October 21, 2013 // By: David Trites // How Big Data Is Changing Fashion (Source SAP.info)
The hottest fashion trend won’t be found on the runway. It’s called “Big Data,” and it’s going to change how the fashion industry operates in a big way.
Big Data is all about turning extremely large quantities of data into useful information. When you aggregate data, patterns emerge, ideas are born, and you make better decisions. In an industry where the success of next season’s collection hinges on picking the right patterns, colors, fabrics, shapes, and sizes, Big Data is a big deal.
Fashion’s Big Data source? Social media
There are more than a billion people on social networks, and most of them are wearing clothes. Fashion is social by nature, so it’s no surprise that millions of likes, comments, shares, tweets, pins, pluses, favorites, and Instagrams about what’s hot and what’s not appear online every day.
An increasing number of major designers, brands, and retailers are tapping into leading social networks to let consumers participate in the industry as only fashion’s elite once could. They want to collect customer opinions, ideas, and feedback on products and trends from the start of the design process to the Facebook photo you post wearing a “hot new dress.” All this new customer interaction adds up to a lot of useful data for an industry going through a cultural change.
Attending a runway show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, for example, might still be fun and exciting, but it no longer offers an exclusive first look at fashion’s elite. Over the past few seasons more and more top designers and brands have launched new looks online before and during their shows:
- Oscar de la Renta revealed a line exclusively on Instagram
- Burberry’s Tweetwalk shared backstage pictures via Twitter before models hit the stage
- Diane von Furstenberg and her models wore Google Glass to give her followers an inside look at fashion week
- Michael Kors and dozens of other designers, brands, and style experts teamed up with Pinterest to build a fashion week hub
- A slew of designers and bloggers teamed up to generate pre-show buzz on Tumblr.
Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest comments are great for business
So by the time a model struts down the runway, millions of people have already seen what he or she is wearing – and decided if they prefer beautiful beading over bold stripes. Opening up such an important event to this large and diverse source of passionate followers is great for fashion. But capturing and listening to their collective and instantaneous feedback is even better for business.
Next page: The importance of social media influencers
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