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Published December 22nd 2022

The Big Fashion Industry Trends for 2023

Brandwatch research reveals some of the biggest trends for the fashion industry for 2023. Explore the latest data here.

What’s been bubbling up in online conversations relating to the business of fashion? 

In 2023, what trends will we see pick up speed? And what does that say about the future? 

We take a look at some of the most popular topics in consumer discussions relating to the fashion industry.

Trend #1: The impact of K-pop on fashion continues

The popularity of K-pop exploded in the last decade, with the likes of Psy entering mainstream Western culture first (remember the Gangnam Style song?), followed by many talented artists like Jungkook and BTS, GOT7, Exo, and the list goes on.

These artists brought their sense of fashion and culture to the world, influencing every industry including the fashion sector. 

One look at the topic cloud representing consumer discussions relating to fashion revealed keywords like “Paris Fashion Week”, “Blackpink”, “Lisa”, “fashion show”, and Celine, whose global brand ambassador is Blackpink’s Lisa. 

And if we filter the conversation by people, the influence of K-pop becomes even more evident. 

Why should retail and fashion brands pay attention to K-pop? 

Not only do K-pop stars have a lot of influence over their followers, their fans are typically highly engaged. They are trendsetters as they are always retweeting, liking, and sharing other fans’ content, expanding the reach, and bringing lots of exposure to any topics relating to their favorite global stars.

Trend #2: Environmental commitment in fashion is here to stay

In 2022 there were close to 53m online mentions relating to sustainability and fashion. 

We used Google Trends and Consumer Research to look back five years. As you can see, Google searches and consumer mentions relating to sustainability and fashion have grown steadily since 2017. 

It looks like sustainability and ethical fashion will be more important than ever before in 2023 if the upward trend continues.

Examining the social posts more closely, we found topics like "sustainably made" and "slow fashion" trending in conversations.

What is slow fashion?

As the name suggests, slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion and it lives under the umbrella of sustainability. Slow fashion represents a conscious approach where consumers may buy fewer items of higher quality that also meet certain ethical standards, such as organically grown textile, no animal testing, ethical manufacturing, and fair working conditions. 

To better understand the sentiment behind consumer conversations relating to slow fashion, we dug deeper using Brandwatch’s Topic Cluster and customized the chart to focus on keyword groups and associated adjectives.

Notice how “fast” in relation to clothing is associated with “cheapest”, “irresponsible”, and “consumption”. On the other hand, keywords like “recycled”, “outstanding”, “versatile”, “conscious”, and “ambiguous”, connected to “people” and “movement”, show how slow fashion is a movement that’s generating positivity online.  

While doing our research, we also came across some negativity related to sustainability in fashion, and “expensive” was one of key topics in those discussions.

Many consumers discussed how thrifting and sustainability in fashion have become a hot trend, influencing the price point, as many brands have jumped on the opportunity to come up with a sustainable idea to boost profits. 

Slide right to see more

Trend #3: Minimizing shopping anxiety 

At this point, many of us have been working from home for several years, and this has impacted how we dress for work and leisure. Moreover, today shoppers are confronted by so much information and choice – whether it’s clothing options or retailers to choose from – that it’s overwhelming. Shopping anxiety is real.

That and escalating environmental concerns have made many consumers rethink their wardrobes.

A recent UK study found that 37% of consumers 35-years-old and above feel overwhelmed by the volume of trends sweeping the fashion pages and social media feeds. 

In order to engage and attract these shoppers, fashion brands will need to work on alleviating shopping anxiety for consumers, ultimately making shopping more convenient and appealing.

A retailer that's leading the way here is Nordstrom which puts together outfits on its website based on current fashion trends so you don't have to.

Trend #4: Fluidity in fashion and retail

Changing consumer attitudes towards gender identity and expression have pushed designers, brands, and retailers to rethink their products, how they market them, and what the shopper experience might look like in the future.

In the last few years we’ve witnessed the return of boyfriend jeans, cargo pants, and examples of the fashion industry embracing inclusivity and collaborating with models from all walks of life. 

Importantly, celebrities are embracing gender-fluid fashion. In 2021 Harry Styles launched a gender-neutral beauty brand. And Maluma has just launched his first fashion collection with Macy’s with the description: “The collection embraces inclusivity and a fluid design concept that allows shoppers to mix and match between the women's and men's collections.”

While a loose cut – something that both cargo pants and boyfriend jeans have in common – provides greater mobility, gender-fluid fashion opens the door to greater exploration and experimentation. While there’s still some debate, this trend should be a source of joy for many in 2023.

Trend #5: New category of retail: recommerce or resale-as-a-service

According to Statista, in 2021, the global market value of secondhand and resale apparel was estimated to be worth $96bn and its value is projected to reach $218bn in 2026. 

How have brands turned selling secondhand into profit?

A growing movement towards sustainability in fashion has pushed the fashion industry to innovate. And the last few years have witnessed the growth of the new retail category: RaaS or resale-as-a-service.  

Resale-as-a-service has reinvented the way in which consumers shop and sell pre-owned clothing items and accessories. To do ‘thrifting’, consumers no longer have to physically go to a thrift store. 

But it’s not just that. RaaS makes it easier for brands to resell garments as well, while conducting business in a more eco-friendly way.

Some brands have already launched their own resale marketplaces, like Patagonia. Others have partnered with companies like ThredUp and Poshmark, which enable brands to sell gently used clothing directly to their communities of consumers. 

For example, Athleta and Madewell have both collaborated with ThredUp, offering their customers to trade in pre-owned clothing items for an in-store credit towards a purchase of a new item. Trade-in items are then sold on the ThredUp website under the ‘Partners’ section. 

We compared the online conversation relating to five popular resale marketplaces online between June 1 2022 and December 1 2022. 

As shown on the chart, Poshmark, ThredUp, Depop, and TheRealReal all saw an increase in mention volume in the second half of 2022 and when compared to the previous six months.

Collaborations with resale marketplaces can turn highly beneficial for brands in the fashion industry. Some of the benefits can include:

  • Getting more data points on your customers and prospects
  • Gaining access to new revenue channels
  • And, importantly, improving brand image, as today’s consumers have a lot of love for environmentally conscious brands.

Resale tech: RaaS and AI

For resale companies that operate distribution centers, processing and cataloging incoming secondhand items can become time consuming and labor intensive. 

One company took a step further to accelerate the adoption of resale with the use of proprietary technology and ongoing automation.

ThredUp has leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) and visual recognition technology that helps inspect incoming items and tag them with multiple attributes that consumers can then filter for when shopping on the website.

ThredUp has leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) and visual recognition technology that helps inspect incoming items and tag them with multiple attributes that consumers can then filter for when shopping on the website.

Not only is the company able to scale with automation in place, it provides a better customer experience on the website as well.

What would you like us to cover next?

Shoot me an email at [email protected] 

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