Tuesday, 8 January 2013

3) Comment on the future of UK fashion

There are many possible changes to be considered in the future for the UK fashion industry, including environmental, technological, demographic and governmental. In fact, in the future every aspect of a products life from its birth to its death may well take a completely new form in the future. Therefore, the future of UK fashion will be discussed through each stage of a products life.

Fabrics and design:
The UN and our national government have created initiatives such as ‘South-South’ and ‘Better Cotton’ to make the production of cotton a sustainable and fair practise worldwide in the future. More and more companies are backing these initiatives and they hope that in the future, all production of cotton and other such fabrics will be completely fair and sustainable (Bettercotton.org).

Technological development with fabric and the relationship between science and fashion are becoming increasingly influential on designers and their collections. For example, Dr Manel Torres has created designs using ‘Fabrican’, (see Q2). Inevitably, like most designer trends, this soon enough become another fad in pop culture as ‘the technology has been developed for use in household…and will soon be found in products available everywhere’ (Fabricanltd.com). 

Helen Storey on the other hand has embraced technology in fashion for the sake of helping the future of our environment. She has developed a concept called ‘catalytic clothing’, which purifies the air we breath and dissolves in water, therefore reducing air pollution and energy used for waste (catalytic-clothing.org).

After exploring the achievements already displayed in fashion today and considering the rate at which we are all aware technology is developing, there is no telling future will hold in terms of design as there are endless possibilities- both high end and high street.

Garment Production:

Garment production technology is developing and creating a whole new range of possibilities for the use of fabrics and production of clothes. For example, the introduction to laser cutting machines mean that the most intricate patterns can be cut out of fabrics in no time at all. Designers such as Alice Temperly (A/W12) used laser cutting for their collections and this technology is now already being bought to the high street (cutlasercut.com).

Still in the developmental stages is the use of a 3D printer to produce garments. Currently the 3D printer is used mainly to produce prototypes for new products. Many benefits to this technology have been found such as reduced costs, waste, material and time. Therefore this production technique has been widely favoured and there is a focus to push the boundaries for what it can produce (theeconomist.com). There is a hope that in the future this will allow us to print our own clothes!

The locations for garment production may well change in the future too. There is currently a heavy focus on it in China but with their currency value increasing, it will soon not be such a great choice for cheap manufacturing. Competition from lower cost nations such as Africa, Cambodia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and the Philipines will heat at a rapid pace (Plunkett Research Ltd, 2012).

A certain change for the future of manufacturing will be its social and environmental effects. Companies such as Better Cotton and Brandex are involved in a movement to create eco-friendly manufacturing and better circumstances for the workers. This is something that is vital to continue with since consumption rates are increasing (mintel.com) and due to government initiatives to preserve the environment. Therefore, more companies will take up social responsibility to keep up with consumption demand and preserve the demand for their services.


A question to raise when considering distribution is; will clothes be distributed to stores or will they become obsolete and head straight from warehouse to household? A Mintel report says that online sales of clothing and footwear has increased by 13 percent between 2009 and 2011, ‘making it the fastest growing – and now the most popular – category bought online.’ 

However, its analysis suggests that women’s inability to try the garments before they buy is creating a barrier for the growth of sales in the online market. There are technologies such as the virtual fitting room, personalization and ‘augmented reality’ being developed to help customers vision themselves wearing clothes without trying them on. If these technologies catch on and become a routine part of online shopping and develop to the point that the virtual fitting rooms are as good as seeing clothes on in real life, then it is possible that in the future consumers will not have a need for a physical store.

Secondly, with the global movement towards a sustainable world, more and more companies are taking up social responsibility. For example, large companies such as H&M, Marks and Spencer and Tesco have taken up this role, making sure that they are green at every stage of their sales. This means that they are reducing their carbon footprint during their distribution process and with such pressure from government initiatives; many more retailers will be following in the future.


