TECHNOLOGY & FASHION
This dissertation is written on Fashion and the technologies involved with the fashion. The history of fashion can be traced back to Egyptians, Babylonians and Assyrians to Greeks and southern Italians. We will look at how wearable fashions and related technologies have evolved over the history of humanity. The development of ancient civilizations, their tools, the primitive fashion and the change it went through over time. The techniques and technology developed in the modern age to meet up the demands of the modern man. The technologies and automated machines that became Industries to facilitate fashion in its different manifestations.
We will also look at the modern technological processes that are being worked at and known as the next big thing in fashion. In this context, we will look at technologies like 3D printing that is already catching the fashion industry. The objective is the Digital or internet marketing that is a very hot issue and has completely redefined. The way we do business and the way Business marketing is taught. In this dissertation, we will compare the technology and fashion from the ancient times of man till the present. The popular vision of future regarding fashion and the role of technology in developing our future fashion.
Table of content
- Title page…………………………………………………………………………………1
- Table of contents……………………………………………………………..…………3
- Introduction …………………………………………………………………….………4
- Literature review……………………………………………….………………………5
- Research methods………………………………………………………………………7
- Objective#1: Evolution of technology and its contribution to fashion…………………8
- Objective#2: Technological processes and Fashion……………………………………11
- Objective#3: Fashion and Digital Marketing……………………………………………………….14
- Findings of primary data……………………………………………………………….42
- Findings of secondary data…………….……………………………………………….44
- Conclusion …………………………………………………………………….….……45
- Appendix1 ……………………………………………………….…………………… 46
- Appendix 2………………………………………………………………………………47
- Appendix 3…………………………………………………………………………… 48
- Aim of this research study………………………………………………………………50
Since the appearance of mankind on the face of the Earth, His first concern has been food for survival in the wilderness of Earth. His superior intelligence led him to create tools with stone and wood. These tools aided him to hunt. He probably used the same or similar tools make clothes from animal skins that he used for hunting. The ancient man’s greatest concern has always been to fill his belly and the need to wear clothes to protect himself and others around him from the bad effects of the weather. There is overwhelming Archeological evidence that humans also created jewelry in the prehistoric times. This jewelry was made of stones and hard parts of animal bodies like bones and teeth. This clearly implies that man had fashion since the beginning of his existence. This clearly implies that he had the basic technology to create fashion. We will study the technology that the early man had and how it has influenced the fashion to become how we see fashion today. We will see the technology playing a significant role in shaping the fashion since the early days of man till today and we will see how we can use the most recent tools and technologies to sell fashion to customers on a global scale.
Objective one: Evolution of technologies and its contribution to fashion.
Objective two: Technological processes and fashion.
Objective three: digital marketing and Fashion.
AIM: Technology and its impact on Fashion
The creative and innovative talent always had a place with the human existence. Whenever a technique was discovered by someone, it was passed down from generations to generations and in many cases taught to others. Whenever something was created that had a display charm and a majority of people liked it. It became fashion. When we study the history of ancient civilizations we clearly see that the earliest humans had cherished fashion. The patterns in clothing and other types of ornamentation were clearly distinct from other civilized cultures. We will see the evolution of technology over the history all the way to the industrial age.
The second objective will be how Fashion manger should take technology seriously by investing time, money and effort in emerging technologies like 3D printing that is hitting the fashion market like a storm.
The last objective will be to take leverage of digital marketing and bring the attention of the audience to the fashion product that are intended to be promoted.
Our aim will be to assess and analyze the part technology plays to create irresistible designs to decorate the human body. Not only that we will also see how technology can help us market and sell the fashion products. We will explore how Fashion can be sold via digital marketing to those people who want it.
This dissertation is related to Technology and Fashion. In order to understand Technology and the role it plays in creating fashion. We will start from the early man who appeared in the Stone Age and the simple technologies he used to create clothing and jewelry and other ornamentations with simple handmade tools made of stone and bones. Human beings always have been social animals. Therefore, they started to live in groups called tribes. This led them to create civilizations. These civilities thrived along river beds and other natural resources. The Jewelry from the ancient is not simple and pose an enormous challenge for the scholars for its interpretations. Jewelry was a portable form of wealth that allowed the prehistoric man to transfer among families, passed down for generations and taken to long distances (Cifarelli, 2010, p.1). The main conception of these civilizations tells us that the man and the technology he possessed at that time was very simple and primitive. This belief does not explain the mysterious technology behind the many monolithic monuments like the Egyptian pyramids, the pyramids of the Mayas. These colossal structures remain a mystery to scientists even till this day. The reason being that there is no explanation, but what the ancient man has left behind gave much information about the technology they used in their fashion and culture. The first evidence of woven textiles was found in Anatolia, a region now in Turkey in 6000 B.C (Vogelsang-Eastwood, G.M. 1988). This evidence, however, is not accepted due to skepticism by John Peter Wild in his book “Textiles in Archaeology” (Wild) because there is a lack of evidence.
The ancient man progressed into mid evil ages in Europe and nearly about the same time Muslim civilization was surviving and flourishing in the East. Muslims made enormous contributions to many disciplines of knowledge. This knowledge then slowly spread to Europe by the students and learners coming from Europe at that time. As the Europeans became proficient in knowledge, a revolution took place in Europe that is now known as the Renaissance. This age led to the enhancement of technology at a galloping rate and Great universities were built in America and Europe. This time in history became the milestone of a new era taking the west into the Industrial age. At the present time the technology is the legacy of the Industrial age tremendously influencing fashion as it became an industry itself.
We will be discovering in this information age certain promising technologies are emerging in a way that will completely revolutionize the way we comprehend fashion. These technologies are 3D and 4D printing technologies. When these technologies will be combined with Information Technology at a greater degree has the potential to do miracles. In short, it will turn the science fiction stuff into reality.
