Blockchain, A.I. and Other Game-Changing Fashion Tech in 2019

The world’s most significant and profitable industries are facing massive changes thanks to advances in technology. More specifically, blockchain, artificial intelligence (A.I.), new types of financial transactions and a few other big leaps in tech are responsible for these ongoing changes to how many industries do business. Looking at the fashion industry in particular, these are some of the ways in which we’d expect to see specific changes come about.

Blockchain Will Fight Counterfeit Products & Streamline The Fashion Supply Chain

The distributed ledger technology called blockchain is mostly known for being the foundational tech behind cryptocurrency. More generally, a blockchain is basically a string of chronologically arranged code. Each new block of code on the chain requires every computer with access to the blockchain to approve the addition of that data via a shared cryptographic solution, which translates to peer-verified security in every data transfer, addition or modification. It all happens nearly instantaneously, without any of the red tape commonly attached to security protocols. And this same tech can be used to protect products and ensure quality in the fashion industry.

Each individual fashion item can be tagged with labels attached to blockchains, which allows everyone in the supply chain to verify its origin, ownership and every time it has changed hands. The LuxTag Project took to Medium to detail how some designers are already taking advantage of this potentially revolutionary product integrity solution. Back in 2017, Londoner Martine Jarlgaard produced the first smart label-tagged garments. Scanning the tags gave users time-stamped info on everything about the garments – from raw material acquisition and factory information down to how the finished products were packaged and delivered. Similarly, fashion retailer Babyghost used near-field communication (NFC) chips to tag its 2017 summer and spring collection. This allowed customers to use the NFC tags to find out everything they wanted and needed to know about every Babyghost product.

Apart from ensuring product integrity, this can also push fashion labels to be more honest about where they get their raw materials, how they conduct labor practices and everything else customers in 2019 (and beyond) will be concerned about. Essentially, information sharing and supply chain transparency are about to become realities in the global fashion industry. This is a potentially huge boon to the fashion supply chain, the fight against counterfeit goods, and corporate social responsibility.

Competitive Payment Options Will Dictate Retail Preferences

In recent years, payment platforms such as Paypal, Amazon Pay, Payoneer, Venmo and Dwolla have played increasingly large roles not just in online retail, but in various other spaces such as vacation rentals, gaming and service industries. The reason is simple: these payment options offer the convenience and security that some more traditional methods lack. By and large, newer, more innovative payment platforms are now making things even easier for both customers and product and service providers.

For instance, the service called Paysafe Pay Later is potentially revolutionary in allowing customers to delay payment until after their ordered products have been shipped, all in a way that doesn’t impact the company’s cashflow. A New Zealand-based gaming company details how online casinos now use the Paysafecard, which is similar but slightly faster to use than VISA and other debit/credit cards. Independent of bank, card or other personal financial information, Paysafe instead relies on a single, 16-digit pin to credit money to a customer’s account and verify transactions. It’s currently seeing heavy use in gaming and retail – two of the biggest revenue sources on the web. And it’s just one example of a new payment service that could prove to be a deciding factor in how customers choose which fashion retailers to shop from in the future.

Nobal’s smart mirror solution for fitting rooms

Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything

There are several reasons why Intelistyle cannot help but cover how A.I. will change the face of retail. For one thing, A.I. algorithms are responsible for well-informed and relevant product suggestions for online retail customers. For another, A.I. can be used to predict trends and product demand, allowing retailers to be better at managing inventory and catering to customers’ needs.

Though they may seem simple, even those small perks can help retailers avoid serious problems – such as, for example, the massive surplus Under Armour faced last year when it overestimated product demand and wound up $1.3 billion the hole! And even this is only scratching the surface of the benefits A.I. can provide to retailers.

Examples could go on and on, but even the relatively brief write-ups above provide a picture of how a small handful of tech innovations can and will revolutionize the fashion retail business.

Clothing Rental Market In The Era of Fast-Fashion

Fast fashion has tried to answer to women pain to renew their closet often, by overproducing bad quality apparel… says Nadia Khattab founder of La Garde-Robe, an online clothing rental business for women.

Talk to us about your latest venture and what excites you about it?

In October, we were finalists of the Mass Challenge 2018 accelerator program in Switzerland and we ended up the 10th top start-up of the cohort. Very encouraging result and promising for the future. We are sponsoring several events in Switzerland this year and we are developing our pop-up strategy. We unfortunately can’t share more details for now. Stay tuned.

 

What is the profile of your customers and how do you see that developing?

Our average customer is 32 years old. She works quite hard and even if she doesn’t, she has a busy life with kids and family. Time for her is value. She likes to try new styles and loves to discover new designers and brands. She has a couple of events in a year time related to work, weddings and parties for which she is really happy to rent an outfit. Sometimes, she decides to drop her closet at La Garde-Robe LGR and enjoy the concept of making another woman happy.

How do you think fast-fashion has impacted the clothing rental market?

Fast fashion has tried to answer to women pain to renew their closet often, by overproducing bad quality apparel, with a designer look-alike style but at the cost of the ecology. The user experience in the long run is bad because people feel like their clothes are tissues and understand more and more the environmental impact (Burberry & H&M scandals).

Our customers are just getting annoyed about it. They look for alternative & less polluting solutions. The rental market satisfies the pain of renewal, match fast-fashion price and is green. The cherry on the cake is it helps promote designers and new brands.

 

How do you see the future of the clothing rental market?

In the US, the rental market represents 1% of women wardrobe. We are not there in Europe but I believe it is reachable in the next 5 years.

I see new rental businesses growing everyday like mushrooms which is really amazing. It is just answering to people’s needs.

 

What are the hottest initiatives in Fashion Sustainability right now?

The fashion revolution: it is a global movement that runs all year long born after the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013. They launch impact campaigns like #whomademyclothes last year.

 

What are the biggest trends in the fashion industry that retailers should keep an eye on right now and why?

Trends come from the customers. For example, body diktats are weaker than ever. You see it looking at plus-size Instagrammers becoming super-stars on social media.

The market is giving a direct feedback to brands. The fashion industry needs to adapt the sizing and create more alternatives to regular fitting. I think it is a huge market. When we launched LGR we received so many calls from women struggling to find a dress that fits right.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as a business leader?

I put myself in my customer shoes. I create scenarios like: I have one hour break to find a dress for my date tonight… After one hour lost in the crowd of high street shops, I realise you can’t find anything really great for a decent budget. Except if you have 1000 CHF budget. But those women are not our market…

Bitnami