What's the future of retail?


2 March 2019

What’s the future of retail?

“La mode c’est éphémère, dangereux et injuste” (fashion est ephemeral, dangerous and unfair) - Karl Lagerfeld. Though these are harsh words, they carry some truth. Fashion is exclusive versus inclusive, but perhaps the future of retail will make this change.

After all, we are all individuals with our own needs, shapes and sizes, and a DNA that makes us unique. Retail is shifting drastically today because it has passed on from being product-focussed to customer-focussed. Brands used to dictate trends and we were forced to embrace them. Today, we have the opportunity to decide, give feedback and express our choices, or the brand loses us.

Also, we have passed from a (relatively) limited choice of clothes that we would take off a rack to try on in a store, to basically unlimited choice (3 trillion dollar market, remember), of clothes that we can’t even try on before getting it: for size, color to face, color matching, shape…

We are also purchasing differently. Many brands have been accused of wasting water and material and even throwing tons of new clothes away to avoid devaluing their products. And now, finally, we know it.

Some of us even turn to second-hand purchases, in order to form part of a circular economy. On-demand production is growing with pioneers like Amazon. Many brands are experimenting with new materials that are more sustainable.

There is also the great chance of big data, which is both good and bad. What has changed now? We have all become little mice and our every move is being analyzed when we navigate online. We little mice produce big data. And artificial intelligence tries to make something out of us: see article How predictable are we?

I wonder though if big data is enough to make us take that wheel and go round and round consuming blindly like before when we were ignorant. I like to think we are becoming educated shoppers who are beginning to know who we are and what’s best for us. Educated shoppers who little by little will increase what useful clothes we have in our wardrobe, in the shape and colors that suit us.

I also like to think that by conscientiating ourselves we will consume fashion more reasonably, being accountable and making the fashion sector accountable for their acts.

And the show goes on….

©I-DYLIC. Article by Eleonore Vadon