The research method that will be extensively employed will be Qualitative Research. The qualitative research is oriented towards human behavior. It is used in all the disciplines and situations in which human beings are an active and significant element. It works by taking a small sample in concerned people or their opinions are gathered information and to drive results. It has very wide spread applications ranging from the humanities and Human sciences to Psychology, Sociology and Marketing. It works by taking a small subset of people and information is gathered from them. This information is then processed and analyzed to derive results. The sample of a population is taken from people in the same environment or involved with a certain activity at a certain time. It can be interpolated for a much larger group of people and the behavior can be understood, and certain predictions may be derived. The idea revolves around the fact that if the people in a certain sample have a certain reaction or behavior, if that is true, then the larger population from which the sample is taken from will behave the same way, with a certain deviation margin.
We start from the prehistoric age. When there were no societies, civilizations or industries. It will be proved that man had fashion at that time. Men wore jewelry and other type of ornamentation. This primitive jewelry was made from animal bones, teeth, stones. This jewelry had significant display value because it was symmetrical. There is a quote “Beauty lies in symmetry” and this is true to a significant extent. When Stone Age passed away it was followed by Iron and Bronze Age when man had discovered fire and through different processes he made artifacts of iron, bronze and even gold. Man became more organized into civilizations and he had better tools and technologies than ever before. The trait of creating Jewelry and clothes became more and more specialized. Jewelry is found abundantly in Egypt, one the most ancient and foremost civilizations, modern man ever came to know.
Similarly, we have seen advancements in clothing as a fashion since the early days of man. This tells us a lot about the esthetic sense of man. There is some early evidence of textiles found in Anatolia, now a part of Turkey. Similar findings have been made in India, China and Europe and America. That clearly describes the sense of fashion in those people and the technology that used to create their culture.
The Arabs in the middle-east worked to revive the ancient knowledge and made significant advancements in Sciences in mid-evil ages of Europe. After the Renaissance in Europe, there were many great scientists, inventors and engineers emerged who successfully made efforts to automate the processes that were done by hand. The industrial age had initiated that revolutionized the way people worked. This is when the low-tech that was used in fashion and had many other wide spread applications became high-tech.
In this dissertation some modern technologies are explored that the future of fashion such as Wearable Techs and 3D and 4D printing. The Wearable Techs and the 3D printing technologies are a reality and 4D printing is in its early stages of conception, but scientists are optimistic and tell us that this technology will be practical in the future.
Last but not the least we will see that how we can market fashion online. If a fashion business is not online, a very big opportunity is being lost of taking the business to a global level. We will see the different components of digital Marketing (also known as online marketing and Internet marketing) can come together and become an effective tool for doing business online.
Objective#1: Evolution of technology and its contribution to fashion
Fashion is a popular style of clothing, dressing, and hair stylishness, etc.
Technology is the methods, tools, techniques and systems and crafts.
Fashion and technology have always been with humanity in one form or another.
The basic principles of technology have remained the same, but the fashion has evolved and changed. Due to its artistic nature, fashion is quite distinguishable over history and can be identified by experienced Anthropologists.
|Figure 1 (Made from a wolf tooth’s, animal horn bean and authentic Neolithic beads from the Sahara desert, 2012)|
Prehistoric era: There is Archeological evidence that the early man did not wear any clothes. The early Homo-sapiens used branches, twigs and rocks to hunt down animals that was found in his environment. In his early days man invented tools made of stone. This primitive time is called the Stone Age. The tools made of wood and stone was probably the first technology man ever created. It seems that the jewelry was made when man started playing with the stones and with objects like vegetation and bones from the hunt that were readily available in his surroundings.
He used the skin and fur of hunted animals to protect himself from harsh weather like cold and rain. Soon he started to cut stones, twigs and bones and started to wear those objects. It might have been the first type of jewelry, if so fashion was born. The women among these stone-age men started to gather teeth and small bones of these animals and made necklaces and other ornaments out of them (Stone Age necklace, 2012). Many of these stone-age necklaces that are found are very symmetrical in their design, so they can be considered as primitive fashion. It was considered to be fashion because it obviously had a display attribute assigned to it.
It is also known that men, at that time, used body paints and tattoos to decorate their bodies. The early man also used needles made of wood or animal bones. It was a very simple technology that is still used. It is a small, pointed and elongated piece of a non-flexible material used to hold two or more than two pieces cloths together. It was the early forms of technology that man had to create fashion. The prehistoric technology such needle and animal skin or untreated leather has come a long way till the present. The tools became more and more sophisticated along with the Jewelry and clothing. The fashion was becoming more elegant and refined. Soon the ancient man started to create jewelry out of rare earth metals like Gold and silver
|Figure 3: Collar known as The Shannongrove Gorget, maker unknown, Ireland, late Bronze Age (probably 800-700 BC). Museum no. M.35-1948. © Victoria & Albert Museum, London.|
Figure: 4 Pendant
Figure 5: Armlet in the form of a snake
. The artifacts such as sculptures, figurines and the paintings that are discovered through archeological excavations reveal, to a wide extent the technology the ancient man possessed. The fashion and in terms of jewelry and clothing tells a lot about the culture of those ancient civilizations. Many ancient civilizations like Egypt during the reign of the Pharos jewelry and garments were a sign of superior status, wealth and power. It is also known that the Egyptians had linen around 5000 B.C.