A Mintel report says that UK sales will be affected in the future, as there will be a decline in 15-24s, the most fashion conscious population. The number of over-55 women is predicted to grow by 7% between 2011 and 2016 to reach 31% of women and research shows that only a quarter of these are fashion conscious (Mintel.com). This would suggest that overall sales in the retail market will decline in the future. However, the growth of the 25-34’s market may counteract this as they have a comfortable income and like to buy into fashion typically.

A substantial continuing increase in obesity appeared recently and since larger consumers tend to spend less on clothing, this could mean a decrease in retail sales over the coming years (Mintel.com). Alternatively, this demographic change does generate a demand for more plus- size clothing, so if retailers see this opportunity then there could be a shift in size demand in the future.

Use and Disposal

The fashion industry has become well known in recent years for producing ‘fast fashion’; it is rumored that trends now change every two weeks. This means that use for each new fashion item will become shortly obsolete and consumers will have to buy more to keep up with trends. This could be a reason for growth in consumer spending over recent years (mintel.com). If trends continue to change so quickly, then consumer spending will continue to rise in the future.

On the other hand, the awareness of and initiatives to improve our carbon footprint and the urge to save money since being hit by a recession could push consumers the other way. M&S launched the ‘Shwop’ campaign, which aimed to encourage clothes swapping and discouraging throwing clothes away. So if other companies follow this, it is possible that fashion will slow down and people may reuse and swap clothes more.

 There are many aspect of the fashion industry when considering its change, and currently some aspects such as demographics of consumers that will inevitably change the industry. There are also aspects that should be improved on to give fashion a more ethical stance in the market, such as manufacturing and production of materials, although they aren’t a guarantee. Then there are aspects such as technology where one cannot at all predict what it will hold within the future of fashion, but judging from the findings showing current developments, there will be many changes there too.

2) An overview of the key changes in the UK and Global Fashion Industry over the last 5 years

Over the last 5 years there have been numerous changes in the UK and Global fashion industry including things such as consumer spending habits, technology influences in both the way things are made and the way people shop and also ethics within fashion.
A recent report showed that consumer spending on clothing increased by 12.5% between 2006 and 2010, and in 2010 the clothing retailing market was estimated to be worth £41.9bn. Supermarkets also increased their share of clothing market now accounting for approximately 25%. They have seen a large increase in sales since the recession because people are becoming more cautious about making unnecessary purchases and are therefore turning to cheaper alternatives. With costs inspected to increase it is estimated that the market will grow by approximately 6.2% between 2011 and 2015. (Keynote, 2010)
Technology to make fashion
In the last five years the use of technology to make fashion has become more popular. 3D printers are a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital model.it is considered a distinct from traditional techniques which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting. Since the start of the twenty-first century sales of these machines has increased. 3D body scanners and 3D Capture are used for custom fittings, sizing surveys, sizing standards development, and 3D product development. Also, digital printers are now used as a way to print onto clothing, they are more accurate and a lot quicker than hand printing.
Technology in fashion 
Manel Torres is the Managing director of Fabrican Limited. He studied womenswear fashion design at the Royal College of Arts and thereafter embarked on a PhD at the same college in collaboration with Imperial College London. His research looks at the interrelating disciplines of science and fashion design. Spray-on fabric is a patented technology development by Fabrican. The fabric is formed by the cross-linking of fibers which adhere to create an instant non-woven fabric. Intricate patterns can be created in a number of colours leading to a variety of aesthetically pleasing fabrics. With the prototypes, Fabrican has been able to use different types of natural and synthetic fibers and to incorporate scents and colours. (Fabrican, 2010)
Home shopping/ e-retailing
Home shopping has become a highly competitive market and most retailers now have an online presence. The home shopping market was valued at an estimated £58.61bn in 2010 which was an increase of 32.2% on 2006 figures and it now accounts for 20.5% of total retail sales. In Europe the UK has the highest home shopping and over the next 5 years it is estimated to grow by 63.6% reaching £106.19bn in 2015 (Keynote, 2010). It isn’t just the convenience, or even the saving that are the key driver behind the enormous take-up of online– it’s the fact that “the widespread domestic take-up of broadband internet access has now brought the ingredients together in a workable way”, says Robert Cole in The Times. Broadband is now cheaper, faster and more accessible than ever before and in 2001 there were 300,000 broadband connections, says Ofcom; now there are now 13 million and most are used for shopping. Back then, people took to their cars and drove to outlets on the outskirts of towns in search of cheaper products that could all be bought at once. A similar process is currently developing with the internet which can now be reached in a number of ways not only by computer or laptop but by smartphones and tablets aswell. (Clarke, 2007)
The graph below shows the online shopping activity in the past 3 months by device. It shows that 89% of people used a computer to shop online, with 24% using a smartphone and 33% using a tablet. While other online retail activity such as selling and visiting price comparison sites are also used across all 3 types of media. (Mintel, 2012)

