*Photo Credit: Clem Onojeghuo*
The elements of a successful business model in the fashion industry has rapidly changed. The industry used to be dominated by a few players. Namely designers from one of the fashion capitals: New York, London, Paris, and Milan, who had major funds to succeed in reaching a widespread global audience. These were brands who could afford the enormous costs of showing in Fashion Weeks around the world, marketing budgets for billboards in major cities and to purchase lengthy ads in major fashion publications.
Young designers first found a local community and then strived to reach outside of their location, with very few succeeding. Without the budgets to compete with the big names, it was a very difficult landscape to navigate for up and coming local designers.
The playing field is vastly different today thanks to the internet, social media, influencers, and even millennials’ desire for originality. Smaller independent designers can now more easily become global names within their targeted niche communities.
This trend has been picked up by retail outlets ranging from small startup apps to massive multi-billion dollar corporations, such as Amazon. Amazon’s focus seems to be on private labels where the company is looking to grow margins. When the place you buy everything from your e-books to household necessities now gives you access to a small designer from halfway around the world, you know that this has become the societal norm. And consumers are beginning to look for unique, independent designers because they see it is accessible. You no longer have to travel to Morocco to get Moroccan designs or to India to get Indian fabrics or home decor.
Communities used to be based on location. Where you lived contained things such as your favorite cafe, bar and local fashion boutique. As the internet has become more and more integrated into our everyday lives, our world is pooling together globally into communities based on interest, not location. Fashion is one area where you see that very strongly.
To be a global brand used to be very elite – only the huge money makers with billions behind them were able to accomplish that feat. Now it’s expected, as bloggers, style leaders and emerging designers congregate in central online spaces. Websites such as Runway Passport which allow you to shop directly from independent designers around the world have new designers getting signed on daily, and sites such as FarFetch which give fashion forward customers access to indie boutiques, get billion dollar valuations.
Shopping fashion in cities such as Tehran and Brooklyn all in one spot while never leaving your bedroom is making the world a much smaller place where people have the choice to discover what they truly love in terms of fashion, food and much more.