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3 Ways to Disrupt the Disruption in the Fashion Industry Only those brave ones who accurately reflect the zeitgeist or have the courage to self-disrupt will emerge as winners

By Dattatraya Kadikar

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Halay Alex/Shutterstock via BI

Disruption is the central tenet of the fashion Industry. Finding the axis of stability—as one struggles to sustain by the existential quicksand of question that traps any budding or established "fashionprenuer'—is a great challenge. In order to survive in this ever-changing wilderness of glamorous catwalks, luxury hides and limelight, one needs to have a better perspective about what it means by the sustenance of brand and leverage the change as an opportunity to broaden the avenues of growth. Fashion industry's globalized market that is now said to generate over $3 trillion annually, which includes a contribution from apparel of around $1,5 trillion, and in order to cut a slice of that humongous pie, here are few dimensions in which one needs to think over.

Converging Rising Cost, Newer Technology and Dynamic Productivity

Riding on human's insatiable desire for the new, with all that skilful effort and craftsmanship, designers create something extraordinary. But the story never ends with just creation. It's only the beginning. Every creation incurs a cost in the form of time, effort and money to create in the first place, followed by its journey to reach the end consumer, which in turn defines that price that you demand.

The existential fight to minimize this cost, and maximize the reach, is being fought on newer grounds with the advent of modern-day technologies with cautious optimism in the face of uncertainty of demand. Fashionprenuers need to keep an eye on various indicators pointing to clouds on the horizon that could somewhat dampen or enlighten the growth prospects. As the macroeconomic landscape shifts, seek to protect your brand from slower growth by implementing "shock-proofing" moves such as focusing more on being nimble, boosting productivity and increasing efficiency. In order to ensure that these interventions deliver sustainable benefits over the longer term, one should seek to couple productivity enhancements with necessary innovation efforts, such as analytics-driven decision making, the automation of production using artificial intelligence, a review of the omnichannel footprint, and possible reorganization of supply channel for greater agility. The technology could be a great enabler to reap rewards in terms of outsize performance. As more and more people turn to buy designer goods online, fashionpreneurs need to find a balance between in-person sales and online sales.

Trust and Transparency, not just Fashion but Relationship

World of Consumers is not just guided by customers whom one can sell the dream of ever-new fashion and luxury. Customers today need assurances. One needs to be fully transparent about the claims about the quality of the product. Trust is a currency, which is very important to fuel the growth engine. Fashionprenuer needs to understand that their creation is not just the creator's expression but also of the consumer who chooses to wear it as an expression of thoughtfulness and care. More and more customers are becoming aware of the effects of the fashion industry on the environment and are looking for sustainable fashion and ethical fashion.

And thus sharing of information makes the consumers more empowered. Regular audits about raw materials that are insourced, manufacturing quality control checklist, the market reach should be proactively shared to the informed customer. When this is done, the customer is satisfied that he is also making a positive contribution to saving the environment.

Feeling the Pulse of Consumer

With the soaring demand for making products more accessible and product trials immediate, the challenges are immense. Fashionprenuers need to carefully analyze, bisect the needs and then with surgical precision divide the consumers into various segments. It will help in developing solutions tailored to the demands of consumers, thus bringing the revolutionary change in your design and delivery. There is now an emphasis on bespoke fashion to avoid huge wastes attributed to the fashion industry and more and savvier consumers are looking for unique and bespoke designs that can be reused or upcycled.

Take the example of the environmentally-conscious millennial, called the woke up generation Z, who are asking the assumptions behind ownership. The subscription-based shared economy is at rage where circulation through resale offers a more sustainable way to shop luxury. Fashionprenuers can successfully negate the negative impact of mindless consumerism that has reached its nadir and brings in light new answers to consumers questions.

To complete the full circle, creativity and self-expression encapsulated in your brand image need to meet the aspiration's curve of clients in all segments to successfully establish and enlarge the business growth. Journey ahead in the industry will be a journey of awakening after the reckoning of the past, shaped by the forces of consumer shifts linked to technology, social causes and trust issues that cause the quakes of disruption leading to the evolution of the newer landscapes of the fashion industry. Only those brave ones who accurately reflect the zeitgeist or have the courage to self-disrupt will emerge as winners.

Dattatraya Kadikar

Serial Entrepreneur


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