Ethics in Fashion
Consumers are more interested in ethical clothing than ever before. Ethical and environmental production in the fashion sector has devolped from a once seasonal trend to a fundamental shift in thinking across all stakeholders of the fashion industry. This shift is being driven by changing consumer beliefs and as a result the market for ethically produced fashion is experiencing rapid growth; between 2004 and 2005, spending on ethical clothing grew by 26% from £23m to £29m, and demand for the same has increased 300% in the last 12 months. More than half of Britain's consumers think ethical production of the clothes they buy is. An overwhelming 76% of people feel an end to child labour and sweat shops is an extremely important driver of ethical production, followed closely by 60% that think offering producers a fair price is most important and then 50% damage caused to the environment. (Guardian, 2008)
Fairtrade and organic certified clothing have also shown strong growth as an increasing number of mainstream clothing retailers begin selling certified clothing lines. The first lines of clothing carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark appeared in November 2005 and with the support of an increasing number of high street retailers such as Next, Marks&Spencer, Monsoon, Debenhams, Tesco and Sainsburys; achieved £5 million worth of sales in 2006.

(Co-operative Bank, 2007)

Blow shows some primary research of the type of FAIRTRADE clothing that is sold in highstreet stores:

These school polo shirts are sold in Marks&Spencer carrying the FAIRTRADE logo. They are still a reasonable price but are ethically sustainable.

Buying for re-use
Some 75 per cent of people in the UK claim to have purchased a second hand product at least once in 2006. For certain purchases, 22 per cent of people cite supporting a good cause or the environmental benefits of buying second-hand as the main motivating factors. As a result, in 2006 some £360 million can be attributed to spend on second hand clothing at charity shops, jumble sales and other second-hand clothing stores for ethical reasons.

1) The stakeholders involved within the UK fashion industry and the key issues impacting on UK fashion today.

1E) The organisations involved in the marketing and promotion of fashion for example advertising/communication agencies, PR, event management, media/publishing.

In the fashion industry the marketing industry looks into the process of analysing, developing and marketing the current trends in fashion to analyse and develop the sale strategy of a company. (Mastering Fashion Marketing by Tim Jackson).


In the retail and any other industry, advertising for a company is important due to the fact that it helps keep the consumers informed on the new products or services available to them from the company, from this it also helps spread awareness to potential buyers. 

Posner informs us that “The ultimate aim is of course to generate sales, but under the surface advertising endeavours to Reinforce a brand’s image, Communicate a brand’s position in the market, Embed specific meanings into the consumer psyche, Tap into consumer aspirations, Create desire for the brand and its products.” This underlines the main areas which advertising covers for a company. 


BELOVED is a fashion advertising agency that creates striking, visually arresting marketing and communication for leading brands. This agency was put together by artist and the creative director Jenny White. It is said to be “a refreshing new energy on the branding and advertising scene” which is said on the site itself. 

Alongside White is two other creative who in which has worked independently and together on numerous creative projects. Next to White is Simon who is also the creative director who has worked in both big and small advertising agencies in London, Sydney, Paris and New York.  

Other Advertising/ Communication Companies 
• Organised Confusion
• The Fashion Spot

PR stands for Public Relations, which is all about a brands reputation, the overall aim of PR is al about getting “media coverage and to establish and generate a favourite image of a organisation” (Posner 2011). The main function of PR is building relationships to advance, promote, and benefit the reputation of you yourself, your department and institution. This is supported by Jackson and Shaw, they describe PR to be “the specific marketing function that seeks to promote an organisation and its products and activities by generating publicity.”

