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Fashion - An Art or Science?

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Why Fashion?

Fashion - An Art or Science?

The story of mankind in an old one. Though the crucial events of human history seem very recent, we know that the major steps in our evolution happened some fifty thousand years ago. We began as primates roaming the savannahs and tropical forests and ended up with an all-encompassing culture that differentiates us from other life forms.

What led to this change and how did we find ourselves in the epicentre of a civilized world? The true beginning of a humanized being started with the search for identity. It is not known when this journey began, but when it did, it led to irreparable changes to our kind. Even in the ancient world when we lived in groups and bands of foragers and nomads, we had the inkling of creating a special identity for our-selves. This could be in the form of beliefs, aesthetics and ultimately culture that deferred from other groups. We started identifying and preserving traditions that we started to associate with their groups.

The quest for identity helped us develop preferences and choices that remained particular to a section of people. Right from cave paintings, to burial grounds found with ceremonial objects, artefacts, weapons, we started creating value for everyday things and our possessions. This paved the way for cultures that began to be a part of everyday lives.

So how did fashion come to be an essential part of our lives? Initially, clothing severed a very narrow and definite purpose of protection against the elements. One of the key factors that changed for us during the course of human evolution was the loss of body hair. This forced us to use animal hides and fur as protective gear against the climatic onslaught of rain, snow and the incessant cold of the ice ages.

Even though it took a long time for us to consider clothing as a part of our lives, it made an indelible mark on future generations which began to revere the concept of clothing as something inherently human yet something divine. That’s the reason kings and rulers of ancient kingdoms began to conceptualize a separate visual identity for themselves. The purple and gold of kings along with the crown and sceptre became a natural ally for wielding God’s power. The anointed king was not just a man with immense wealth. It became a universal symbol of concentrated power and authority.

And this symbol transcended to different spheres of society. Soldiers were given a uniform which symbolized their eternal bond with the king and God, and their immortal allegiance to the nation and state. A symbol assembly of colours and clothing came to dominate the ideologies of civilization and, in almost all cases, became inseparable with their identity. In earlier times one could distinguish the Greeks from the Romans, the Goths from the Syrians, the Egyptians from the Sumerians. Each culture, every civilization put the foot to the metal to immortalize and supersede its rivals in order to establish their flag as the most significant symbol in the region. In summary, clothing and accessories not only meant something to live by, but also something to die for.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, our apparels can still be seen as a part of our identity. Especially when you have a country of a billion people with such humungous diversity. We have preserved our identity through the millennia-old history of conquest, foreign attacks and the recent onslaught of colonialism. Even today, we have such specific attires for different regions of the country and its diverse culture, that it is not difficult to identify people’s ethnicity from their clothing.

We have come a long way from associating clothing as mere elements of function and survival gear. Today, it has become akin to our second skin, where we are able to choose from a wide range of colours, designs and patterns which make us satisfied and comfortable. In this age of excess and ubiquity, where everything can be found everywhere, it has become truly essential to stand-out from a sea of noise and forges our own personalities. And fashion helps in a big way.

It starts with a set of colours that become our preferences. We start developing an inclination towards types of patterns, prints and designs that eventually end up defining our styling sense. In a way, it starts carving out a perception of ourselves which we then think of it as our identity. Our personalities begin to shape and we start considering ourselves as unique individuals, part of the same social fabric. On a community scale, this helps us present ourselves part of the whole and build associations with other individuals. For each person contributes in their own way to the aesthetics of a community through the means of fashion.

One of the reasons we associate personality with the choice of clothes is because we perceive it as an indication of the person’s aesthetic sense. Our outfits tend to represent who we are and what we believe in. It doesn’t remain within the confines of social construct because clothes no longer serve the sole purpose of clothing. At a psychological level, it becomes one with our confidence and identical to self-perception. How many times have you heard that dressing a certain way fills you up with a lot of confidence? Or that you look confident and stunning?

The best part of being inclined towards fashion is the way it is unique for every individual. Rarely would you meet people with the same sense of styling and identical preferences? This is because each individual’s psycho-social make-up is different, and everyone arrives at a different styling destination through diverse paths. In other words, everyone’s journey is different. This doesn’t stop us from co-habiting the incredible social world that we live in and share our stories by the way we dress. In a world where there are so many options, it is easy, and at the same time difficult, to mouldourselves in the persons we want to become. Fashion, thus not only becomes a statement promoting our personalities, but it also becomes an arena of the subjective that helps us exercise our curiosity and imagination.

