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Evolution of Fashion Technology – Part 2

In the first part of this article, we saw the impact that technology and industrialization had on the garment and apparel industry. Significant changes came about as globalization took over from the post-World War 2 era, leading to an increased need for technology that could make manufacturing more efficient, less expensive and reduce time-to-market.

As global supply chains were built and computers began to get commercially viable, software and tools took over the manufacturing process. In addition, design tools came into existence, to help brands design better, standardize and communicate their needs across global supply chains that stretched from South East Asia to Europe and the North American continent.

The third generation of technology adoption Industry 3.0, is also popularly referred to as the Age of Computers. Computers began to be used for everything from design to project management, stock taking, tracking orders and shipments, maintaining finance and accounts as well as processing customer information such as payments, discounts, etc.

CAD/CAM, design tools like Adobe and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) all made paper-based tasks much easier with the use of technology.

With the advent of the internet, the next generation of products and globally connected tools came into being, with online ordering, marketing, real time shipment and production tracking, and of course the beginning of e-commerce, digital marketing and the entire gamut of digitalization. We refer to these as Industry 4.0

(Image Courtesy: Tukatech YouTube)

The current crop of technologies is made up of companies from both these generations – design companies like Adobe and Tukatech have successfully added new products to remain relevant with apparel manufacturers, designers and retailers to add value, while a host of new generation products like Stylumia (AI based Forecasting) and Qroda among others add new features and benefits to make the entire fashion industry faster, more efficient and in some cases even more sustainable. Analytics tools now enable fashion retailers to better understand what sells, among which customer segments and at what price. This creates opportunities to micro-segment customers with unique offerings and personalized experiences, all on the same e-commerce platform. At the same time, physical stores too are becoming digitally connected, offering services like virtual assistance to pick choices through virtual dressing rooms and sizing selections, without holding large inventory.

(image Courtesy: Stylumia)

Across the entire spectrum, the value addition of technology is now moving into the fifth generation that of completely digital and virtual technology tools. We’ll discuss more about these as we look at the adoption of technology across the spectrum of functions – forecasting, design, sourcing, project management, inventory and supply chain, retail and virtual selling, omnichannel marketing, analytics and sustainability.

Stay tuned for the series starting from next week, where we talk of how technology is making an impact on each of these areas, and some of the products and tools leading this change.

Do you know any new, cutting-edge products that are out to make a difference in these areas? Do mention them in the comments so we can evaluate them, and they might find a mention in our series as well.

Fuel4Fashion is a design, branding and technology consultancy for the fashion and apparel industry. We provide consulting and advisory services across design, business and IT processes to early stage and mid-sized apparel manufacturers and brands looking to grow their business with the help of smart sustainable management practices. Visit our website here and follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn for regular updates.

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