Just like Egyptians different civilization had different technologies. In 3000 B.C. it was known that wool from domesticated sheep was used for clothing in the Near East. Around 200 A.D the wood block printing was invented in China and is still being used in many countries. Around the same time, needle knitting was also being used in Peru. In between 500 and 1000 A.D. spinning wheel was in use and still is being used. During the medieval era (449-1500) Christianity and the Church established its supremacy. The clothing became more descent and modest as compared to preceding Roman era. The clothing became very heavy and exquisitely decorated. At the same time, embroidery and beading came into fashion. Men of the late medieval period (1200-1400 A.D.) wore militaristic dress. At that time the clothes were made by domestic women the wives and elder daughters. Wealthier gentlemen had tailors who made elaborate clothing for them.
Europe was at the forefront of fashion during and after the medieval ages. They made fashion a mark of identity. The clothing of a person depicted the status he or she owned thus it reflected discrimination and created a line between the rich and powerful, the middle class and the poor. Clothing was a symbol of excellence and arrogance. The fashion also became an amalgam of private and political elements.
As fashion remained a dominant part, reflecting the modernity of the Western culture, study has also shown that other societies have displayed common trends. As our understanding of fashion grows, it is now known that the meaning and ascribed to clothes are not fixed and immutable rather they are subjected to change. These meanings are influenced by change in societies and relate to a certain period of time.
In 1589 after the mid-evil ages William Lee invented stocking frame, the first hand operated knitting machine. After the 16th century the Europeans started to experiment and automate different processes and a series of inventions began to assist and automate cloth manufacturing. Thus the industrial age began and it heavily influenced the fashion creating new industries. From the 16th century till the mid-19th century there were a series of inventors that directly and indirectly contributed to the world of fashion. Consequently, Fashion became an industry itself. Fashion industry itself also flared a series of inventions that led to the modern era. Technology certainly played a crucial role in these inventions. The contribution of technology in the fashion industry continues till this day.
Objective#2: Technological processes and Fashion
The process technology is in general largely pertains to Fashion design and manufacturing until the fashion goods are sold. When it comes to technological processes in the fashion industry, Computers play a vital role. The software to aid fashion design appeared for the first time in the mid 80’s and since then there have been extraordinary progress and advancement in this field. The achievements in CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) for fashion wear has taken the fashion industry by storm. The computer has become an indispensable tool for a fashion designer or manager. The Computer aided processes have taken out many inefficiencies in fashion design and manufacturing.
Most recent advent in fashion is “Tech wears” and “3D printing”. These two technologies are proving their worth in the futuristic view of our lives. The visionaries are anticipating that those two technology applications will revolutionize the fashion industry worldwide.
Multidimensional (3D and 4D) Printing
Two of the most futuristic technologies 3D and 4D printings are emerging very fast in the fashion sector of the world. These technologies are powered by Information technology. The 3D printing is a very promising solution to be employed in many industries other than fashion. It is getting much attention in the fashion industry. This technology is in its infancy, but it has the potential to completely change the world. This technology will heavily impact the fashion industry. The few of the benefits of this technology are cost reduction, enhanced creativity, and improved communication of fashion products.
The 3D printing process has two components. One is to design the fashion object in the machine using a 3D printing CAD software (Computer Aided Design software). Once the design is complete, the next step is to slice the design into cross sections using computer software.
This digital design information is then sent to the 3D printer. The physical object is constructed layer by layer.
|Figure 6: The newest 3D Printer (Langnau, L. 2014)|
This process is highly distinguishable from other CAM machines that use cutting, drilling functions. The 3D technology works with a machine that have parts that can move in three dimensions. There are different types of materials that can be fed into the 3D printer. It is computer controlled and takes its instructions from the computer, transforming the designs inside the computer’s memory into reality.
“Companies such as Hot Pop Factory are printing jewelry. Retailers such as New Balance are printing shoes. Designers such as Ron Arab are printing sunglasses” (Hennessey, 2013).
Figure 7: This ornamental 3D-printed collar. Rebecca Hiscott (2014)
Figure 8: Rebeca Hiscott (2014)
There is another technology that is being perceived that is 4D printing. It has to do with programmable objects. The objects will be programed. The consumers of this 4D object will wear clothing that would change color and design. A woman wearing a jeans that would be able to change into a lingerie or a skirt in a matter of seconds (Undress, 2014).
You will be able to save designs and share those designs with friends, family and loved ones over the internet. These designs could then be copied in storage and portable media. You will be able to download them from the internet. All the fashion goods like hats, shoes, socks, apparel, and jewelry will be at the fingertips of the consumers. There will also be websites allowing its users to design their own clothes. There are many experts predicting that the fashion creativity will have a hard hit from multi-dimensional printing. The area with the heaviest hit will be copyrights of fashion designs.
It will deliver shock waves in the fashion industry as the pirated music and movies had the hit few years back. The internet sharing and piracy will drastically reshape the fashion industry.
“We are living in a world in which fashion and design takes on a personal element,” says Jonathan Askin, a professor with the Brooklyn Law School and a consultant on Internet law. “The same way anyone is now a publisher or a music distributor, now almost everyone can become a fashion creator. (Mashable, n.d.)”
As a safeguard, the garment industry will likely to lobby for the kind of comprehensive copyright protection that music and film enjoy in order to protect their designs from counterfeiters (Mashable, n.d.).
This process of transporting objects is called digital delivery. The fashion of the future will be extremely cost effective. The fashion products will be created in hours using multi-dimensional printing machines.
Tech war or wearable technology is the intersection of mobile computing and smart and functional clothing. The newest trends are moving towards digital devices merged with Fashion products. IT giants like “Intel” and “Apple” are investing heavily in these wearable technologies. This perception to wear technology has emerged from the size of digital devices that are getting smaller and smaller and more powerful than their predecessors. The trend of wearable tech is not only in virtue of the size and power of these devices, it is the next big thing in Fashion.
