Fashion and Technology - Essay Example

Conclusion b. Recommendations 8. References Chapter 1: Introduction The purpose of this Focus Area project is to research the fashion industry and learn during the present. The subsequent chapters in this report are divided into different sectors of the fashion industry in a categorical manner. The initial chapter is focused on design; this is because clothing design is the first step that essentially begins the revolution of the fashion world; it is so primal that without clothing design the fashion industry would cease to exist.

This chapter will further be broken down into how technology influences the idea process, creating process (both soft and hard rafts), and then the final collection that will be distributed and sold. The next chapter is centered on an intricate part of fashion, marketing. Fashion marketing is entirely about promoting fashion, it is their Job to generate interest in new styles and products while involving advertising (Larcenists).

The marketing chapter is divided into sections based off of the many forms of fashion advertising including events, press releases, and print advertisement. Finally, the last chapter is based off of clothing retail, focusing on the front lines of the fashion industry. It is broken up into major chapters in the order of processes performed in store: buying, merchandising, and selling, and of course, with concentration on the technology involved in each one.

In a sense, the clothing retailing is probably the most important part of the industry; the design process starts the engine, marketing provides the gas in order to breathe life into it, but very literally, retailing is the man power behind it all that drives the fashion industry. The retail sector provides the force that will actually sell the products and make money to profit, bringing the revolution full circle ND allowing the designer to continue creating clothes, all in all, creating Jobs.

The fashion industry is always expanding, with a plethora of different career paths one may take shows that there is a lot to gain from learning about it. Understanding technology, a positive tool for growth in numerous industries today, paired with an innovative, hard-working personality, can help establish a solid career in one of the many Jobs the “$300 billion dollar business” has to offer (Moore) in one of the 64,878 firms established in the United States relating to clothing (United States Census Bureau).

Not to mention, it is important to gain insight on this ever expanding field of opportunity because of all of the future potential that is comprised within fashion. After all, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that Just a year and a half ago, May 2011 1,112,480 people were employed through clothing stores. This bureau also projects the Job retail salesperson to grow by roughly 16. 6%, from its 2010 standing at 4261. 6 (employed in thousands) to 4968. 4 from now until 2020, so now is the perfect time to become educated and involved. Definitions For the purposes of this Focus Area Project, the following terms will mean: 1 .

Buyer: A purchasing agent, as if for department or chain store 2. Brand: A type of product manufactured by a company under a particular name 3. Backbone: A social networking site where users can create and customize their own profiles with photos, videos, and information about themselves. Friends can browse the profiles of other friends and write messages on their pages. Each Backbone profile has a “wall,” where friends can post comments. 4. Instating: A social network that allows for free photo sharing 5. Twitter is an online social networking service and micro-blobbing service 6.

Fast Fashion: Fast fashion is a contemporary term used by fashion retailers to acknowledge that designs move from catwalk to store in the fastest time. Generally fast fashion is referred to clothes that you purchase, and have the ability to wear once before the trend fades. 7. Factionists: A devoted follower of fashion 8. Fashion Week: A Fashion Week is a fashion industry event, typically named after the host city or major commercial sponsor, lasting four to ten days. It is held so that fashion designers or “houses” are able showcase their “collections” for either Spring or Fall seasons 9.

Face Outs: A prominently displayed outfit on a wall in a retail store 10. Clothing Line/Lines: Constitutes a group of clothing designs put together to tell a story of the designer’s inspiration and new trends for the fashion brand during a particular season. (Smith) 1 1 . Peplum: A short flared, gathered, or pleated strip of fabric attached at the waist of a woman’s Jacket, dress, or blouse. Chapter 2: Literature Review Francesca Streetcar (2005) writes for the Journal Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion on an overview of what a fashion designer does.

She briefly explains all the steps involved in fashion design, like beginning with an idea, turning it into a design, making specifications for its production, and then finally producing it. In addition, Streetcar gives an overview of where fashion designers originated from, Paris in the mid-sass, but also explains the effects World War II had on designers during this time. Hardships faced in Paris allowed America to flourish in design and put the states on the map for being a serious contender in fashion.

