How Bright is the Scope of Rental Fashion in India
How Bright is the Scope of Rental Fashion in India

A new generation of young people always creates a wave of change and a generation (Gen-Z/ Millenials) that was either born or was eased into the digital age holds an entirely different appetite for fashion. Gen-Z and Millenials are hooked on social media and as a result, shy away from repeating clothes creating a larger demand for new clothes. 

The digital age has also brought about a wave of awareness amongst youth so now everyone knows the who’s who of the luxury world and wants a piece of the pie by wearing the latest designer outfits. To top it all off, fashion trends are ever-changing so owning clothes based on new trends is seeming even more redundant as it’s heavy on the pockets and doesn’t yield as much marginal utility for the product. Rentals have smoothly blended into this niche that was created purely by the digital boom and is now being embraced gracefully due to COVID and sensitivity towards climate action. 

Youth from urban cities, particularly our Tier-I and Tier-II, is definitely growing more conscious of what they wear and where their clothes come from. All of this has led to a revolution of sorts, moving people towards the idea of renting. Renting clothes is not only easier on the pockets but it also allows people to freely post and flaunt their outfits on social media without the fear of not being able to repeat them. There has been a natural shift amongst people who are making frugal choices that helps them be at the top of their fashion game. Customer acquisition costs for the tech-enabled rental companies have significantly come down post-Covid, which very well reflects the organic growth of the businesses. 

Influencers post new outfits every day and unlike older times when only celebrities rented their outfits, our next-door influencers are all in for rentals. There is no dearth of content and designer wear that is available for rent. Rental brands are expanding both online and offline as people can now see the advantage of renting and the numbers say it all. People are renting products with actual market price of Rs 20,000 to Rs 15,00,000 at rental values that range between Rs 1,500 to Rs 1,50,000. This massive difference in value is a huge impetus for people as it helps them live their dream of wearing their favorite designer all the while not going through the hassle of upkeep, not to forget never having to repeat it again out of guilt. 

The numbers are promising and they show that renting is only here to stay and expand, it has now become the new age of buying for customers in India. C2C (customer-to-customer renting) models are growing as seen with rental companies that give back to society by creating a sustainable reuse model, they do this by taking great care of the fabrics. Women can now rent their design wear to rental companies and make extra income off of it to further indulge in a shopping/rental spree. Thrift stores are also picking up as people ease into the idea of sharing clothes, rental companies get their outfits from designers and outfits flow from one consumer to the other effortlessly.  

The growing concerns about carbon footprints amongst Gen-Z are getting brands like French Connection, Allbirds, M&S, Lululemon, Hugo Boss, and Gore-Tex in addition to Burberry to move towards rentals and resale. 

This goes to say that even big brands are trying to salvage their image by showcasing that they care about the planet. Conversations around upcycling clothes have become the new normal. Consumers are sharing outfits, and refurbishing old Jewelry instead of investing in new pieces. Brides at their wedding are choosing to tailor their mom’s outfits and recreate new looks that showcase a beautiful blend of traditional heritage with a hint of modernity. Music Festivals have picked up in India and Indians are using all their creativity to come up with new looks by renting cool outfits, which they know they will never wear again. 

These rapidly changing norms have created a cultural shift where wearing pre-loved clothing is no longer embarrassing but rather a thing to take great pride in. Fast fashion has largely consumed our societies convincing us that we don’t have enough but Gen-Z is moving away from that idea and making conscious choices all while not compromising on fashion. Trends are always going to keep changing and if one must have 70 percent of essentials in their wardrobe and for the rest 30% they rent, thrift or evaluate their choices closely when investing in a fast fashion piece. As soon as wedding season hits in India all of the old clothes go further deep down inside the wardrobe and there is a dire need to wear something new, something upbeat so essentially every ethnic wedding season purchase can’t be repeated for at least a year or two. This timeline is bound to cause wear and tear to the clothes and rips away a big chunk of a customer’s savings. All this is now making urban Indians invest money in hassle-free renting that they can fashionably hype on their grams and honestly this cultural shift is one big step into the future. Be it a friend’s wedding or a conceptual shoot for social media, renting is the best way to optimize outfits and look snazzy at all times. 

