FASHION IS LIKE A PENDULUM, NOT A CIRCLE.
Every time it reaches one extreme, which I call as tipping point, it takes the swing back towards the other side.
The consumer behaves that way. Gets burnt out with one thing. Desires a change, gets it fulfilled through a changed buying pattern. This is the key driver of business. The product offering is changed based on the changed desire of consumer.
Human beings are not tuned to accept radical changes. A minor change suffices to keep them in their comfort zone. A sudden change meets resistance. An improvisation on the existent feature in a product is what keeps one happy. Till it reaches a saturation point. This point is what is called the tipping point. The critical point, where the development person has to understand what to do with the product. He has to give him something that does not comply to the flow. It has to break the paradigm.
CONSUMER NEED, OR WAS IT LUST
We have witnessed a rat-race making our consumer to buy more than his current buy. The race really picked up and broke all norms. Fast Fashion led the consumer to buy much more than what he could consume. The retailer kept making things cheaper than they were, tempting him with a good product at a price considerably lesser than the previous offering. And make him buy more of it. The need changed to want.
The role of technology, innovation in materials, anything and everything that could make the product cheaper than before. This has been the race that the producer has been running all this while.
EXPLOIT, EXPLOIT, EXPLOIT
One of the key factors that got imbibed into the system was exploitation of everything involved in production. Materials, Manpower, Resources. While we did not feel guilty to squeeze resources of all kinds out of nature – petroleum, minerals, metals, plantations, animals – anything and everything that we could change genetically to make them suitable for human consumption, to the extent of replacing them with synthetic materials made by man. We have done it all.
CONSUMER TAKES A BREATHER
The consumer was being led and the producer was chasing him. Today, we can feel that the consumer is exhausted at this point. He seems to be slowing down. Realizing that at the pace that he is buying and consuming, he is not deriving as much satisfaction as it earlier was. He has got into introspection and retrospection.
The producer is also sensing this slowing down of the consumer.
The innovators at the production end are assessing the mood of the consumer, and where it is going to tilt.
BIRTH OF SLOW FASHION
While the front runners are still running the race, the smaller fish are taking a breather. The best way for them is to take an about turn. Slow Fashion. That is the new phrase, an oxymoron, that would click with our exhausted consumer.
Right at this point of time, when the consumer is evaluating what he has been doing all this while, encouraging producers to play with ecology and squeeze all the resources at their disposal, he has suddenly started feeling guilty and responsible for the imbalance that he has created.
Suddenly the consumer recognized and acknowledged the damage that has been done and wants to correct it for survival. Of course, the damage has been done. The imbalance created. It is now time to rectify it as fast as possible.
So here comes the next mantra for the innovators: Ethical Practices, Going Green, Bio-degradable materials, Abolishment of Wastage. These have become the key ingredients of product innovation and marketing techniques.
WELCOME TO THE NEW AGE
Now that the next course is defined, all and sundry are getting on the bandwagon. Concepts that were considered a poor man’s prophecy are now the mantra for new business models. Re-use, Re-cycle, Re-pair. Thrift Stores cropping up, Second Hand product stores are the new fad. Everyone is trying to save the world. It is no more their guilt. It is fashion to be a part of this movement. Today, anything that is #ethical, # sustainable, #thrift, #biodegradable, is fashion!
So, guys, welcome to the new age! The age of slowing down to where we were. Heading back home. Are you following the pendulum? Please do. Or you will be left behind, alone!