Finally, her article is closes with what her research leads to the future of the fashion designer heavily revolving around, and with, technology. Writer of Fashion Career Information, Kim Carter only helped to support Sterling’s article by expanding on specific types of designers and the different levels of the fashion industry they most commonly work at. Hewlett Packard, a trusted computer company, had numerous articles about their technological impacts on the designers from Lifetime’s TV show, “Project Runway’, which is watched by thousands every week.

This particular article, HP Technology Inspires Design on Lifetime Television’s Hit Series “Project Runway” focuses on each individual piece of equipment that was given to the designers and the different ways t was used. This article mainly helped to solidify the usefulness, and ability to save money, technology can provide to designers. Miguel Cavalry, author of Fashion Marketing Techniques thoroughly explains different styles of fashion marketing and the importance and impact they possess.

Other articles used expand on the technology that is used in different fashion marketing techniques and how those technologies allow them to become more prosperous. New York Times writer Stephen He-man writes about live streaming fashion shows so more of the public has access to them. Tim Gibbons, author of Impact of Fashion Floggers sheds light on how something as leisurely as blobbing can have on the fashion world. Statistics were heavily relied on through this sector, and information was retrieved from the websites of Statistics of U. S.

Businesses and the US Bureau of Labor that relate to current and future standings of Job potential in retail. The Shoplifting Prevention Organization is responsible for information on the eye-opening amounts article, Reinventing Retail provided useful information on maintaining profitability that can be applied to any retail business, not Just apparel. Chapter 3: Methodology Participants used in this research were individuals who personally work or play any kind of role in each of the indicated fields of study (design, marketing, and retailing).

Data was collected by interviewing, observing, and by physically participating in what the participants do every day to help gain understanding. The other significant portion of research was done using Arizona State University’s library tool, the “Library One Research” search engine. Finally, utilizing documents and articles on the internet proved helpful in conducting research, especially during the sign section, since most designers are very picky about what, and how much, information they release.

A variety of materials were used while conducting research in a store setting, such as reviewing corporate driven style guides, reviewing competitor reports, learning point of sale systems. As far as the procedure goes, participants were first interviewed to gain knowledge on what they do. Secondly, participants were shadowed, and I was sometimes given freedom to contribute. One example of this can be drawn from the merchandising portion of the report. Every Thursday, the retail store Love Culture in the Scottsdale Mall re-merchandises their entry tables to prepare for the weekend.

These are the first pieces of clothing a customer sees upon entering the store, and the science of it is to create a fully complete outfit, using the newest and trendiest products; the intention is to earn attention from customers passing by in the mall and inspire them to enter the store, and also to increase sales by subliminally selling an entire outfit to the consumer at once. The many table designs are corporately derived, and then photographed, uploaded into a computer program that allows them to create digital “style guides” which are emailed out accompanied for stores to execute which is how technology is used in this process.

On Thursday September 13th the visual merchandisers re-did the entrance table s per style guide, while I was given the opportunity to merchandise the runway table and see how it would sell (Using the runway table helped keep fairness to the experiment because it is located directly next to the fitting rooms, along with the entrance zone, the other store hotshot in regards to the volume of customers that see it). Purposefully, I made a table entirely out of radians that had no promotion going to try and measure the success of a properly made table versus a non-properly made table.

By counting the number of items left on each table at the end of the weekend helped to determine if creating the entrance table based off of the technologically driven style guide example table had an impact versus the basic cardigan table where the style guide played no part in the creation and design. Chapter 4: Findings A. Design Overview “A fashion designer is responsible for creating the specific look of individual garments-?including a garment’s shape, color, fabric, trimmings, and other aspects of he whole,” (Streetcar, 36).

In this career field, there are a multitude of planes that are applied to this Job description, “The category of fashion designer includes people at different levels of the fashion business, from well-known couturiers, to anonymous designers working for commercial ready-to-wear houses, to stylists who might make may specialize in one (or multiple) types of ‘clothing genres’ ranging from categories as broad as children’s apparel, to as specific as maternity sleepwear, plus everything in between.

