The Four Top Fashion Business Trends For 2017


Innovative marketing in the fashion industry has come a long way. When once something like celebrity collaborations was considered cutting edge, the industry is now wowing consumers with a steady stream of new experiences and concepts. 2017 is set to raise consumer expectations even further, so get to grips with these four top fashion business trends and walk into 2017 like a boss!

A term famously coined by the fashion industry, season-less collections will gain even more momentum in 2017. Say goodbye to Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter and say hello to collections that cross previously frustrating geographic barriers. Season-less has also shifted consumers' mindsets towards fashion that suits their lifestyle rather than a singular occasion, for example outfits that take you from your morning yoga session through to late night drinks (think all day loungewear). This renewed way of dressing comes from the mainly consumer-driven desire to buy less and reduce our footprint on the earth. As Vivienne Westwood phrased in 2014 "Buy less, choose well".

I have huge respect for industry stalwart Tommy Hilfiger - talk about continually reinventing the wheel, many times over! His response to the huge market trend of fashion immediacy, other wise known as "see now - buy now" is revolutionary and should put anyone under the age of 50 running a fashion business to shame. Hilfiger's "Tommy Pier", an event hosted during New York Fashion Week last September on Pier 16 in Lower Manhattan, New York, was an experience unlike any other. Driven by celebrities and social media, Tommy Hilfiger invited the consumer to be a part of the brand and buy what they were seeing all around them immediately via a shoppable live stream. This was a huge risk for sure, but one might argue that it is far less risker than the traditional wholesale model of forecasting what you "might" sell 6 months down the track from now, placing orders with your factory making sure you meet minimums and then finally putting it out to the masses, only to find that "millennial pink" cropped wide leg pants aren't en pointe anymore! Just like Tommy Hilfiger, big international players across all categories from luxury to fast-fashion, such as Burberry, Rebecca Minkoff, Tom Ford and Topshop, tried their hand at this model with great success and I have no doubt that this model may well become the norm in 2017 and beyond. 

In this day and age time is the ultimate luxury and you need to give your customer a really good reason to spend more of this precious commodity in your space, store or site. So regardless of whether your retail space is online, offline, or a pop-up, it needs to provide your customer with a unique experience. For example, you might consider offering bikram yoga classes to go along with your customers' bi-monthly purchase of black 3/4 leggings. Other examples we've seen include baristas serving single-origin coffee and in-store 5-star dining experiences. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes along in 2017!

These are just three of many terms flying around related to responsible fashion practices, a massive area of focus within the industry, and as a passionate sustainability advocate I hope they will become standard practices in the very near future. Responsible standards are a key priority for a rising majority of fashion consumers so what's most important is that the industry articulates what it's doing in a way that aids consumer comprehension. American brand Reformation is a perfect example of a brand making its sustainable marketing fashionable to its customers through communications such as in-store slogans and email newsletters that always have a proactive eco slant. This might seem like a daunting area to get involved in, but, like anything in business, you just need to start small. So have a think about easy wins, like using less water at the studio. Or maybe turning those fabric offcuts into a beautiful "gift with purchase" eye-mask to complement a purchase of a silk slip - a concept implemented by my sustainably savvy client NATALIJA.

Already planning to switch from traditional seasons to a season-less model this year, maybe you have already started to think a little greener? I would love to hear what you have started implementing in your fashion business, so please comment below and tell me all about it. You may also like to subscribe to my mailing list to be the first to know about future forecasts.