From catwalks to e-commerce: the fashion industry – the long path towards a new business model

We all know that data alone isn’t a problem-solver or a decision-maker on brands behalf, although data is an unbelievable asset to develop informed strategy.

The research playground

The research was launched two years ago during the 2014 FW season
Data gathered from 4 seasons on the four most relevant cities hosting fashion weeks: New York, London, Milan, Paris.
Some 14.000.000 records from Twitter and Instagram were parsed by terminology:

  • 74 color definitions
  • 84 fabrics and materials
  • 69 different types of accessories
  • 102 types of garment
  • 110 adjectives

This set of records was additionally filtered using a predetermined pool of relevant contributors composed of

  • 75 brands
  • 97 fashion bloggers
  • 116 celebrities
  • 49 editors
  • 58 magazines
  • 38 models
  • 34 stores

At the beginning we collected data with the official hashtags of each fashion week. Since the last season we brought in data without the mention of those hashtags as their adoption dropped and many influencers and brands stopped using it.

The idea behind

Fashion industry as any industry touched by digital is under-going a remarkable transformation.
Wide usage of smartphone and digital channels to share pictures and videos has quite abruptly impacted the entire system.
What happened in the last round of Fashion Weeks is the direct consequence of a cultural evolution reflecting a deep change in the way we spend our time and our money.

The impact on the industry

Today there are two different approaches to the problem: on one side, the US-driven solution looking to shorten the time of availability of the products, show-and-sell; on the other, the Italian and French approach looking to maintain the supply chain structure as it is.
What seems to be just an argument on calendar structure is in fact an issue on the structure of the business.
While selling and supporting the stock values are the core goals for both sides, the way to achieve these goals is different.
An apparent supremacy of style and design for the European brands, a more business-oriented attitude for the US brands.
Lastly, the shift towards e-commerce platforms is another critical issue where we may detect some discrepancies between US brands and European ones.
Again a more conservative approach to e-commerce can be seen in European brands.
A structured presence on e-commerce platforms is needed to cope with the US show-and-sell approach.

The solution

  • Tracking the way brands promote their products within the most relevant events, the fashion shows, how they interact with media and influencers, how these actors spread the voice, the link between the shows and the purchase actions, these are some of the questions we try to answer with our work.
  • Tracking the way brands and influencers engage their audience between the Fashion Weeks as well.
  • Studying the way each brand, each influencer is delivering their own strategy, if any.
  • Finding evidences about how to hook a customer and keep them engaged until they land on an e-commerce platform is our goal.

Thanks to Elena Braghieri for the cover picture.