Technology is constantly adapting and progressing. If we compare the technology that was available 5 years ago to now, we see a huge difference. The ever-changing iPhone to the ability to speak on Facetime or Skype to someone on the other side of the world. Technology has allowed us to feel closer with the rest of the world. It is possible to see how clothes are made and manufactured rather than seeing them first in a shop.
How has technology changed the shopping experience?
Clothing store apps are easily accessible on a smartphone. It is possible to buy a new outfit in minutes and for it to arrive by the next day. The development of Instagram has encouraged the need to shop in this way. Celebrities and influencers show their daily outfit, tag the brand and allow us all to show their style immediately.
Apps such as ‘LiketToKnowIt’ and ‘21Buttons’ allow consumers to follow their favourite blogger and click the link to every element to their outfit. Gaining fashion inspiration is one of the benefits of Instagram but these apps eliminate the struggle of scrolling through websites trying to find a replica. Similarly, the ASOS app has a feature where you can find any outfit photo and it will try and match it with as many items as possible from the store. Technology like this has made shopping for clothes easy and attainable.
How has the fashion industry been affected by the advance in technology?
The advance in technology has contributed to the demise of local high streets. Taking COVID-19 lockdown in the UK as an example; it was still possible to purchase clothing items online when all non-essential stores were closed. We are able to view the latest collections and campaigns without walking past a shop window. However, some may argue this style of shopping is having a negative effect on us as consumers. We are therefore losing the social interaction we experience when shopping in a store.
Another example of technology impacting the fashion industry is how we first see the latest runway shows and campaigns. Since COVID-19, it has not been possible for shows, sporting, music, and many other events to have an audience. However, runway shows have been streaming online for consumers, magazines, designers and everyone in between to see. An example would be Victoria Beckham’s Spring/Summer 2021 Digital Presentation. This runway was streamed live on Victoria’s YouTube channel without an audience with models and videographers practicing social distancing.
It is available to watch here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJy7Crn7s9w
What does the future of fashion look like in the current climate?
This then asks the question as to whether or not in-store shopping, runway shows, and presentations should still continue when it’s so easy to watch live streams and online shop within seconds? I think we can all relate to how Zoom and Microsoft Teams were a crucial part of lockdown and kept us all connected. Could this be the future of communication?
However, it is evident that we need human interaction. It’s particularly important for those who live alone. Their only chance of human interaction in a day could be from a sales assistant. Lockdown was a key example of how feeling lonely can affect mental health. Being able to visit a store, have a feel for different textures and fabrics and engage in conversation can make for a very different shopping experience to online. Not only is it beneficial to our wardrobes to see clothes in person before purchasing, but most importantly for mental health. If all clothes shopping was completed online, the chances of people feeling lonely would certainly increase.
Technology has progressed and allowed us to feel closer to those around the world. The ability to shop a new outfit from the comfort of your home, your lunch break or a car journey demonstrates how far technology has come. However, it’s important to remember how much human interaction can benefit our mental health and make us feel happier. The development in the fashion industry will continue to progress whereas the in-person conversation can’t be beaten. It’s being able to balance both advances in technology and our basic knowledge of independence in order to feel comfortable.