Culture, Fashion & Identity

Why have we heavily relied on culture to move the wheels of civilization? Right from the start, we have had a specific place for culture in our lives. The beliefs of our ancestors and the traditions of our societies create a social norm that everyone follows. Eventually, it brings everyone on the same page.

However, slight variations in the belief system get systematically accumulated and that translates into the modern culture. That is why it is an evolving concept which further has an effect on changing norms.

Fashion as an outlet for the expression of culture undergoes the same changes. With time, it gets rid of the obsolete and makes way for innovation. This is the reason why fashion also becomes a process. Rather than a destination, it becomes a journey where new travellers join the caravan and old patrons are left behind. The journey also traces the evolution of ideas which directly influence our perception of ourselves and our society.

Ultimately, it boils down to story-telling. The age-old myths and legends find a representation in colours, design and patterns. Look at the rich diversity of culture in our country and ensuing variations in our traditional costumes and attires. As humans, we literally embody the culture in our fabrics and outfits. As culture progresses, metamorphoses, and re-invents itself, a direct transformation is seen in our clothes. One can see that the clothes worn a century ago were extremely different from the ones we wear today. In fact, the styles popular ten years ago have been forgotten by the torch-bearers of the current time.

As we have seen that fashion and identity are closely related, the latter follows the footstep of the former in every society. As one navigates the turbulent waters of the social norm, it is inevitable that fashion impacts his or her identity in numerous ways. Again, the main reason is the expression of perspective through the clothes we wear. For instance, popular culture or pop culture undergoes the motion of change as its elements resonate with the changing opinion of the masses. Everyone craves for a unique identity yet tries to conform to the prevalent ideas of the age. And why not?

To be an individual with our own set of assumptions is the greatest finding of our species. That is how we make a place of ourselves in the world. And if we are influential enough, we contribute to the chimaera, the inexorable machine that is culture. To create a special identity is to find our place in the universe. In a way, it makes us feel special. We like that fact that we can choose to display our attitude, or personalities through the clothes we wear. Nothing attracts people more than a visually appealing sight.

One of the most common features of culture’s evolution is the stages or era which became popular at specific times. You have the Renaissance, the Romantic Age, the Gothic Era dating back to centuries. In more recent times, we know about the hippie culture, the Disco and rise of the street culture after that. We have these epochs or islands of time where we saw a mass revolution brought about by the changes in our identities seeping through the population. Some transformations were adopted slowly, taking decades and centuries to become a norm. Some others saw an instantaneous acceptance throughout the world, like the 70’s fashion, further aided by the advancing technology and rapid exchange of information.

One thing is certain, once something becomes popular, it doesn’t take a long time span to be seen on the streets. That is why culture envelops everyone; its impact, seen across the spectrum. In a way, the entire world chips in and becomes a part of a mass movement. And we need such global scale transformations to change our lives. Culture has been at the forefront of such revolutions with a searing pace. Nothing is as quick as fashion, not science, not politics, not even technology. Especially in today’s world, things go viral in days.

Safe to say that change is the only constant. And with shifting frames of references, the individual re-adjusts its perception and plays along with ongoing remodelling and renovation. Because culture and fashion leave no man behind. No matter how bunkered you are, how isolated we are, ideas find a way to mesmerize us. This is an important feature of our lives.

Our creativity fuels imagination, imagination begets ideas, and ideas revolutionize the world. Every year, major brands focus on re-inventing fashion and staying ahead of the curve. Considering the fickle nature of our desires, big companies want to gain as much as traction as possible with the masses. But the important thing is to understand the customer and cater to their needs. Providing a unique identity to millions, possibly billions of people, is a daunting task. Never has been a challenge as difficult as to the change the world with a simple idea. And the concept is draft an identity for individuals such that it resonates with their idea of self-expression.

To express is to tell the world what qualifies as special in your lives. And of the easiest way, and certainly, the most aesthetically pleasing channel is fashion. It is not something that we discovered recently. It is a millennia-old tree with new shoots, a forest as old as the earth with newer trees, shrubs and flowers. That is the beauty of art and this manifests particularly well in fashion.

The Mark of Art

Fashion - An Art or Science?

If we look around, we realize that we are surrounded by art and design. From home décor, beautiful buildings with stunning architecture, to cars and aeroplanes, design forms the fundamental unit of everyday objects. We take it for granted that these things have a particular shape and design. And the designs evolve over time. The cars of the 50s and 60s look way different than the ones we have now.

We never consider why things look that way do. What is the design process behind the shapes and colours of everyday objects? That’s what art brings to the table. From abstract concepts to actual material things, that’s the power art has, in making things happen. The other thing is to make objects more noticeable, to make things stand out from its surroundings. Isn’t that the whole purpose of art, to make things look special and unique?

