that rappers would have this kind of association with high fashion, but, therefore, fashion is a gateway to capture the times. It is not just “something to wear”, but fashion can be seen as a barometer that measures the levels of the social climate in humanity.
How to deal with demand in such a dynamic universe
That said, we return to the previous question. How fashion companies can cope with this dynamic universe. Trends are constantly changing and people go to stores and the internet in search of what’s new, what their friends or influencers are wearing.
“Mudar” is the key word in this written piece. “Progress”, “Change”, “Evolution”, all terms that were used to describe the instrumental continuation of fashion. And with that, it calls for companies to adapt to the new demand cycles that occur.
With that said, what was once a proven entity in the past may not be as effective in the future. Forecasting is a method on which it has depended for many decades, but the more fashion continues to evolve, the more beneficial it is for retailers to seek alternative methods of replenishment in the interest of the continuous change in daily demand.
And the evolution is in looking at the real demand, that is, what is happening now in stores. Retailers have to watch their sales on a daily basis, as there is valuable information about which fashion trends are at the moment. Or, on the other hand, it is possible to identify what went out of trend.
The public sends a daily message to companies. It is up to them to capture these messages through sales and inventory data and, from there, make purchases and distributions that are immediate responses in this communication.
The forecast will look at what happened in the past, in 3, 6 or 12 months. If your planning considers only this information, the impact of an important event among young people, for example, will not be on your radar.
When you look at the real demand, you are looking at what happens now, capturing all the movements that happen immediately. The good news is that there is technology for this, capable of transforming this data into information for decision making.
Author: Maurice D. Proffit