The futures of fashion

8 July 2011 at 9:01 am Leave a comment

Claudia Rimington writes: What is the future shape of fashion retailing? We did some internal micro-research on this recently in our London office – exploring the drivers of change which may shape the sector and identifying some of the ways in which fashion brands may change as a result.

We came up with six possibilities:, laid out here in no particular order:

  • Caravanserai: An online store which sells the “most beautiful fashion from around the world”.  Maori scarves and cashmere knits from the north Himalayas are typical products. Clothing is rare, fair trade and tagged so you can see the artisan who made it.  A brand for well travelled ABC1s.
  • Trunk Show: A pop up store which sell one off garments by emerging talent, such as artschool fashion grads or graphic designers.  At the show you meet the maker, buy unique items and take part in a one off event.  You have to be ‘in the know’ to find out about it and news circulates only a few days before. Locations include construction sites and disused buildings.
  • Neetwear: A company founded and ran by ‘NEETS’ – the British government’s slightly dismissive acronym for people ‘Not in Employment, Education or Training’.   By working for NEETWARE, the NEETS get a start with a job and some skills. The clothing they make is high quality basics with twist: functional/crafted duffle coats and jeans.
  • Iris: A clothing store which makes tailored clothes using digital technology. Customers are measured up by advanced scanning technology in an in-store booth.  The items they want are customized and sent in the post.  Targeted at the busy female urbanite who wants things ‘just right for her’.
  • ‘Tailor’ made: A brand which connects you with talented ‘tailors’ in developing countries.  The tailors sit on an umbrella website, where they sell their eclectic but high quality garments. You get distinctive clothing at a fair price – fair for everybody involved.
  • Selica: A brand which sells exceptionally high quality garments with a minimalist aesthetic. Clothes from here are ‘investment pieces’. Each item lasts for years (pieces come with a Five Year guarantee) and can be worn everyday – the straightforward designs guarantee to match all items in the wardrobe.

The thinking behind such sessions is to keep us on our toes in thinking about how innovation spaces might develop in a particular category or sector, and as ever the challenge is imagining how such emerging futures might scale. Of these, ‘Tailor’-Made seemed to have most potential: crafts portal Etsy meets micro loan site Kiva before crashing headlong into the strong trends around the intention economy.

The picture at the top of the post was taken by TheCyberGypsy, and is used here with thanks.

Entry filed under: design, fashion.

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The Futures Company blog

The Futures Company was created through the merger of Henley Centre HeadlightVision and Yankelovich in 2008. This is the blog of the new company - but the former posts from the former Henley Centre Headlightvision blog still can be found here.


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