Even though PR is cost effective relative to advertising, it is still vital to determine and measure the effectiveness. It can be done by the following; clip reports, column inches, advertising value equivalent (AVE), public opinion or audience sentiment and share of voice. (Posner 2011).

SNOW is a pubic relations company which started by working on a mix with luxury designer labels and highstreet brands, fashion show management, some personality PR and celebrity events. SNOW is also the PR agency for London Fashion Week media team. 

Other PR Companies
• My Lola PR
• Stylesmith! PR
• Fashion Wardrobe PR
• Style House PR
• Rachel Meis Communications
• Carrie Leber PR
• Pitch! Press

1F) The specialist and professional organisations associated with the fashion industry.

Event Management  

Events management is the process behind planning, executing and evaluating corporate, association, non profit, government and social events. Events management requires strong organizational, budgeting and creative skills. Event management companies handle all the creative, technical and logistical elements of an event.

Vissamsetti Pradeepthi states in his article that “As a strategic marketing and communications tool event management also covers press conference for product launches as a promotional event that will help their clients to communicate well with their prospective clients.” 

The British Fashion Council

The British Fashion Council is an organisation which aims to showcase British designers and develop London’s position as a major player in the international fashion arena. They showcase the best of British designer collections to international press and buyers at a globally recognised event, London Fashion Week. 

On their site they describe themselves to be “committed to developing excellence and growth in a sector that is a significant contributor to the British economy. We nurture, support and promote British fashion talent to a global market.” This shows us of high class they are with their status and well connected in the fashion industry to network designers to the audience and the media. 

Other Event Management Companies
• Event Concept
• Dilema Events
• Agency X Events
• MM- Mass Movement

Media/ Publishing  

Retail stores can use local media to advertise any promotions, sales and products for example local weekly newspapers, public transport, external posters and bill board displays, direct mail to customers, tv commercials, local radio, window and in store displays. 

Overall View of Marketing and Promotion of FashionCondé Nast

In the marketing aspects of the fashion industry there are companies which have small or big stakeholders to help manage/ organise the company. For example Vogue magazine’s publishing company is called Condé Nast which on the site states that they have “18 consumer magazines, four business-to-business publications, 27 websites, and more than 50 apps for mobile and tablet devices, all of which define excellence in their categories.” The publishing company originates from the United Sates and was founded in 1909. 

Partnership Marketing and Media Group in Condé Nast

When being in partnership with Condé Nast it is based on the strategic focus on mutual growth for the company through marketing innovation; meaning that Condé Nast helps improve the marketing aspect of the company. 

Condé Nast media group helps make marketing solutions that inspire the consumer across the paid, owned and earned media landscape. 

Benefits of Partnership with Condé Nast

The benefits are that it gives the company access to top brands, award winning content producers and editors and promotional channels and tools to popular audiences. 

Overall, marketing and promotions in the fashion industry is vital because it help communicate to the audiences about what brands have to offer them but also spreads awareness of existing products or services offered in the highstreet and with luxury brands to potential and future buyers. Marketing and promotions help gather and organise information to plan advertising campaigns for companies.

1) The stakeholders involved within the UK fashion industry and the key issues impacting on UK fashion today.

1C) The relationship between the designers and the stores.

Kate Moss was able to design for Topshop in 2007, through her friendship with the firm’s boss, retail tycoon Sir Philip Green. Kate was able to produce 14 collections for the brand before ending her contract due to ‘other commitments’.
Kate’s designed proved to be a massive hit with Topshop customers and it has been estimated that she has made over £3m from the ranges.
Topshop is notorious for quick change, it brings in brands and loses brands so it was a surprise to see that Kate was able to bring out 14 collections before customers and Topshop changed direction.