Basically, “If you can wear it, someone has designed it,” (All Art Schools). An important goal of a designer is to create a brand so that there is something to stick with consumers over the long run. A good way to Judge the success of a designer is if they are able to outlast the fast fashions they create: “New York designer Betsey Johnson has built her long-standing career in fashion by following her own set of rules.

Known for her celebration of the exuberant, the embellished, and the over the top, Betsey has been rocking the fashion industry with her unique and original designs since the sass’s,” Betty’s namesake logo can be seen on all of he tags of her products, and are recognized by fashion forward people everywhere. Once a brand is established, many designers will create their collections with a resonating ‘life styled’ theme targeted towards a certain demographic attracted to their brand.

Designers will now spend time researching colors, fabrics, and trends, to create a collection that will appeal to the lifestyle of the demographic in mind (Streetcar, 37). Unlike past clothing designers, today different forms of technology are available to be used in every step of the design process from idea, creation, and asking the final product that will eventually be sold to consumers. I. Idea Process The idea process is the first step in creating a design because without an idea, there is nothing to work with, and ultimately nothing will eventually be produced.

Things that spark creativity in designers, from the past and now, are virtually limitless; endless ideas are possible with the use of an imagination. However, in addition to a creative imagination, there are tools in today’s technological world that fashion designers have said helped sparked creativity that were not available to early fashion designers. Utilizing the internet, television shows, movies, and phone applications all can become breeding grounds for inspiration-?and a trendsetting, up to date, success striving, and innovative designer will access those items on a daily basis.

Is it not interesting that every year designers, who tend to work in private, are able to create similar looks to each other? Even more remarkably-?how do they know what to create that consumers will want to buy 6-12 months into the future? Hit television shows and movies are used as an indicator of what many people are watching, and the actors and actresses can be subliminal trendsetters. On the 2012 runways from New York, London, Paris and Milan, inspiration seemed to come from past eras that are currently popular in art, music, film and TV.

There were many chic new interpretations inspired by the retro fashion themes of the ‘ass, ‘ass and ‘ass,” (Vice). Productions like The Great Gatsby, The Artist, and Downtown Abbey, all set during the roaring ass’s feature clothing pieces that are considered essential to any fall wardrobes. For example the peplum skirt, “Peplum. They’ve twisted and turned their way out of the ‘ass, bounded past the ‘ass, and landed in the now – merging with there current trends for an appeal that goes beyond the girl,” (Dyke’s).

The internet allows designers to gain inspiration through absolutely anything. Whether it be researching fashion history and trying to revamp it, or looking at wild pictures to get the brain working into something new, it is all available at the click of a button. Reading fashion blobs can be a great form of inspiration, especially types like the This blob allows people to post pictures of themselves in their favorite outfits and others can give them feedback; this can really help a designer come up with a popular piece.

Not to mention hearing the voices of others is beneficial in creating something a consumer would want to buy, “We’ve known for quite some time that like many other industries, the fashion sector is enriched by influences and the impact that opinions can have upon others. Floggers are an integral element of this being authorities, opinion formers and of course influences,” (Gibbon). It. Creating Process After an idea is formulated in the designer’s brain, it is time for them to ‘put the pen to paper’ (one might say) and start physically making a product.

Coming up with a ketch, making a prototype, and creating the final product are all key steps in completing this process. ‘Putting the pen to paper’ may have literally held strong in the past, however, designers today have access to much more efficient tools. One of Lifetime Television’s hit shows, “Project Runway’ helped shed light on how technology can influence, add efficiency, and make more effective creating process for designers. “Project Runway designers use the latest HP Littleton Tablet PC notebooks available with second-generation [email protected] Core”* 17 processors to create winning designs throughout the season.

Trading up for this digital sketchpad allows designers to use a pen or touch technology to create custom designs for each challenge in unlimited colors and styles, and make modifications with ease,” (HP Newsroom). Even if a designer does not have the state of the art computers used on project runway, there are still design software programs that can be installed and used in the same way, like ‘Draw which is even available to be downloaded for free; other more sophisticated software include ‘Fashion Palates’ and ‘Blank-Label’.

