Industry 5.0 technologies revolutionizing fashion
In this last Industry 5.0 blog post, we explore how Industry 5.0 technologies like AI, IoT and Big Data are transforming the way we do fashion, from design to display and selling, and how these technologies can help brands be more sustainable.
Technologies are changing the way people shop. Through engaging shopping experiences, interactive retail shops and augmented realities, fashion brands are adapting to the changes to bring their products to customers. However, this is also an opportunity for brands to leverage technologies into becoming more efficient and sustainable. Fashion and technology are increasingly blending, and the way brands incorporate these technological advances will set them apart in the long run.
Designing and Prediction for Future Trends
As we pointed out in a previous post, artificial intelligence and other technologies have spread across a wide range of industries and have the potential to transform businesses with innovative technologies, more efficient operations, and access to consumer and industry data. And in fashion, it is no different.
Fashion retailers have adopted a new mindset of viewing AI systems as creative partners. In the designing of new apparel, AI can assist in a combination of manual skills and technology that becomes an extension of designers’ creativity.
Also, fashion designers can reduce fabric loss during the fashion pattern design process with the help of AI and other technologies interconnected to make it more sustainable.
But AI can assist with more than just generating new designs. By gathering more sophisticated data, fashion manufacturers use technology to better understand consumer desires and make better garments. Every day, millions of photos are uploaded to the internet. These photos say much more than just what a person is wearing. Through photos shared online, factors such as the weather, subcultures, and activities can be deciphered. Using big data and AI algorithms to analyse these photos can be a powerful tool to predict upcoming trends.
Artificial intelligence is changing the way brands approach the design and development process by focusing on predicting what customers will want to wear next. However, algorithms can not take the position of human designers: human intervention is essential to integrate AI insights and turn them into attractive, usable garments.
Many of us have a wardrobe full of clothes that we never wear because they're uncomfortable, don't suit our body type or don't match the rest of our wardrobe. But now there is a solution to this: augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
AR technology is being used by fashion brands to add new elements to conventional and online shopping. You may experiment with numerous styles, materials, and colors, as well as different shoes, handbags, and jewelry items.
Augmented and virtual reality provide this ‘WOW’ factor feeling when shopping, bridging the gap between online and in-store purchase experiences, and can be used in many different ways, such as in-store navigation, that guides the customer to their desired product easily and faster, or Virtual Try-on (VTO).
VTO simulates digitally the behavior of textiles onto the human body, allowing a virtual application of clothing items onto digital human body models, and it can give an accurate feeling about the look, size, and feel of the product.
In the same light, product fitting is one of the major challenges that are experienced by most brands. Customers can try on clothing, shoes, and other items on a 3D avatar without having to wear them, creating an engaging experience for both customers and brands. All of this results in reducing customer dissatisfaction with products, enhanced customer loyalty and increased revenue, as consumers return less goods when they are sure of how it will fit.
Personalization and customization
Fashion is very sensitive to changing consumer demands and is also moving towards greater personalization. Customers want a variety of options to suit their personal style preferences, and as the desire for personalizationand customization grows, so does the need for "mass customization'.
As we have mentioned before in this series, IT and automation are critical to mass customization because they connect the customer's preferences to a manufacturing team's ability to build products based on those preferences. As such, the better the technology, the better the customization and personalization experience and process.
Given the greater demand for customization and personalization, big data plays a critical part in this and can foster one-to-one engagement with shoppers. As more and more people shop online, many fashion companies have personalized their e-commerce operations to provide their customers with what they want.
But it also has advantages for brands, such as increased engagement, revenue, and profitability, as personalized goods aren’t often returned. This means that the value of customization for a business goes beyond keeping customers involved and satisfied.
3D and digital twins
Product customization evolves greatly around new technology, like 3D product creation. This type of technology enables companies, like PlatformE, to create digital twins.
Incorporating concepts like Big Data, AI and IoT, digital twins are accurate representations of real-life objects and garments, and facilitate the customization process, as they allow customers to see alterations in a very realistic way, so they can visualize their final product.
More and more companies are investing in 3D to digitally display their products. Companies that use digital twins will stand out because they provide their customers with an engaging experience that they'll remember.
With 3D, it's possible to recreate products with outstandingly realistic detail, enhancing the shopping experience and leading to higher conversion rates and sales. In fact, recent studies show that using 3D marketing increased luxury brands' conversion rates by 40%.
Supply Chain and Inventory
However, improving the way fashion is presented and sold is not the only way that these technologies can be used. Due to the large number of parties involved in global supply chains, end-to-end transparency is becoming increasingly difficult.
Companies need to be able to assess and analyse data across the supply chain before they can effectively respond to supply chain disruptions. And that is where IoT and Big Data take part, helping track the status of items as they go through the supply chain, ensuring that everyone in the chain can access data, track status, schedule delivery and complete transactions in real time. An example of this type of technology is RipePulse, which provides omnichannel synchronization and 360º visibility from order purchase to production status and order delivery.
All these Industry 5.0 technologies and others combined allow brands to produce on-demand. This means that when a customer buys a product, it is only produced when the purchase is made, and so there is no stock. An on demand approach using data and analytics leverages consumer insights to make goods that are custom-made for the buyer and guaranteed to sell, while shortening lead times, and optimising the manufacturing and delivery of made-to-order products.
But Industry 5.0 is all about environmental consciousness and sustainability. And since the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, fashion brands urgently need to rethink their strategies, and Industry 5.0 technologies can surely help with that.
The adoption of technologies like AI can help fashion designers, for instance, to calculate how much fabric and other components are needed for certain garments, resulting in a decrease in waste.
Also, the potential of addressing present industry difficulties while also opening up entirely new possibilities makes a persuasive case for 3DPC's critical necessity. By streamlining e-fashion (3D fashion) across the digital value chain, a brand can start selling digital goods first and only produce them on-demand, after the point-of-purchase. This is good for the environment because brands don't overproduce and don't get stuck with deadstock.
In the same light, using 3D technology allows brands to create digital samples of future collections and send them to buyers around the world, with a much smaller carbon footprint. As the 3D samples don't need to be produced or transported, waste is eliminated and its footprint is reduced.
Most aspects of the fashion industry are being transformed by technological advancements, from apparel design to the way fashion is displayed and sold, and it's important that brands take advantage of them to also become more sustainable, conscious, and transparent. Technologies such as AI, VR and IoT are expected to change the way consumers shop. What will set fashion brands apart from the rest, though, is how they adapt to the constant changing needs of consumers and to this new reality of the fashion industry.