Wearable computing has a history that goes back longer than most people expect. In the 1960s, various militaries around the world began developing headgear with displays for aviators in combat. Then in the 1970s, some of the first wearables were created for predicting roulette-wheel speeds.
Figure 9: Magic wand ring by Logbar (Strange, 2014)
In 1979, Sony invented the Walkman, considered by many as an early wearable computer. In the early 1980s, Steve Mann, one of the pioneers of wearable computing, created a backpack-mounted computer to control photographic equipment, and in 1994, he created a headset that transmitted images to the web.
By the late 1990s, we could find IBM experimenting with wearable computers based on the ThinkPad, and by 2001 it had introduced a prototype of a wristwatch computer known then as the WatchPad (Ranck, 2012).
Many companies worldwide, are researching manipulation of fabrics to influence smart devices such as smart phone and to make these gadgets more interactive.
|Figure 10: The Ultimate Smart watches (Shumacher, 2014)|
There are several challenges that confront fashion managers in order to incorporate technology into wearable fiber. Technology can introduce a high level of functionality in
Clothing but the fashion designers or fashion managers face other physical challenges of clothing design such as moisture management, thermal management, mobility, durability, sizing and fit. There are also psychological factors that are demanding such as cognitive load and attention.
Functional Apparel Design Process is complex because clothing remains close to the body at all times, the functional apparel designer has necessarily been quite aware of the physiology of the body, and the needs of the user. Although the focus has been traditionally for protecting the physical body, its structure easily permits the analysis of social and psychological needs, as well.
The functional design process
The functional design process is a user-centered process that examines a wide range of variables, including physical and anatomical considerations, mobility and movement, situational hazards, and ease of use. Initially, functional apparel was designed by engineers and material scientists, who learned the principles of apparel and design through experience. In the early 1970’s, the process was approached formally by apparel designers, leading to an expansion in the awareness of the complex variables involved in the design process (Ashdown, 2003).
The thermal management is important for tech wear garments because the electronic components built into the clothing is required to be exhausted by three different means that are conduction, convection and radiation. The conduction can be taken care of by built-in heat sinks in the clothing. The convection heat is taken out through heat vents. The radiation is a less efficient means of heat transfer.
Most circuit boards are built with extremely impermeable materials. When these materials are built into cloths, they can make the wearable garment quite uncomfortable. In order to prevent this, the high tech clothing is designed with air vents. The high tech clothing has to protect from moisture from perspiration and extreme levels of moisture, such as laundry and heavy rainfall.
The wearable tech is designed with the freedom of mobility concept in mind. There are many devices that are very heavy, and they pose discomfort for the wearer when a clothing is poorly designed just by keeping only the functionality in mind.
High tech circuit devices should be flexible enough to be worn, extensive tension and compression on them due to movement can out stretch the circuit boards and tear them.
The circuits in wearable devices should be durable. They should be designed to be away from the most flexible parts of the human body. The inclusion of flexible stabilizers in the clothing can manage to reduce the strain on the devices. Moreover, they can help merge the flexibility and the durability of the finished product.
Sizing and Fit
If the technological devices are designed into the garments. The wearing comfort and the functionality of the devices, individual sizing and fit can be a serious issue. If such clothes are mass produced, the Fashion managers will be faced with a challenged to generalize their designs over the masses of the population. This is because different ethnic populations have different body structures.
Garment Care and Maintenance
Garment care maintenance is closely related to the wash ability. The washing processes can be as follows. The garments are submerged and wiped down with water or without detergent, in a washing machine or wash by hand. The clothes can be dry-cleaned in a laundry or at home without the use of water. A solvent is used to make the clothes fresh and clean.
The bare circuits and electronic component cannot tolerate direct contact with liquids having electrical conduction properties like water. There are currently, two solutions to this problem. One is that all sensitive components can be packed into a module that can be removed at washing time. The other solution is that the sensitive parts of these garments are completely encapsulated in a waterproof confinement. These types of clothes can be safely washed (Dunne, 2004).
There are numerous smart products pertaining to fashion are being introduced in the market, and their popularity is on the rise. This concept encompasses traceable shoulder bags if they are lost, umbrella that lights up, shoes that are 3D printed and nail art, as well as coffee-infused fabrics that can absorb odors to keep you smelling fresh. Designers Aim to Bring High-Tech Fashion to the Average Shopper.
Accustom an apparel company has come with a 3D body scanner. It can scan your body and give you suggestions for your size and style.
The fashion designers are aiming to bring high tech fashion product to the average consumer. Most of the wearable tech has useful purposes while they offer an aesthetic value at the same time. There are many wearable products being developed that can connect via Bluetooth devices like mobile phones and exchange information. The wearer can send an alert to their families, friends or loved ones in the case of an emergency.
There is a range of wearable devices that are coming to the market. These wearable devices are fashionable, and they can be very useful to communicate and control the smart devices in the ambience. These devices come in the form of bracelets and rings. They translate gestures and tapping into Bluetooth signals to make other smart devices perform tasks like a magic wand.
Database technology has also found its way in the fashion industry. There are two distinguished types of databases.
- Mix and Match Database
- Fashion Library Database
Mix and Match Database
The premier fashion stores use Mix and match databases. This database includes a fashion database server at the backend that contains images of the clothes and their Radio Frequency Identifiers (RFID). The clothes in the store are tagged with RFID tags. The fitting rooms in the store are fitted with computer monitors and Radio frequency receivers. Whenever a customer walks in with a chosen apparel in the fitting room, the receiver picks the ID of the tag through radio frequency and sends the information to the server that send the images of complementary dresses to the monitor in the fitting room. This is a value added service that helps customers to select dresses.
Fashion Library Database
There are thousands upon thousands of database libraries that are available online helping millions of fashion managers and designers help develop their esthetic skills and cherish their inspirations.