Over the long run, computers can save the designer a significant amount of money that they would use n other materials like tons paper and miles of fabric that would be thrown away. It is possible to go from ideation, to creating Just slightly short of a physical example of the item without using a single piece of solid material waste because everything can simply be clicked away and erased on a computer. Finally, while it may not be considered an advanced technology, the sewing machine is a primal piece of machinery used in coming up with the final garment that will be presented and eventually replicated in mass.

The sewing machine has evolved through the years and is now better than ever imagined with the computerized models: “Common treasures include automatic needle threading, settings for many different fabrics including denim, and quilting functions. The machine may come with as many as 100 pre-programmed stitches. Some more advanced machines allow you to scan designs or create designs on a computer and then transfer them to the sewing machine’s memory. ” (Edwards).

Once the final garment is complete and the designer is satisfied, the next essential step is to market the product. B. Marketing Overview Marketing can be thought of as a crucial step between the clothing item and it successfully making its way into the hand of a purchaser; ultimately it is how the signer is able to identify with the public, and in turn the public identifies the designer. It is defined in two ways, as a practice, and as a philosophy. In the terms of a practice it is based off of a product (what exactly is being featured and sold? , price (how much will this cost? ), place (where can you find it? ), and promotional strategy Philosophically, one focuses on the needs of the customer and their satisfaction level with the project (Business Dictionary). More specifically, fashion-marketers will research information on a certain demographic for a brand, advertise to generate ales, and then promote to spread the brand’s name-?all requiring a level of technology to achieve a successful marketing campaign known as digital media.

Figuring out demographics can be done entirely online, using websites like the ‘Bureau of Labor Statistics’ and ‘Cyber Atlas’. Many companies are even able to subtly gain information on their market through their websites, “Some brands that process orders online ask the customer to fill out a satisfaction survey after they complete the purchase. Other Web technology involves social media applications that accomplish outreach and promotional goals.

Fashion marketers can keep target markets up-to- date with live status messages, and use profile queries to find new potential customers and distribute e-promos to relevant audiences,” (Cassava) Unlike determining demographics, advertisements and promotions are seen in purposeful ways everywhere, generally in all media outlets like TV, internet, and in print.

With bachelor degrees specialized in this field, allowing companies to seek only the best, it is obvious the importance marketing has on fashion, “From the ridiculous to the provocative, silly, confusing, sexy and controversial, fashion advertisements hit on just about every human emotion. The marketing and ad campaigns that try to capture and interpret the vision of designers do too, creating, in the process, ads that catch a consumer’s attention and make them yearn for a particular item or brand of clothing. Marketing now takes on many different shapes and is predominantly featured through events, press releases, and print publication. I. Events Fashion events take place in two main forms including fashion shows and product launches to help promote a featured line (Cavalry). Fashion shows are generally organized by the designer in order to showcase their upcoming collection. While most runway shows are photographed, before advanced technology, generally the highly popular fashion shows occurring during NY and Paris’ fashion weeks were the only ones televised.

That has all changed in recent years, “Aided by ever-cheaper video technology, more designers are live-streaming their shows on the Web, offering cubicle dwellers a front-row seat to the same action as fashion editors,” (He-man). Marketers are also allowing enthusiasts of the fashion shows to be more involved, “And a clutch of designers, including Perry Ellis, Tommy Hillier and Calvin Klein, are ruining to Backbone, where fans will be able to not only see the action unfold in real time, but also comment on looks as they come down the runway,” (He-man).

This allows the individual to feel as if they are a part of the show, and can result in a higher level of customer satisfaction and devotion to the brand. For designers who are Just starting up that may not have the funds to organizing a fashion show, online product launches are a perfect way to get your name out there. Entrepreneur Andrew Reid is Just 20 years old and has successfully launched his own clothing company-?entirely online! During an interview with Andrew he stated that technology played a huge role in starting his own business, and he would not have been able to do it.

