Three industry profiles share what’s on the fashion horizon for 2024
What awaits fashion in the coming year? We talk legislation, re-commerce, data-driven supply chains, augmented reality, and other tech innovations in a new edition of our Predictions survey.
by AYLIN FRANZON
December 15, 2023
To share their predictions on the coming year of fashion, we welcome retail advisor, board member, and founder of Change Retail, Linda Pimmeshofer. Using her extensive knowledge of the tech community, she seeks to help the fashion industry become more digitalised, costumer-centric and sustainable in the process. Hilde Pettersen Reljin is the CEO and Co-Founder of Collective Oslo, a platform that promotes the artistic minds in the Norwegian capital’s creative scene. Konrad Olsson is the editor-in-chief and founder of Scandinavian MIND as well as CEO of Scandinavian MIND Agency.
If you were to pick 3 major topics for the fashion industry in 2024, what would you choose?
Linda Pimmeshofer, Change Retail: Digital Product Passports and the traceability that it offers, circularity in both production and business models, and made-to-order.
Hilde Pettersen Reljin, Collective Oslo: Sustainability is the buzzword for the fashion scene going forward. People are catching on to the idea that what we wear can impact the planet, leading to a surge in demand for transparent supply chains, and circular fashion initiatives. Artificial Intelligence is stealing the show. I can see it predicting the next big trends, and even personalising one’s shopping. It’s a tech-savvy fashion future. The brands and designers embracing diversity are the real MVPs. Fashion is for everyone, no matter your background, and that’s a vibe that connects with people globally.
Konrad Olsson, Scandinavian MIND: 1. Legislation. All brands need to prepare for the upcoming legislation from the EU. Compliance starts as early as 2026, and if you don’t prepare it will be too late. 2. Software. Fashion is shockingly analog. Digitising the industry beyond e-commerce will be crucial. 3. Communication. Building a purpose-driven brand that truly resonates with its audience is what ultimately will make a fashion brand feel relevant.
What thing will have the most influence on sustainability in fashion in 2024?
Linda Pimmeshofer, Change Retail: I value the RE100 initiatives that handle a part of the overproduction but we need to stop producing things that no one will buy. We need to do more with less and waste nothing, and the only path towards that is to become data-driven and customer-centric. Maybe go all the way to made-to-order and have 40% of our current overproduction down to zero. The enabler behind that would be digitalisation, so the answer is tech!
Hilde Pettersen Reljin, Collective Oslo: It’s all about Circular Fashion Magic. We’re not talking about your grandma’s hand-me-downs; we’re talking about a twist on how we do fashion. Instead of the usual wear-and-forget routine, we’re diving into a world where your clothes are like VIP guests at a party. Brands are dialing into the Earth-friendly wavelength, making sustainability effortlessly stylish. Circular vibes are turning the fashion world into a more eco-conscious, trend-setting place.
Konrad Olsson, Scandinavian MIND: There has been a lot of hype around new materials like Spinnova and Renewcell in recent years, but I think the actual implementations at scale are a few years away. New business models like resell have proven difficult to gain traction, with many bankruptcies as a result. What will make a difference is the boring stuff. Supply chain management. Increased data sharing between brands and retailers. That’s the stuff that will the value chain more effective and less wasteful. We have an overproduction of 30%. Can we reduce that to 20% we have done more for the environment than any new fiber technology will.
”It introduces a new era of interactivity, personalisation, and accessibility in fashion, transforming how consumers engage with and perceive the world of style”
What new technologies will influence and change the industry next year and in the years to come?
Linda Pimmeshofer, Change Retail: AI is definitely one. Digital Product Passports and different carriers like RFID, NFCs, and QR codes with even more and better ones launching. There is one active Bluetooth carrier which opens up many analytical possibilities regarding what garments are being tested and bought. Digital visualisations of the garments for you to show and sell before producing. It also renders market material at an extremely low cost by using avatars instead of models. This will shorten lead times of the supply chain and open up new customer experiences, like click and try on your avatar, as a way to tackle on of the big problems within fast fashion: returns.
