The fashion industry has notoriously been a “cool kids” club. They congregate at the most fashionable table in the proverbial cafeteria and no, you cannot sit with them. This elite selection of people from fashion brands, magazines and other firms have determined what you wear and when you wear it. Regular people have traditionally not had ability to sway, let alone control, trends. Fashion was an exclusive world.
Now, the old sartorial hierarchies have been shattered due to the upsurge in social media. Picture a Fashion House where the Fall/ Winter ’18 is organized in its order of popularity on social media. Or, one that makes new garments for the following season based off both praise and critiques they received from social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Even better, what about one in which consumers can suggest colors, cuts and functionality for clothing?
No, you’re not dreaming; crowd-sourcing for the fashion industry is here. The term is defined as, “the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call,” according to The Guardian. Ultimately, customer engagement has become a vital part in feeling connected to a brand and more and more people want to feel their opinion matters. In fact, social media platforms have allowed this space in the comment sections of Instagram, Facebook and more. Through crowd-sourcing, people from all ethnicities, locations and age groups have been able to connect and exchange their ideas and suggestions with brands, retailers and more that they never would have had access to before.
In addition, Econsultancy.com reports that web-based social networking is the fourth most engaging activity that people do online. They furthered that as much as 10% of time spent online is spent on these social media platforms. For this reason, Facebook has an excess of 500 million client, and obtains around 500,000 new clients every day. Next, YouTube records show that two billion interactions in a day. Then, there’s Twitter getting 190 million guests per month. Such impressive numbers have given the fashion industry a tremendous opportunity to attract and interact with clients from across the globe. And traditionally, a majority of this information was used to direct advertising and merchandising decisions. Now, it starting to be used in the product development process.
Outdoor Voices Leads the Pack
Outdoor Voices, an athleisure brand, is one of the first purveyors of eliciting consumers opinions on social media. CEO Tyler Haney said in an interview with Racked,
“We’re building an assortment around jogging and running. Tell us what your preferences are, what kind of support you need,’ and we folded that back into our product development,” Haney says. “Now we’re launching what we consider to be the best six to eight pieces for OV’s customer.”
He saw the opportunity in crowd sourcing like Glossier, a beauty brand, did for that industry. Others are beginning to take note and are planning to launch apparel which is centered on public interest.
Each season fashion brands hope each new collection will attract more customers and retain existing ones. But, with the plethora of mediums which are available to a digital customer, the competition in the market becomes increasingly difficult. By engaging loyal clientele into their business and asking for feedback, they ensure their product offerings are meeting consumer needs. The Fashion industry is going through a revolution in many aspects and technology, innovation and crowd-sourcing all goes together to create new product that will be well-received. Now together, fashion is a game and everyone can play.