Objective#3: Fashion and Digital Marketing
Digital Market is also known as Internet Marketing or Online Marketing. The Internet is a superhighway of information of today’s Information age. It is becoming the biggest knowledge repository of the modern age. There are many benefits that internet users around the world are reaping. One of the most significant use of the internet is online marketing. Many marketers and companies are selling their products online. This also includes the Fashion industry. The Internet provides an opportunity for you to sell products and services to people worldwide. In today’s fast moving age, people want information at their figure tips at the click of a mouse or press of a button.
The internet is being used by billions of people around the world, and their number is growing very fast. People are looking for products, services and information instantly.
We will consider all the components of Internet Marketing. We will study to use the leverage of Internet Marketing for products related to fashion Online. We will also devise a strategy to sell fashion products. We will also determine the target audience of fashion and measure the results.
Planning and building a website is also vitally important to your Online Marketing of Fashion. This includes building a wire frame and a site map of the website and selecting a domain and web hosting company. We will discuss all the necessary steps to make the website up and running. This will lead to creation of articles, social media posts and email newsletters etc. These elements are the basis of an internet marketing component called content marketing to sell your fashion products online.
We will go through “Search Engine Marketing” (SEM) and “Search Engine Optimization” (SEO). We will also see how to sell fashion and fashion related products by harnessing the viral power of social media that include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These will keep our audience informed, engaged and updated with new offers on our website. We will also take a look at Online Advertising and email marketing to gain exposure for our website.
Online Marketing (Definition)
Online marketing means different things to different people. The Online Marketing can be defined as a marriage of art and science on the web with strategy. This includes the design and development of a website. At the same time it also includes awareness building, communication, connections, sales and analytics.
You can have the best fashion website with the quality jewelry or apparel ready to be sold but if web users do not know about it, the website will have no use. The sense of awareness has to be developed as we will discuss.
Communication is the information that is displayed or distributed via the internet to tell the audience about your products and services in our case it is fashion. You need to tell people that you sell fashion products online.
This is where we tell people to know us, like us and trust us. In the fashion industry, there is a huge list of products that are very expensive; therefore, it is necessary to build a trust relationship that is part of the connection. This only comes after you have a great looking professional website and people know your honesty, and they like you.
The service is the most ignored part of online marketing it is visiting your fashion website, going through the pages of the website, shopping through it, your website being found on the search engine.
Generally sales aspect of online marketing means that all of the previously mentioned components of the online marketing, come together and becomes a motive for the customer to make a purchase.
Online marketing for fashion does not mean only to acquire customers but customer retention is also equally important. Your relationship to fashion lovers really matters. The successful online marketers say that it takes around seven touch points to make a sale. Touch point is any kind of your fashion website exposure like a referral, an online advertisement, a web search and Blog or social media mention etc. The more components (as we will mention in detail in the following) of online marketing are working for you the better the chance is that your customer will buy fashion products from you.
Distinctions of Online Marketing
If you are a person who has a shop selling fashion products, you should consider taking your business online. The reasons are as follows, online marketing is up 24/7. People can come visit your site and make purchases 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The worldwide visibility will open your fashion business to a global market. You can reach a much targeted market, that means if you have fashion services or products in specific categories and you want to target specific customers who are looking for exactly what you are offering. For example, you can choose to target trousers or blouses to girls who are 20 years of age. This will display your ad to that specific category. The website services that provide features, for instance, is Facebook.com and Adword.com.
Building Online Fashion Business foundation
When you are building a website to sell fashion products you have to keep certain planning points in mind. These planning points should be implemented in the design of the online foundation because they can be the difference of success and failure of your online fashion business. Those planning points are as follows:
Credibility is one of the most important steps in Online Marketing planning to sell expensive fashion products. This attribute of Internet marketing should exuberate from all the online efforts that you make from your articles that you may submit on famous article sites, on your website, your blogs, online videos and PRs and so on. There should be consistency in the information that you provide so that your clients and potential customers can trust you. Creating this trust makes your online presence more credible.
Usability is also another feature that your online fashion marketing should exhibit. Usability means the easiness of the usage of your online marketing. If there is difficulty to navigate menus, broken links and missing contents, slow page loading, then the people will not come to you, and you might lose them forever. It always makes sense to spend money on the usability of your site and other online marketing resources that sell expensive products to make a memorable impression on your customers. User-friendliness is also a part of usability. Your website design should have a clear navigation, responsive design, proper call to action and social media inclusion.
Visibility of a fashion website and other online presence is also very important. You have to make sure that the site is properly placed on the Internet where people frequently visit. These places are search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. You also need to make sure that you post content about your fashion business that are famous and popular. Visibility can also come from email marketing, online advertising and Social Media, etc. Enhanced Visibility can be accomplished by including Keywords in the content of your fashion website. It can be programed into the coding of the website also.
Sell-ability is related to those planning aspects of your site in that you show, sell and tell the importance of your fashion business. Whenever a visitor comes to your site, he may need to know the reason, he should do business with you. In this case, you have to highlight those features of your business that distinguish you from other fashion businesses. You need to constantly collect and display testimonials, press releases and video to educate users that visit your site online and convert them into buyers. All the feedback from your customers and other method salability inputs should be forged into your website and online presence such as blogs and email marketing campaigns.
When you apply all the previously mentioned planning strategies in your fashion website you reap the benefits of Scalability. This means that slowly over time you are compounding and building your business to a larger scale.
Target Market means that you have to understand your customers and then target and serve them through different online marketing channels. These are the two questions that you may ask.
- Who are they?
- What are their needs, wants and problems?
- How to help them?
