We live in the age of neo-consumerism. The power centre has moved completely in the hands of consumers who decide how and where the brand should be and if it should be, at all. There are numerous examples of brands which thrived by evolving with their customers and staying relevant and more than numerous examples of how established brands being unable to adapt loosing the most important – mind space.
Consumers powered by internet and mobility have bought a paradigm shift in the way businesses have modelled and conducted themselves ; I am going to talk about how this trend is going to affect the apparel industry and how we need to innovate at every level to keep pace with it.
Readymade garment industry in India is not very old – some of us might have heard stories from our grandmothers and even mother’s generation where clothes were stitched at everyone’s home. These were mostly utility clothes meant for daily wear ; the occasion wear was mostly bought from a the expensive option of readymade garment store.
With growing industrialization and improvements in procurements-manufacturing-distribution the readymade garment crossed its critical mass and became much more cheaper and convenient option than making clothes at home. This was the time when brands came with standards & quality assurances and selling the sense of uniformity. Mass produced products became increasingly used for utility / daily wear and now people wanted options for Occasion wears which were not “off-the-shelf”. The Designers understood this need and bought the value of personalization and made-for-you. Designer wear came at a price – and hence its purpose is restricted to occasions.
This trend is changing again. People increasingly believe in YOLO concept and want to treat every day as “Special”. This hyper connected millennials breed the desire to do something new, like never before. They demand a personalised experience riding on their habit of seeking instant gratification.
Apparel brands that have based their business model on mass production & economies of scale would have to remodel and focus on variety & freshness. Supply chain has already gone through 2nd generation of optimization – what is required to ride this wave is innovation at Production Line... getting over the Production Line Mindset and looking every customer with a different eye and the ability to give them a new product.
Mass Customizations is what I believe would drive brands of the future- make products which are personal, relevant and affordable will drive you till we see something new!