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Top 15 Technology Trends Reshaping Fashion Retail in 2024: Dress for the Future
Top 15 Technology Trends Reshaping Fashion Retail in 2024: Dress for the Future

The fashion industry is in the midst of a digital revolution, with technology weaving its way into every aspect of retail, from design and production to marketing and customer experience. As we step into 2024, the pace of innovation continues to accelerate, presenting exciting opportunities for both established brands and emerging players. To stay ahead of the curve, understanding the key technology trends reshaping fashion retail is crucial.

This article dives deep into the top 15 trends that will have a significant impact in the coming year, providing insights and examples to help you leverage them for success. Whether you're a fashion designer, retailer, or simply an avid consumer, buckle up for a journey into the future of fashion.

1. Immersive Shopping Experiences:

Gone are the days of static images and basic product descriptions. Consumers crave engaging and interactive experiences, and technology is delivering. Here are the key drivers:

  • Augmented Reality (AR): Imagine virtually trying on clothes before buying them. AR superimposes digital clothing models onto users, allowing them to see how garments fit and look on their specific body type. This reduces returns and boosts customer satisfaction. (Source: The AR/VR Headset Market is Expected to Reach $20.4 Billion by 2024, Statista)
  • Virtual Reality (VR): Take things a step further by stepping into immersive, 3D virtual showrooms. Brands like Rebecca Minkoff and Tommy Hilfiger are already offering VR experiences, allowing customers to explore collections and interact with products in a realistic setting.
  • 3D Product Visualization: High-quality 3D models give a detailed view of products from all angles, zoom levels, and even in different lighting conditions. This enhances online shopping experiences and increases conversion rates. (Source: 3D Modeling Market to Reach $3.8 Billion by 2027, 3D Printing Industry)

2. Personalization at its Peak:

One-size-fits-all is a relic of the past. Consumers expect personalized experiences, and technology is making it possible:

  • AI-powered Recommendations: Leverage customer data and purchase history to suggest relevant products, predict styles they'll love, and offer personalized styling advice. (Source: 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with companies that offer personalized experiences, Epsilon)
  • Chatbots and Virtual Assistants: These AI-powered tools provide real-time customer support, answer product inquiries, and offer personalized recommendations, 24/7.
  • Dynamic Content: Showcasing products and offers tailored to individual preferences based on demographics, browsing behavior, and past purchases creates a more relevant and engaging experience.

3. Livestream Shopping Takes Center Stage:

Livestream shopping blends entertainment and real-time commerce, allowing brands to connect with audiences directly and generate instant sales. Expect to see:

  • Interactive Livestreaming: Viewers can ask questions, interact with hosts, and purchase products in real-time, creating a dynamic and engaging shopping experience.
  • Influencer Collaborations: Partnering with relevant influencers for livestream shopping events leverages their audience trust and drives sales.
  • Shoppable Livestreams: Products featured in the livestream are tagged and instantly purchasable, removing friction from the buying journey.

4. Omnichannel Integration Seamlessly Blends Online and Offline:

The lines between physical and digital retail are blurring. Here's how:

  • Click-and-Collect: Customers order online and pick up in-store, offering convenience and flexibility.
  • Buy Online, Return In-Store (BORIS): Allow customers to return online purchases to physical stores for added convenience.
  • Mobile Point-of-Sale (mPOS): Empower store associates with mobile devices to assist customers anywhere on the shop floor, enhancing the in-store experience.

5. Sustainability Takes Center Stage:

Consumers are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of fashion. Technology is helping brands become more sustainable:

  • Transparency through Blockchain: Blockchain technology enables tracking the origin and journey of materials, ensuring ethical sourcing and responsible production.
  • Sustainable Materials and Production Processes: Utilizing recycled materials, organic fibers, and low-impact dyeing techniques is becoming increasingly important.
  • Circular Economy Initiatives: Resale platforms and rental services encourage clothing reuse and extend the life cycle of garments.

6. Voice Commerce Emerges as a Powerful Tool:

Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant are changing how we interact with technology, and fashion is no exception. Expect to see:

  • Voice-activated Shopping: Purchase clothes hands-free using voice commands, ideal for multitasking or busy consumers.
  • Product Information and Reviews: Ask voice assistants for product details, size recommendations, and customer reviews for informed decision-making.

7. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Streamlines Operations:

AI is automating tasks and boosting efficiency across the fashion value chain:

  • Demand Forecasting: AI algorithms analyze sales data and trends to predict future demand, optimizing inventory management and reducing stockouts.
  • Automated Design and Production: AI can generate design ideas, personalize patterns, and even optimize production processes.
  • Fraud Detection and Prevention: AI helps identify and prevent fraudulent transactions, protecting both brands and customers.

8. The Rise of Social Commerce:

Social media platforms are evolving into powerful shopping destinations:

  • Shoppable Posts and Stories: Allow customers to purchase products directly through social media posts, eliminating the need to switch platforms.
  • Social Proof and Influencer Marketing: Leverage user-generated content and influencer partnerships to build trust and drive sales.
  • Social Gifting: Social media platforms are introducing gifting features, making it easier to purchase and send fashion items to friends and family.

9. The Metaverse Beckons:

The metaverse, a virtual world where people can interact, shop, and socialize, is still in its early stages, but fashion brands are already experimenting.

  • Virtual Fashion: Design and sell digital clothing items specifically for avatars within the metaverse.
  • Virtual Showrooms and Experiences: Create immersive virtual spaces where customers can explore collections and interact with brands.
  • NFTs and Digital Ownership: Offer unique, limited-edition digital fashion items secured through NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens).

10. Data-Driven Decision Making:

Data is king, and fashion brands are leveraging it to gain insights and make informed decisions:

  • Customer Analytics: Analyze customer behavior, preferences, and purchase history to understand their needs and personalize offerings.
  • Marketing Attribution: Measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns across different channels and optimize advertising spend.
  • Trend Forecasting: Identify emerging trends and styles based on social media data, search trends, and sales patterns.

11. Robotics and Automation Take Over Repetitive Tasks:

Robots are taking over repetitive tasks in warehouses and factories, improving efficiency and accuracy:

  • Automated Picking and Packing: Robots can speed up order fulfillment and reduce errors.
  • Quality Control and Inspection: Robots can inspect garments for defects with greater precision than humans.
  • Automated Customer Service: Chatbots powered by AI can handle basic customer inquiries, freeing up human agents for complex issues.

12. The Power of Community and Co-Creation:

Brands are building stronger relationships with customers by fostering a sense of community and co-creation:

  • User-Generated Content (UGC) Campaigns: Encourage customers to share photos and videos wearing your clothes, leveraging their authenticity and reach.
  • Crowdfunding and Collaborative Design: Allow customers to contribute to product design and development through crowdfunding platforms.
  • Loyalty Programs and Exclusive Experiences: Reward loyal customers with exclusive access to products, events, and experiences.

13. Cybersecurity Becomes Paramount:

As technology advancements create new opportunities, cybersecurity threats also evolve. Brands need robust security measures:

  • Data Protection: Implement strong data encryption and access controls to protect customer information.
  • Payment Security: Ensure secure payment gateways and transaction processing to prevent fraud.
  • Cybersecurity Awareness and Training: Educate employees about cybersecurity best practices to minimize risks.

14. The Future of Retail is Phygital:

The physical and digital worlds will converge further, creating seamless and engaging experiences.

  • Interactive In-Store Displays: Interactive displays with AR features and product information enrich the shopping experience.
  • Personalized In-Store Recommendations: Utilize customer data to offer personalized product recommendations while they shop in-store.
  • Frictionless Checkout: Implement self-checkout options and mobile payment solutions for faster and more convenient transactions.

15. Continuous Innovation is Key:

The fashion industry is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the curve requires embracing continuous innovation. Here are some key strategies:

  • Invest in Research and Development: Allocate resources to explore emerging technologies and experiment with new solutions.
  • Partner with Tech Companies: Collaborate with technology providers to develop innovative solutions and access expertise.
  • Adopt an Agile Mindset: Be open to change, experiment quickly, and learn from failures to continuously improve.

By embracing these top 15 technology trends, fashion brands can unlock new opportunities, enhance customer experiences, and thrive in the ever-evolving retail landscape. Remember, this is just the beginning. The future of fashion is brimming with possibilities, and those who embrace technology will be the ones shaping it.


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