This concept has further implications in our lives. When we embody art in its various forms, like the decorative vases and table lamps we get for our homes, that special outfit we picked which makes us look fantastic, we come to the conclusion that art has a way of making us feel special. What it does is make us stand out from a sea of people around us. That is the reason why we like to dress, develop tastes and preferences that we think make us stand apart from everyone else. In a way, art helps us to carve out a special place for ourselves.

This is really important for us as social beings and for the evolution of the self. As mentioned earlier, art becomes a channel for our voices to be heard; it represents a mark of differentiation that gives us the confidence to be who we are.

Fashion gives us the necessary boost to envision who we want to become, what we want to make out of our lives. It is not a far-fetched thought when you think about it. ‘Dress for the job you want and not for the job you have’ is a common maxim in the fashion world. What happens when you put on a nice suit and look sharp and professional? The first thing to happen is we become more confident, and start believing that we can achieve anything we want.

Similarly, if we pick out an outfit for a date or party, we feel comfortable and in the mood for the occasion. That’s the power of art. It provides us with a glimpse of how we could be, how much fun we could have, how much pleasure we would get if only we believed we were special, that we confident individuals who possess the ability to make a name for ourselves in this world. And that is a great feeling to experience. It should be translated into our attitudes.

No wonder people experience the birth of a new personality when they go for a make-over. It opens up the avenues of endless opportunities and conviction. That is the power of art. And surprisingly, it encourages all to be the best version of ourselves. Throughout history, this has been the guiding principle for many men across continents. Art has the force to bring us out of the shadows of obscurity, to remove the pall of invisibility and make us visible and significant.

Art leads to a psychological transformation of individuals. Often, in the hustle-bustle of our daily lives, we neglect ourselves. We stop eating healthy, ignore the advancing age and slide into a world of comfort and inaction. We don’t care how we look, never think twice before giving in to our indulgences. In short, we lead uninterested lives where we are ok being unconcerned about ourselves and the world.

At Classic Polo, our aim is to make everyone feel beautiful and important. We want to share the idea with our customers that everyone is special and anyone can look stunning in our outfits. We want people to realize that when you look good, you feel good. It is not just about buying a great Classic Polo product. It goes way beyond that. If we can spread happiness and make people feel empowered, then we believe we have done our part. After all, we would love to make a difference in this world, impact peoples’ lives and inspire them to do great things.

Fashion - An Art or Science?

It all starts with a small change, and gradually, the change becomes ideal to achieve our dreams. The first change is to give up the idea that we are too insignificant to make a dent in the universe. The next is to realize that if we push ourselves in the right direction, no matter how small the effort is, we will eventually make things click. All we need is a small inspiration which is all around us in the form of art.

A lot depends on how we look, both in the professional and personal spheres. It is an easy way to convey the unspoken. No matter what the impression one wants to convey, fashion has the ability to strike the right chord. Simple, chic, elegant, professional; one have so many options to choose from. What’s important is how the outfits make one feel.

So how does one go about creating their own style? When it comes to personalized style, there are numerous factors that play a crucial role. Some would prefer sticking to a particular style that was popular in the past. Not everyone likes to part with iconic style at the peak of their times. Most middle-aged individuals adopt certain elements from the fashion wave popular in their times. Millennials prefer a more contemporary look and often, think ahead of reinventing popular styles for the future. Whatever be your assumptions, creating and developing a personalized fashion statement is not a tedious task. We nail down some of the essentials steps which will provide you with an understanding of what goes into identify and creating a custom style.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Before the internet broke upon the scene, people would rely on movies, magazines, and fashion events to keep abreast of trending styles. This proved to be a reliable way in which the awareness of latest trends dispersed through the masses. People would emulate their favourite movie stars’ look, attires and even their attitudes. Publishers would spend enormous time and chasing down superstars to get their opinion on trends which would later be read by millions of aficionados.

Things have changed drastically when rapid communications and a shrinking world became the norm. The Internet gave us the opportunity to connect with people across the globe. If this wasn’t enough, social media reinvented how information was dispersed. For the first time in the history of mankind, trends became ‘viral’, reaching a global audience at the tap of fingers. It also let to global mass movements in the field of art, culture, technology and social norms.

Social media is a great way to keep tabs on trending fads. Now, we have not one, but many social media platforms which display information of a varied kind. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok have emerged as key catalyst in influencing the world. Be it do-it-yourself content, hacks, tips and techniques have found gigantic following over the years.

