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:
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.