Weeks before his online store “Overthrow Clothing” debuted he was constantly getting his name out there via the social networking sites of Backbone, sharing and reposting links for his page on Backbone, including dozens of image tags on pictures of his products through Instating, and tweeting to followers on Twitter; the online clothing store successfully launched in early September and Andrew states that the sales are generated solely through internet marketing (Personal immunization, October 1, 2012). I’.

Press Releases “In today’s world of fashion, self-promotion is vital for connecting your fashion house or company with the news media. Press releases are much more effective than advertisements as they reach a greater target audience and give more relevant information. Press releases not only help in building good reputation but also increase sales through favorable publicity,” (PR Genie). Technology forces many press releases to be faxed or emailed to editors or magazines, television networks, and radio stations so they can be received almost instantaneously; sometimes press leases are standard mailed.

Going through the standard newswire to have your press released is very pricey, now available are press release websites allowing the process to be much more affordable, sometimes even free when using distributors like Pr-USA. Net and Live-pr. Com (Walker). Iii. Print Publication On average, a typical fashion magazine is 90% advertisement (Ginsberg) which is where magazines generate most of their revenue. For 1 color page in Vogue magazine located in the first quarter it can cost upwards $1 51,000 (Ginsberg). In turn, magazines thank the brands by featuring them in editorials so readers will purchase he product.

It sounds expensive, but the term “PR Value” assures the purchaser that it will be well worth the money since a ‘one page feature of your brand is worth four times the price of a one page advertisement’ (Ginsberg). Print publications currently offer digital companions to or quarterly issues, statistics show that a large majority of relying on digital series ONLY to get their literary fix. “While the majority of their weekly, monthly consumers are now According to Newspaper Death Watch, print advertising spending is expected to fall to $33. 8 billion in 2012 from $36 billion in 2011,” (Demon).

Devices such as the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, smart phones, and internet all provide digital versions of magazines which ties in print publication to technology. The change from paper to digital is very beneficial to the fashion industry, “This shift also urges further consideration into additional reasons as to why digital media is so efficient. For long lead media (magazines, quarterly newspapers etc. ), editorial submissions must be surrendered between 4 to 6 months prior to publication. With trends changing every day, long lead magazines often fall behind the trends,” (Demon).

In turn, switching to a digital format that eliminates the lapse time from editorial submissions allows companies to increase their revenue by being informed and up to date with current trends which will positively influence the retail sector of the fashion industry. C. Retailing Overview The final step the fashion industry takes is to have products in retail stores with the goal of being purchased by the consumer. Initially, the retailer will purchase products in large quantities from manufacturers and in turn will be sold in smaller quantities to the end-user.

The three most common places to find fashionable apparel are locations in malls, department stores, and specialty stores. Malls house a stores like Dullard’s and Macy’s carry a variety of goods at average prices; specialty stores such as Love Culture and Forever 21 follow a brand or only cater to a specific category of goods (Wisped Retail). Apparel that will be sold in these stores are carefully chosen from the company’s buyers, then merchandised to aid in appeal, and sold in-store by the staff working on the front lines, and then the impact of online shopping.

Online stores have gained much attention over the past ten years ND nearly every name brand retail store offers one now; they benefit the consumer, who gets to shop in the comfort of their own home, and the company who saves money but eliminating all of the middle men involved in standard stores, “Online shopping has become increasingly popular over the past decade. U. S. E-commerce sales grew from 72 billion U. S. Dollars in 2002 to 228 billion U. S. Dollars in 2010,” with clothing sales being attributed to some of the most frequently purchased items online (Satanist). . Buying Buying can easily be considered the first part of fashion retailing, “A fashion buyer is expansible for the products that the company sells, making fashion buyer Jobs quite important for the company and for the brand that they carry. They oversee the development of clothes which are targeted towards a particular market and price range. Depending on how big the company is, there might be one fashion buyer or a team of fashion buyers responsible for the clothes which the company would carry.

