How Technology is changing Fashion in India
How Technology is changing Fashion in IndiaFashion is a term not unknown. The business that started off as a practice of making and selling clothes around the mid-nineteenth century, has evolved into a multi-billion dollar global industry. With the first wave of industrial revolution combined with the rise of globalization and capitalism, fashion has become mass produced as opposed to the custom or home produced pieces in the nineteenth century.
Fashion Industry is going through a seismic shift. According to the McKinsey Global Fashion Index forecast, Fashion industry sales growth is believed to be triple between 2016 and 2018. Currently, the global apparel market is forecasted to generate approximately 1.52 trillion dollars by 2020. The main source of growth of the fashion industry is emerging from the developing countries across Asia-Pacific, Latin America and other Regions. The fashion industry in the Middle East and North of Africa, solely, is expected to generate US$ 55 Billion by 2019 according to MENA Design Outlook 2014-2019 compiled by the Dubai Design and Fashion Council. The West will not have a fortified place in fashion sales globally.
According to the reports, in 2018, an important tipping point will be reached, when for the first time, more than half of apparel and footwear sales will originate outside of Europe and North America. Asian industries are believed to assert their power and leadership through global investments, expansions and premier innovations. Digitization will also add to the overall value chain with a refined cost structure.
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is in the core of digital revolution with fashion being at the frontier of it. Millennials and Generation Z is more tech-savvy than ever. The exposure to social media and smart technologies in the digital age has awaked an entrepreneurial ambition in people which was earlier lacking. According to Randstad Work monitor survey, 83 per cent of Indian Workforce would like to be entrepreneurs. This data is higher than the global average of 53 per cent. The data also suggested that 79 per cent of Indians believe that Technology has made it easier for them to become entrepreneurs.
Not only e-commerce but platforms like eBay, Etsy, Kickstarter and even Instagram has made it easier than ever to launch a product. The digital technology is proving to be a boon for fashion professionals. Role Models like Mark Zuckerberg, are inspiring people to pursue entrepreneurship and a strong presence on social media be it Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or twitter is a must for promotion and growth. Millennials, baby boomers and Generation Z alike have exposure to leadership training exercises and technologies. They want to be hired and blend into the startup and self-employment culture. One of the major reasons for rising in entrepreneurial culture is also the age factor. Entrepreneurship is viable when one does not have to worry about their children or their future or mortgages and loans and parents can still provide monetary assistance to start up the venture. Hence it makes sense to start young when you are energetic and motivated to accommodate taxable hours and undivided attention can be devoted to work.
Veronica D’Souza, who is founder and CEO of a Denmark based label Carcel, that sells products produced by female prisoners from natural materials believes that platforms like Kickstarter are becoming a holy grail for young entrepreneurs. Kickstarter has been a fantastic tool to launch ideas and get for customers. Social media and access to customers worldwide will be our biggest tool in creating a market. The access to digital connectivity in India is expected to grow from 15 per cent in 2014 to 80 per cent in 2034 based on the data collected from world bank, government websites and pwc analysis. The access to power will also increase to 100 per cent from 75 per cent.
A growing need for functional and performance-based garments is driving innovation as fashion is evolving. Long-term trends in fashion are being driven by technological advancements. Adapting technology to the physical form of the garment is something that has been in process and execution for a while now. Smart textiles with anti-odour, self-cleaning, self-cooling properties, suits that repel moisture or are sweat proof using nanotech, wearable technology like smartwatches and google glass, or even with interactive textiles, fashion have always been on par with technology. We are living in the digital age surrounded by smart technologies for every field.
Computer-aided Designing and manufacturing (CAD/CAM) has been a boon to fashion industry ever since it was incorporated into designing industry during the late eighties. Softwares like Gerber, Tukatech, Lectra, Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw, Illustrator, Digital FashionPro and Wilcom etc are being used extensively in the fashion culture. Research on Fashion Technologies indicates that Computer-aided Design system enables the designers to illustrate & visualize their designs in both two and three dimensions. Digitizing systems enters the handmade paper pattern into the computer with the help of digitizing tablet. Body scanning system enables producing anthropometry data & offers a direct link to 3D design and pattern making. Pattern making & Grading system not only enables the designer to create desired patterns but can also upgrade it to different sizes. Marker making systems enables to plan for cutting the pattern pieces for a specific garment style by laying out the pieces on the marker. Texture Mapping System enables the designers to easily create different textures on the garment design. Embroidery System producing multi decorative designs using innovative design tools. Design Specification System enables to create design specification sheets. Data Management System helps the manufacturer to manage every step of the design, merchandising, purchasing, sewing, warehousing & shopping process with direct links to the factory floor and retailer.
Not only the designing aspect of fashion but the retailing industry is also using technology for an efficient flow. Three Dimensional Visual Merchandising System is a new media which offers the ability to quickly simulate apparel collection in any virtual 3D retail environment. The footwear and accessories industry is also using this software in designing, production and sales of commodities.
The smartphone culture is also not lagging behind. To make the work of designers efficient and quick, companies are coming with app solutions to work on the go. While applications like concepts, Sketch, Pantone colour finder and procreate are helping designers with the creative inclination and needs, there are certain applications like Techpacker to help to make tech packs easier and Clo-3D to visualize your sketch in 3d, saving both time and money.
But as it said that with great power comes great responsibility and challenges, and the fashion industry is not immune to threats. The increasing population, which is going to be 1.5 billion only in India alone, is going to be a huge challenge to have a sustainable growth. But this is also a large challenge that needs to be overcome. The retail industry in India is expected to grow at ten per cent rate to US$ 1 Trillion by 2020 opening up new avenues and opportunities for entrepreneurs. The unorganized retail sector of India, which sits at a high of 92% needs strengthening as this sector is projected to generate employment for 40 million people in next ten years as contrary to the current ten million people. The biggest challenge for fashion industry would then become dealing with the competition from online and Omni channels in terms of electronic trade, volatility, uncertainties and shifts in global economy along with providing a balance between sustainable and innovative industry.
– By Ms Rupal Dalal, Executive Director, JD Institute of Fashion Technology
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