When a web user visits your website he has a mindset that inquires what I can get from here. You have a few seconds to convince him. In our case, we are offering products and services related to fashion. Our prospects will always be people who are looking for fashion. This means that we need only those people who are looking for fashion. It is always not a good idea to look for lots of traffic, but the key is target marketing, focusing on those users who are specifically looking for fashion.
Once our fashion website is online we have to measure the activity of users to better manage the website and its contents. Any website that may be selling fashion will have qualitative and quantitative measurements to it. The Qualitative measurement is the quantity that cannot be measured via mathematical means like PR interests, Branding, goals, scalability and credibility, etc. The Quantitative measurements are those that can be measured with mathematically. The example of those are leads and sales, Email signups, traffic, etc. It is recommended that when you create a fashion website, the analytical measurement should be built in or you can get online analytic services by yourself to measure and evaluate the statistics of your site to make future decisions.
Building a fashion Website for online marketing:
The website is the central part of all the online marketing efforts. The Site Map is constructed before the website is built. A website map has to be developed before the website design or optimization begins. The Site Map helps to create the blueprint of the website that includes the important pages and other components. At the same time the Web designer has the clear expectation of the design. The Site Map gives clear guidelines about the page sequences that the web navigation will produce. The sitemap can be created on a piece of paper or it can be created with the help of software. This step is considered to be very significant and tells the designer the most important pages and their order.
Wire Framing is one the most important step to be taken to create a website. The wire framing determines where the different texts, pics, heading, links and buttons, etc. will go on the website before the color and style is applied using CSS 3 (Cascading Style Sheet 3). The wire frame can be considered as the skeleton of the website and the CSS3 provides the skin that is the color and the style of the website. The wire frame can be created with graphic tools or it can be sketched with a pencil and paper.
A successful fashion site
A website done with proper planning can save you from a lot of headache and hair pulling. A fashion site with clear architecture and the placement of different elements on the website as it has been covered in the wire framing process. The best fashion website should provide good navigation to its users. If it is determined to provide a newsletter service that is important in retaining customers, then this should be planned in. The fashion website will always remain the nucleus or the center of all your marketing efforts by serving, supporting and selling. In many cases like our online fashion business instant selling on the website may not occur. An online marketer should remain patient and be persistent and bear in mind that slow and steady wins the race. Selling fashion online may not be a great idea to become overnight, but it can be very fruitful in the long run.
Online Marketing Components
The online marketing for fashion can have many components. We will mention the most significant ones in the following:
Figure 11: Online Fashion marketing components
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
The biggest number of searchers on the web do a search via search engines. The most popular search engines are Google.com, Bing.com and Yahoo.com. There are three types of searches that can be done that are listed as follows.
- Organic search
The organic search is the search that is done through keywords. User come to a search engine site and type a keyword like “Fashion” or “The latest fashion” that describes what they are looking for in the search engine query box. The search engine returns all the websites that are indexed in the database that has that keyword. The list of the results that typically are web site links and their descriptions. It is the dream of every website developer and designer as well as the people who own those websites to rank on top of those search engine results. They dream and work hard to make their websites on the first page of the search engine results. The reason being that the user searching for something will only see the top results of the search engine and in usual cases it is the first page of the Search engine result pages. The art and science of bringing the website on the top is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We will take a look at SEO in further detail later on.
- Paid search
If you decide not to spend effort on organic results then you can choose paid search. In that case, you pay some money to the search engine and that search engine will show the link to your website and other detail in the top results for the keywords that you have specified.
The paid search plays a very good role in enhancing the visibility of your fashion website. Unlike organic or natural search the paid site requires you to pay or bid to bring your site to a certain ranking. The search engine marketers have the freedom to create their own messages and self-select the locations where the ads can appear and the keywords searched. They can also see the statistics of the web users. They can see that how many have seen their listing, clicked on the listing and the percentage of the people who have taken some sort of action like signing up. As you know that you can come up with key phrases that you can include them in your website that can be used by users to find you on the search engine. You can also buy the key phrases the work best for you. A good management of your online investment should be in place. You should do proper statistical measurement for your online fashion business, this will lead you to a handsome Return on Investment (ROI).
- Local search
The search engine when it is opened in your browser will automatically detect your location, such as your country and city. After that it will show you the different links that are related to websites that are offering products and services in your local areas such as jewelry shops and boutiques.
As a shop if you are selling fashion goods and services and you are not global that means that you do not have arrangements to sell products other cities and countries then you can apply for a local search in a search engine. This way, if someone is trying to find out product and services in the local region you can be found in the search result of that particular web user. In the future when your business grows and you decide to go global you can hire a shipping company that will arrange delivery of your products to web users that is out of your business range and have a bigger chunk of the global market in fashion. There are several companies that are functioning on the web like eBay and Amazon that offer you to open a store and sell your products worldwide. It is always a good professional advice that you open an online store with them. This will give you vital experience of how an Internet business works. You can later on incorporate these services in your website and take your business to a global level.
One of the good things about Search Engine Marketing are the number of ways that local businesses can be searched and found in verticals like local search. The businesses like a fashion business can go to search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo and they can submit their business for local search. Once that happens the search engine might ask for address verification either by a phone number or sending a letter to the address where the physical business is located. This is called address verification. This verification proves that you are the person who owns the business at the location that is provided to the Search Engine, Your fashion site will be listed free in most of the cases. The submission of a business to a local business boasts the visibility of your local site.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The search engine optimization is defined as doing modification to your website such that it will improve the ranking of the website in the search engine.
The higher the website goes on the first page of the search engine the higher the visibility for the website. It will make the website more popular among the web users. This you will have more visitors for your fashion business. This kind of ranking is called organic or natural listing. The SEO is not related to paid advertising.