Fashion buyer Jobs entail you to maintain good relations with suppliers, while being able to negotiate prices with them. A fashion buyer is also the one who makes sure hat suppliers deliver the new stocks on time. Fashion buyers also monitor the best- selling pieces in the stores and make sure that they are always available for consumers,” (FSP Staff. Buyers rely heavily on technology to prevent a ‘bad buy from happening which would ultimately cause their company to lose a lot of money.

For example, Dullard’s has a program for their buyers that allows them to run reports off of a computer on products to see their selling history (how well the item did, the colors that sold the most, most popular sizes, etc. ) to help predict the success of true items aimed towards the same demographics. They can also keep track of the opposite, what is not selling so they can place the items on markdown before the season is over in hopes of still creating a profit (Personal communication, October 3, 2012). It.

Merchandising Fashion merchandising can be considered a ‘secret’ way to sell to customers without them even realizing it. Fashion merchandising is widely done through three forms: walls, tables, and fixtures with their priorities in that exact order. In the clothing store Love Culture, the visual merchandisers purposefully aim the most light along the alls to make this product the most visible and eye catching, explains Jerkily Affair, a merchandiser for the company. Walls feature the newest and trendiest designs, with layered face-outs creating ready-made outfits for customer inspiration.

As previously mentioned in methodology, the right product placement on tables is key on getting the product moving off of them. All tables other than the ones located at the entrance and fitting rooms (runway) are created to house ‘basics’, these are the staples of one’s wardrobe such as camisoles, tank tops, and plain cotton T-shirts. These items are located on tables because of the quantity of them-?it takes less rotate increasingly older product around while still displaying it in fresh new ways.

Merchandisers rely on their own creativity along with directives from the corporate office to execute the displays. On a weekly basis “Style Guides” are sent to every store via email, and are filled with pictures and text caption explaining certain aspects of the merchandising methods used. In return, once the merchandising is completed properly, merchandisers at Love Culture photograph, upload, organize into a power- mint, and email their creations back to the corporate office for review.

If the designs are truly compelling they may be featured on upcoming style guides. Iii. In-Store Operations There are many components that contribute to making and sustaining a profitable business such as labor optimization, implementing efficient/effective processes, inventory management, and most importantly making sales. When ingredients are placed in the hands of a talented team of managers overseeing a motivated and dedicated staff, the perfect recipe for a successful retail store is tastefully attained (Ripsaw, 3).

Emily Morgan, district manager of the Love Culture central area mentions that an upbeat personality, willingness to learn and grow, driven customer service, and savvy selling skills paired with a great sense of style makes for an ideal apparel retail sales employee. Employees can be thought of as the main contributor to a thriving store, ultimately they are the ones making decisions and performing on the front lines; however, when employees have access to retail-focused technology stores are able to function more efficiently and effectively than ever before (Personal communication, September 15, 2012).

A fundamental piece of technology that all businesses should invest in is a POS (point of sale) computer system. In a basic sense, this is simply the cash register-?hence, the actual point of sale for the transaction. In July 2012, Love Culture upgraded from a basic POS system known as Koru, to a much more evolved Epicure system. Epicure allows managers to track sales unlike they had ever had access to previously; at the touch of a button employees can view KIP (key performance indicator) reports, the ability to contribute in demographic research, and individual sale performance records to help the company grow.

A Asia KIP report will show the cumulative sales total, average dollar per transaction, average unit per transaction, and number of transactions for the range of day(s) that are selected to be viewed. Knowing transaction statistics are important for store growth, or as Emily would say, Mimi can’t win the game, if you don’t know the score! ” Another feature is as exciting to customers as advantageous for learning the demographic of consumers, that is the customer database that Epicure houses. Customers now have the option of entering their email and other personal information with the incentive of being sent coupons and sale updates.

This creates a win/win situation for both parties; the consumer is excited about special offers, while the company ensures a returning customer and at the same time gains information to better tailor the store for shoppers. Finally, with access to individual sales associates Kips, managers are able to better optimize the laboring aspect of keeping the business profitable. Sales statistics are laid out in black and white, with no argument necessary. An employee may realize retail is not for them, and cut out dead weight, or the employee can become more motivated to be the upcoming weeks