Madonna launched her range ‘M by Madonna’ for H&M in 2007.  Madonna worked hand in hand with Margareta van den Bosch to create a wardrobe of clothing and accessories that represent her own personal and modern spin on her very own wardrobe staples. Madonna has also decided to model the collection herself. The relationship began when H&M supplied a complete line of off-stage clothing for Madonna’s touring company, which led to the ‘Madonna tracksuit’ being sold in stores in 2007.

Karl Lagerfeld & H&M
"We both had the same idea independently. I've been fascinated by what they do for a long time, and they were apparently interested in what I represent", explained Karl Lagerfeld. The collection will be sold in most stores on H&M's 19 markets in Europe and North America. [sourced from H&M online website, 2004]
Unfortunately this relationship did not last long, Karl Lagerfeld has been reported to say that he will ‘never work with H&M again’ despite the success of his collection which sold out within hours over 20 stores across Europe. This all came about when he accused the Swedish retailer of "snobbery" for producing minimal numbers of his designs. [vogue news].
The point of this collaboration was to create an affordable line for the people who couldn’t afford Karl’s designs in Chanel etc. However because of the lack of quantity made, Karl saw this as an insult, and decided never to work with them again.

Jeremy Scott for Adidas
High-low designer Jeremy Scott is no stranger to collaborations– he’s done tons in the course of his career, including one with Louboutin in the late ’90s. None have lasted as long as his relationship with Adidas, though. The collab has yielded a Keith Haring-inspired collection and countless tongue-in-cheek designs like animal hoodies and metallic winged sneakers. His creativity knows no bounds, and neither do the shelves of the sneakerheads who collect his kicks.
Jeremy is a great partner and ambassador for adidas, always embracing our brand values, transporting them to the public and also bringing Originals to new areas and platforms to be present and further discovered as the iconic sportswear label for the street that we are.’ [Adidas spokesman]

1D) Current trends in global manufacture.

Much of the time after World War II, trade in textiles and garments was regularly checked by importing countries. These protectionist measures, which were intended to prevent textile and clothing production from moving from high-wage to low-wage countries, were abandoned beginning in the 1980s. They were replaced by a free-trade approach, under the regulatory aegis of the World Trade Organization, who saw the competitive advantage of low-wage countries but also the advantage provided to consumers in rich countries through the availability of highly affordable apparel.

The more accessible clothing becomes, i.e via the internet, the higher the demand is. This therefore means that a lot of UK companies, are looking to manufacture clothes cheaply. And there first answer is to manufacture in China.
The size of the UK market is reflected in the figures – retail sales in the clothing sector reached £37.9bn in 2011, according to Verdict. The web has revolutionised the sector, the rise of China and other Asian countries has overhauled the supply chain, driving the success of fast fashion, and the recent economic downturn has changed shoppers’ attitude to value.
 [The changing face of fashion retail, 13 June, 2012 | By Rebecca Thomson, Retail Week]

India and China are and will continue to be dominant in their role within the world’s manufacturing economy. Russia and Brazil also will have a role in these shifts toward emerging manufacturing economies.

Looking ahead, in 2025 it is estimated that India and China will account for nearly 25-40 percent of the total world demand for goods and service.
 (Anil Gupta, Smith School of Business, University of Maryland)

The demand for consumer goods such as clothing, food, automobiles, phones and pharmaceuticals is driven by growing populations and a new and expanding global middle class. Due to the recession, all these luxury products ere put on hold and so manufacturing countries such as Europe, US and Japan all slowed down, where as Asia and China’s manufacturing demand increased.

China will move into the leading role in manufacturing, producing 18.6 percent of the globe’s manufacturing output (up from 7 percent in 1995). In 2011, China is expected to out-produce the United States for the first time, producing $1.87 billion in goods output while the United States is expected to produce $1.71 billion in goods output
(IHS Global Insight).
In the United States, this production value has created 12 million jobs within the manufacturing industry, which accounts for approximately 10 percent of the overall United States workforce
 (National Association of Manufacturing).
China is poised to have more impact on the world during the next 20 years than any other country. If current trends persist, by 2025 China will have the world’s second largest economy and will be a leading military power. It could also be the largest importer of natural resources and the biggest polluter.
 (Global Trends 2025, A Transformed World, National Intelligence Council).