Hilde Pettersen Reljin, Collective Oslo: Augmented reality is set to revolutionise the fashion world, bringing about transformative changes that redefine the way we experience and engage with style. AR is poised to elevate the fashion experience, bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds. It introduces a new era of interactivity, personalisation, and accessibility in fashion, transforming how consumers engage with and perceive the world of style. The blockchain is stepping onto the runway to ensure that what you wear comes with a traceable story. From the origins of materials to the hands that crafted your favourite piece, it’s all laid out in the open.
Can you share any good examples that are showing the way here?
Linda Pimmeshofer, Change Retail: There are so many, but a fashion brand that should get credit is Karl Lagerfeld. With their digital, agile, and data-driven supply chain, they can collaborate within the supply chain around a digital representation of the collection. Startups to highlight are all the new brands that are using waste and are helping others to do it too. Sucre for example has an AI that helps you redesign old clothes to give them a second chance. Returns are a major problem to tackle within the industry, and Eyefitu is one great AI-empowered solution that for example Rag & Bone are using. Another one is EON, who helps brands create a product management system to meet the new law of DPP and empowers all circular business models.
Hilde Pettersen Reljin, Collective Oslo: Luxury brand Gucci incorporated AR into its app, allowing users to try on different shoe models virtually. It’s a prime example of a high-end brand leveraging technology to create a more interactive and personalized connection with its audience. Last year, Balmain introduced the Unicorn sneaker, a high-end, futuristic shoe designed to evoke the metaverse aesthetic. This year Balmain has taken the design a step further by collaborating with Space Runners, a digital, wearable and experience startup. The collaboration involves launching NFTs inspired by the Unicorn sneaker and introducing a digital counterpart to accompany physical versions of the shoe. Balmain and Space Runners are showing us how top-notch fashion brands can dive into Web3, NFTs, and the metaverse to make shopping way more fun and redefine how we connect with the fashion world.
Konrad Olsson, Scandinavian MIND: We are working with some exciting companies in our agency business. Swedish Impulso is one. IOXIO from Finland is another. Both will make a mark in 2024.
”The keys? To break down silos and work together and utilize what we are good at; tech innovation, inclusivity, collaboration, and sustainability”
What are the keys in order for the Nordics to remain one of the most innovative fashion regions in the world?
Linda Pimmeshofer, Change Retail: To break down silos and work together and utilise what we are good at; tech innovation, inclusivity, collaboration, and sustainability. We need to recognise that technology will be the solution and invite the tech people into the room, and the one that doesn’t have a CTO needs to get that. It is at the intersection between tech and human creativity that magic will happen.
Hilde Pettersen Reljin, Collective Oslo: Nordic fashion has to keep rocking the sustainable crown. It’s not just a trend; it’s a lifestyle. Think eco-friendly fabrics and circular fashion initiatives. We need to embrace the tech revolution; it’s about being on the forefront. Lastly is to stay globally connected but rooted in Nordic aesthetics. We need to be trendsetters with a local flavour. It’s about maintaining that distinctive Nordic style while playing on the world stage.
Konrad Olsson, Scandinavian MIND: We have the innovations and technologies, and it is easy to pat ourselves on the back for that alone. But the key to real change is to break out internationally. Launching in European markets like Germany and Benelux is a good first step. My plan is for Scandinavian MIND to make a dent in these markets as well.
What else is on your mind now?
Linda Pimmeshofer, Change Retail: In the age of customer experience and sustainability, the only way forward is to become data-driven. To digitalise the supply chain, the customer journey, and connect the product to be able to collect the data you need to plan your assortment depending on demand, be more agile to changes and local in your offers. Customers also expect personalisation, relevant offers and help to find what they are looking for, and we want to buy both new and re-commerce. It is time retail helps us to understand what we already own, to upgrade with what we need, and to resell the things we don’t use.
Hilde Pettersen Reljin, Collective Oslo: Community, critical thinking, and balance. The world of technology is fascinating, scary, and deliciously exciting. Embrace it, because it will change our lives and how we live, for both good and bad.
Konrad Olsson, Scandinavian MIND: There is a lot in store for our platform in 2024. The need for insights and knowledge sharing around the fashion industry’s transformation is going to be a major focus. Stay tuned for new content projects and more events.