Correlating Fashion and Numbers

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There is a great deal of questions springing up when it comes to the fashion industry. Like any other business, it has a world entirely of its own and does not hesitate to showcase it. While majority of the population might be convinced by the quintessential work exhibited in shopping malls and hoardings all around the world, only a few are aware of the exertion that goes on when the curtains are down.


Talking through examples and cues will help us understand the subject more clearly. Often when we buy an outfit for ourselves, we think we liked that particular outfit because of its colour or pattern or layout or various other possible reasons. What if there can be a possibility that, Anna Wintour, sitting in her sunbathed office cabin on the Upper East Side, directedus to make the purchase? One may think, ‘Who is Anna Wintour and why should anybody listen to her? These questions may seem unnecessary, contradict popular opinion but there is a correlation which leads us to canvassing a wide area of expertise used for the execution of day-today fashion trends and technologies.

More often than not, fashion is associated with whimsical persona, it appears as if it’s deeply rooted in a language where nothing is indefinite but one where everything can be proven, thus eliminating any form of ambiguity, i.e. language of numbers.Although numbers and fashion may seem like an odd couple, it is all a numbers game. At every stage I see myself turning to the familiar environment of numbers to come up with all work-related solutions, from the inception of designs to the processing, execution and the positioning of the product.

Here is a quick four-step guide depicting the impact numbers have on fashion.

  • Trend Forecasting: Identifying a trend is similar to looking for an algorithm representing a thread of commonality in a large and cluttered data set. Past data can be studied to extrapolate the upcoming trends, which are constantly developing and growing, commonly referred to as Trend Forecasting. The fashion choices that people make have been picked out by the fashion maestros seasons in advance. It is then funneled down through different channels from the temples of fashion to the high streets, brought to the masses by clever subliminal marketing and then, added to people’s lust list. So even though we feel like the jack-of-all-trades when we pick out an outfit all by ourselves, which may seem like a completely independent decision with no variables influencing the sartorial, wants, that is actually an illusion.
  • Production Planning: The dilemma coming to light when planning production like which sizes are demanded most, which colours will catch the customer’s eye, should the inseam measurement of this jumpsuit be 34” or closer to 34.5” are all answered with past data. We study the customer buying patterns to plan production so we can best meet the customer demands.
  • Data Backed Marketing: Marketing is also heavily influenced by data. Of course we feed off the information we observe from other platforms regarding marketing algorithms and we analyse past marketing efforts to filter better our target audience, cities and their interests so more targeted marketing is possible which would lead to successful sales.
  • Statistical needs:The dilemma coming to light when picking up an outfit like which sizes are demanded most? Which colours will catch the customer’s eye? Should the inseam measurement of this jumpsuit be 34” or closer to 34.5”?

All this leads us to wonder that whether seemingly flippant and frivolous personal fashion experiences answer these questions with accuracy or does the remedy manifests itself simply in numbers, in the form of Big Data. As surprising as it may sound every decision is process based and data driven and can be found deep in Aryabhatta’s teachings.

To me, working in a fashion company armed with mathematics tools seems immensely natural. Yes, of course, designs inspire me but I tend to look for patterns, lines and symmetry, which provides me with a form of order. This is not an attempt to de-romanticize your perspective and remove every element of creativity from fashion, but instead, to unveil the exemplary synergy between fashion and numbers, self-expression and discipline display.

Concluding with the fact that fashion choices that we make on a day to day basis are not the ones consciously made by us but rather armed with a massive bag of numbers.