All the search engines have algorithms or mathematical formulae that are used to calculate the ranking of websites as certain keywords or key phrases are punched in the search engine. The search engine returns the uses the popularity, its relevancy with key phrases or keywords, competition as well as many other factors to provide the rank to the website. The SEO experts usually say that key phrases work better than keywords when you are optimizing a website for search engines.
If your business is providing fashion products and services to a city like Los Angeles only then Search Engine Optimization should be done merging your business activity with the city name. For example, if you have a barber shop or a beauty parlor than you can use your business name and service with the city name to appear better in the search results.
You need to brainstorm all the key phrases before you start any of your SEO.
There three major factors to consider when doing Search Engine Optimization.
Architecture in includes the Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), the code of your fashion websites and even the cleanliness of your website. The SEO of a website also depends on the unique meta-tags per on every page on your websites.
The content can be sprinkled with smart key-phrases to enhance the SEO of the website. When doing content marketing of your fashion website you can find ways to use the key-phrases in your site content, blog posts, press releases and articles.
Link building is also a good way of improving the SEO of a website. The search engine looks for internal as well as external links on your website pages to rank your website. You can ask other website to link to your fashion websites if they are in the same category that is fashion. If more and more websites are linked to your website than your website will go higher in Search engine rankings.
Email marketing can be a very powerful means of marketing. Email can be used to cater marketing for a large or niche audience. Emails can be specific or can be based upon the list that is created by their previous behavior or purchases. There is a very huge number of web users that check their inbox regularly. Email Marketing, when used properly can become a very important marketing tool. It can bring down in the potential customers in the sales funnel and create better connections with existing customers. The most important thing in the email marketing is the carefully collected list of emails. You can create and grow your list by placing your opt in forms in places like your web pages, your email signature or landing pages bring traffic from your online advertisement or links from social media. You can get people to sign in for for your newsletters by showing the value of taking this action. The opt in means that the person coming to your opt in page and willingly and indirectly says that I need this information. You have to make sure that your email list remains of high quality. If too many people flag your email as a spam in your email list can be blocked and the reputation of your fashion based company will suffer in the long run.
You can collect as many email addresses to send but if you send too any emails during a certain time you can get blocked. The ISPs are looking for automated emails passing through their filters in bulk. The email sending list no matter how large of small you company may be blocked. It is called being blacklisted in technical terms. After your email list gets blocked you have to wait for a certain time period to get back to the white sender list. The solution to this that you can get registered with larger third party ISP friendly email sender companies. This enables productive list management for scalability. There are many large scale email management systems on the internet like Aweber and mail chimp etc.
- Social Media Marketing
Social media mean the technical tools themselves. Social media includes thing like video, audio, pictures and text that is published and shared in a social environment. A video hosting site, podcasting site or a blog. The social networking is people or a group of people to network and communicate.
In general, Social Media can be anything from blogs, articles, videos, Facebook posts, tweets, LinkedIn posts, etc. It is one of the most important components of Internet Marketing. The search engines are very efficient to pick social media posts so they can be very effective. It is very good practice to make the content very entertaining and informative. It can backfire if you are posting to promote your business that is fashion products and services. Just create content that sparks interest in the audience and something about fashion that people like to see and hear. The true power of Social Media lies in when a content goes viral and more and more people are sharing content. This can significantly boost your sales on your fashion website.
- Content Marketing
Content can be thought of as something that bind together the steps of credibility, usability, visibility, sell ability and scalability as previously mentioned. It is simply defined that material that can be text, audio and videos that educates your website users. The objective to produce content is to make users know, like and trust us. When you are supplying them with a classy fashion product you can satisfy them with content that establish your authority in the field. This means that you are indirectly telling them that you know your trait and you have the knowhow and the knowledge of those products and services. There are several places on the internet where you can share content to gain the confidence of your website users. Those places are your own website, email, Press releases, FAQ, Blogs, Videos, Social media, Articles, Podcasts.
Figure 12: Content sharing on the internet
- Web Analytics
The web analytics provide you the information that you gain from the activity of your visitors on our website. You get information like how many visitors were there on your website in the last month or the last few days, how many of the visitors bought your fashion products, etc. There are many hundreds of companies online that provide you with this service and many of them are free. Web Analytics is a powerful tool that provides the measurements so that you can effectively manage your online website business.
- Article Marketing
Article marketing is also a very powerful means of marketing online. You can use your knowledge of “fashion” to create educational articles. When you write articles, always remember that you have to avoid any kind of commercialism and give your readers quality advice and information. You can write interesting articles, but never let the users know that you are selling him something like a fur coat or discount offer on a jewelry set. You should write as though you are speaking directly to your readers. It is a very good idea to introduce entertainment or humor in your articles but do not be promoted. Articles can be a standalone article page, It can be posted to a blog, It can be on your opt in email list or to an article marketing site. It is a good idea to reach out to the sites with that you share the target marketing that is fashion and provide them your articles and a link back to your site. Once the articles go live on the web they can be socialized i.e. If the article is good enough, it can be shared on social media.
- Online PR
Online Public Relations is synonymous your overall content marketing strategy. Online Public Relation is a very nice way to create your credibility, Visibility and Sell ability. There is a saying, “you are what you publish”. When you are experienced in the Fashion industry working as a fashion designer or fashion manager, you competitively know quite a lot about fashion. You can share this knowledge, you can share new products and services of your industry, you can share news and breakthroughs, you can share events, etc. The news about awards given to your company or professionals can be worth sharing also.
- Website Design
As it has been previously mentioned that the very minute details in the website design can be affective in the search engine ranking. The content of your website must contain quality keywords and key phrases. You can find out key phrase that will help your fashion website higher by using the online keyword tool from Google called Adwords. You just have to type keywords related to fashion and it will provide you with suggestions that you can add in the content on your website. Similarly, in the URLs of your subpages you can include multiple words separated by hyphens can also help your website to rank higher (Ross, n.d.).
