The State of Fashion 2023

The State of Fashion 2023

The State of Fashion 2023

In 2023, the global fashion industry will need to weather inflation while finding opportunities in shifting consumer patterns, channel and digital marketing strategies, and manufacturing approaches.

Ten themes for 2023

Global economy:

Global fragility. Amid the highest inflation in a generation, rising geopolitical tensions, climate crises, and sinking consumer confidence in anticipation of an economic downturn, the global economy is in a volatile state. Fashion brands will need careful planning to navigate the many uncertainties and recessionary risks that lie ahead in 2023.
Regional realities. Understanding where to invest around the world has never been easy, but rising geopolitical uncertainty and uneven economic recoveries related to the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors, will likely make it even more challenging in 2023. Brands can reevaluate regional growth priorities and hone their strategies so that they are more tailored to the geographies in which they operate.

Consumer shifts:

Two-track spending. Consumers may be affected differently by the potential economic turbulence in 2023. Depending on factors such as disposable income level, some will postpone or curtail discretionary purchases; others will seek out bargains, increasing the demand for resale, rental, and off-price products. Fashion executives should adapt their business models to protect customer loyalty and avoid diluting their brands.
Fluid fashion. Gender-fluid fashion is gaining greater traction amid changing consumer attitudes toward gender identity and expression. For many brands and retailers, the blurring of the lines between men’s wear and women’s wear will require rethinking their product design, marketing, and in-store and digital shopping experiences.

Formal wear reinvented. Formal attire is taking on new definitions as shoppers rethink how they dress for work, weddings, and other occasions. While offices and events will likely become more casual, special occasions may be dominated by statement-making outfits that consumers rent or buy to stand out when they do decide to dress up.

Fashion system:

Direct-to-consumer reckoning. Although brands across price segments and categories have embraced digital direct-to-consumer channels, mounting digital marketing costs and e-commerce readjustments have put the viability of the model into question. To grow, brands will likely need to diversify their channel mix, including wholesale and third-party marketplaces, alongside direct-to-consumer models.
Tackling greenwashing. As the industry continues to grapple with its damaging environmental and social impact, consumers, regulators, and other stakeholders may increasingly scrutinize how brands communicate about their sustainability credentials. If brands are to avoid greenwashing, they must show that they are making meaningful and credible change while abiding by emerging regulatory requirements.

Future-proofing manufacturing. Continued disruptions in supply chains are a catalyst for a reconfiguration of global production. Textile manufacturers can create new supply chain models based around vertical integration, nearshoring, and small-batch production, enabled by enhanced digitization.
Digital marketing reloaded. Recent data rules are spurring a new chapter for digital marketing as customer targeting becomes less effective and more costly. Brands will need to embrace creative campaigns and new channels, such as retail media networks and the metaverse, to achieve greater ROI on marketing spend and to gather valuable first-party data that can be leveraged to deepen customer relationships.

Organization overhaul. Successful execution of strategies in 2023 will in part hinge on a company’s alignment around key functions. Fashion executives need a new vision for what the organization of the future will require, focusing on attracting and retaining top talent, as well as on elevating teams and critical C-suite roles to execute on priorities such as sustainability and digital acceleration.

In 2023, consumers will be unpredictable and fickle. Brands will need to consider carefully the factors that affect shopping behaviors and respond accordingly. Even as many customers reduce spending, brands have an opportunity to keep customers engaged through, for example, rental channels and off-price retailers. But these strategies will require careful execution to ensure that margins and brand reputations are protected. At the same time, brands will need to update their merchandising and design approaches to reflect shifting ideas around gender lines in fashion and dress codes. Daily office attire will become more casual, and special-occasion dress will become bolder.

Read the full report made by McKinsey:

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