Finding of Primary data (for the fashion business)
Primary research is sometimes very expensive, but, the data that is collected is extremely useful. As we have a running fashion business we gain valuable input on what our customer thinks about our products and services. This allows us to serve our customers better. There are typically three tools to conduct primary research (Businesscasestudies.co.uk, n.d.).
Since the company intends to sell 3D printed and Tech wears fashion products and service that are branded. It needs to enter local and internet market. For this reason it conducted surveys online to assess the demand for fashion. The questionnaires are distributed by mainly conducting online surveys.
In this online market survey the company stalk holders became very excited because there is a huge demand or these products and the competition will be very low, so it was the best time to enter and capture the market share for branded 3D printed products and Tech wear. It seems that everyone like to see and use fashion products like these around them.
Finding Secondary data (for the fashion business)
The secondary data is not a specified data to a company or organization and it is not confidential. The data for secondary research is widely available to public. This is the data about fashion businesses in manuals, Library books, online resources and newspapers, etc. There are benefits of secondary research that can be outstanding for a fashion design company.
The secondary research allows the researchers to keep track of the performance of the company they work for and they are able to compare it with their competitor. The reason for bringing secondary research into Market research is that it brings useful information about the industry in general that is useful to train company employees. The other benefit is that you can assess the footprint of your company in the marketplace. You can keep track of emerging technologies and in fast pace business like these days, the extremely important to adopt and embrace new technology as they are commercially available. As we have seen in this dissertation that the evolution of the technologies over the past ages that led us to the current emerging next big thing in the market that 3D and 4D printing technologies in the market. As an entrepreneur in the fashion industry you must get hold of it. The fashion on Internet is a huge growing market to reach your customers and introduce new products. Take their feedback, etc. and take action by enormously vast potential to market and promote your fashion company and its products and services.
The conclusion of this research is that man through his superior intellect invented fashion. Fashion had been one of the first inventions. This reflects that although he lived the life of savages and had a severe lack of etiquette as many modern men believe, He did had an esthetic sense and creativity to make ornaments and jewelry from objects he could find in his surroundings. He used stones (sometimes he even used colored precious stones), bones and even precious and rare metals to create ornaments. All this became possible because he did possess some kind of technology. Although the mainstream Archeologists believed that it was not as sophisticated as we have now. This technology that he possessed evolved through time and history. Fashion contributed to the prehistoric civilizations to make cultures that were creatively reflected and distinguished in their artifacts.
We also saw Fashion rising on top in the times when industries were booming till we came in a high tech age of today. The new technologies are on the rise that will change fashion as we look at it today. The advancements in 3D printing fashion will allow us to design clothes for ourselves, Ordinary people without any significant creative skills will be able to design clothes on their Computers and send them via Internet to others living on the other side of the globe.
4D printing will allow our clothes to change the color and shape of the clothes on the go. These will be smart clothes. We also talked about wearable tech. A person will wear a ring or a glove or any other such devices and he will be able to have command over all the devices of his room or house by using gestures. There will be clothes fitted with computers so that you can operate computers in places where you cannot take your laptops and tablet PCs.
In the last but not the least we have examined the Internet marketing to sell fashion products. We have covered all the method that would lead to sales of fashion products and services online. Today’s competitive world is forcibly pushed every business large or small to become live online.
Q1) Are you
- Male /Female
Q2) Do you like to shop online.
- Yes 2. No
Q3) That website do you use for shopping?
Q4) How many times do you shop for clothing and accessories in a month?
1)1 2)2-3 3)3-6 4)I am a shopaholic
Q5) How much do spend of fashion goods in a month?
1) 50$ 2) 100$ 3) 300$ 4) 500$ 5)500$ plus
Q6) What are you looking for when you shop for fashion?
1) Quality 2) Brand 3) Price 4) Comfort 5)Style
Q1) What is the future vision for your new fashion business?
We are striving for supplying the market with high quality branded goods that our customer would like to wear.
Q2) Will you will be having an online presence?
Yes, We are very motivated to capture our global market share.
Q2) What do you have in your product line?
We will be selling everything related to fashion like perfumes, apparel, shoes etc.
Q3) Do you have products for both males and females?
Q4) What technologies are you working on to introduce fashion to your online and offline consumers?
We want to break in through “wearable tech” market as well as 3D printing market as soon as the technology gets refined.
Q5) What events are you considering to promote your fashion products?
We are working on fashion products, but we have not given them a brand. So that as soon as the planning phase takes us to the operation phase, we will introduce the brand to the market.
Q6) What is your estimated investment in the business?
We have a budget of 200 million dollars this includes all our expenditures for online and offline campaigning.
Survey (for starting a new fashion business)
Q1) What is your average household income?
Q2) What city do you live in?
Q3) Do you wear a branded fashion product every day or frequently?
- Yes 2.No
Q3) How many branded fashion products do you own approximately?
Q4) How often do you purchase branded fashion products?
Q5) On average, how much do you spend when purchasing a new branded fashion product?
Q6) Have you ever purchased a branded fashion product online?
- Yes 2. No
Q7) How did you purchase your last branded fashion product
- At a fashion retail store
- I don’t know
- Other (Please specify)
Q8) when you think of fashion brands, that fashion brands come to mind?
Q9) Do you know what is a Tech wear?
- Yes 2.No
Q10) would you like to buy a branded one?
- Yes 2.No
Q10) Do you know what is 3D printing?
- Yes 2.No
Q11) would you like to have 3D printed fashion wear?
- Yes 2.No
Aim of this research study
Fashion existed at the dawn of humanity and have continued to affect us today in one form or another. In order to survive in this Industry we have to utilize what technology has to offer us to survive and thrive.
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