Check out what is trending, what seems influential and chic to you. Numerous influencers dedicated their entire time in creating and posting the latest trends. One does gain a great amount of information by just following the trend-setters. In our times, there is no cap on curiosity and creativity. So used it to your advantage. Be curious, be creative. But most importantly, stay updated with the latest fashion trends.

Define Your Style

Easier said than done, right? Well, that would depend on how determined you are to zero-in on your intended look. So here’s how we do it.

Let’s suppose that you are not inclined to a particular style and remain equally confused about what suits you best. If this is the case, let’s start with the basics. Jot down certain ‘moods’ that you would like to associate with your look. Is it serious, is it playful and funny? Are you the blend of suave and bold? Is there a possibility that you would play with the classic or the ultra-chic look?

The objective is to come up with certain attributes of style that you would like to adopt. It would also depend on the situation. If you are a working professional spending considerable amounts of time at the office, you would want a serious and a professional look. Then there’s the fun and partying look for your after-hours.

No matter how many different looks you want to wear, make a note of them and work towards attaining them. Let it be a mix of comfort and bold because sticking to just one style is boring. Have some variety in your tastes.

Monitor Your Progress

Once you have started the journey of attaining your desired look, it’s essential to keep a track of events. By this, we mean that whenever you dress for the office, a party or some important occasion, click a picture of yourself. You can click pictures under different light setting and places. What this does is essentially gives you the width and breadth of your look. You will come to know whether a particular attire looks appropriate and fit for an occasion.

Another aspect of this exercise is that it creates a databank of all the times when you tried something different than your everyday clothes. You can always go back to them and analyze which look seemed closer to your desired style. Also, if you run out of inspiration for your next outing, or have hit a block in styling, get inspired by your previous styles.

Even if your previous trials fail to inspire you, you end up with a collection of pictures in which you look stunning and gorgeous. This is your fashion treasure trove.

Adopt a Trademark Style

Fashion - An Art or Science?

With a few ideas and a lot of inspiration, it is time to get a taste of creating a signature look. It is true that everyone has a specific outlook on fashion and that it varies from person to person. That is why it so important to find a combination that embodies your personality. In a way, you have to fix upon a trademark look that showcases your quirks.

How do you do this? Let’s start with the basics. Let’s assume you are very outgoing and love to be out in the open. You can make bright clothes with radiant colours your motif for the rest of the look. These colours could be for tees, shirts, and bottom wear. Similarly, if you love patterns and designs, you can include that element in your attire.

You have illimitable options when you dive into the world of colour and patterns. They are many things to consider while indulging in the creative process. Your body shape, the silhouette or the outline of the clothes you wear, your complexion and features; all play an equally important role when creating a unique look. However, the most important thing is comfort because looking great should be a perfect combination of fashion and function.

Take your time in choosing your looks. Go through the exercise and we promise you the results will be astounding. Hopefully, in the end, you will have a collection of half a dozen templates of signature styles that you can later use for improvisations.

Stay Away from Repetitions

While it takes time to sort through various defining looks, one should stay away from the temptations of repetition. It is only natural to play your strengths in the fashion arena.

What happens is you end up choosing a particular style which may seem like the only option that makes you look incredible. This directly influences your choice when you go out shopping next. You decide that this is the look that will define your style. The consequence of this is you shop for a particular type of clothes and accessories every time you buy.

This leads to the accumulation of clothes that are identical or similar. Going for the same look and feel can often cramp your style. It makes you ignore newer looks and dissuades you from experimenting with your outfits. The end result is you have a wardrobe full of clothes that give you the same look with very slight variation. For a lot of people, this becomes the next challenge that they have to get past if they want to look spectacular every time they step out

We provide you with a simple method to overcome this barrier. So a timely audit of your wardrobe is the need of the hour. That doesn’t mean you create a worksheet of all the clothes and accessories you have with all their colours and features. Just take a look at your wardrobe and start arranging the outfits. You can classify them by type and overall form, colours; patterns and design can be another section.

This is an effective way of coming to terms with all the unnecessary apparels you have, stowed away at the back and calmly waiting to see the light of the day. You can do two things with this lot; keep them and use them for later or get rid of them right away.

You will be surprised by how many clothes you possess. Also, you will realize how many unused pieces occupy the shelves. Most of them may no longer fit you or seem outdated with respect to current trends in style. Weed them out and make space for chic and in vogue apparels. More importantly, do this every few months to know how much improvement you are making while selecting clothes.

A slight modification to your buying habit can make a world of a difference. Don’t give in to impulsive and binge buying. It only adds to the bulk of the clothes you already have. Also, you should always buy clothes with an intent. You should have a clear picture of where the clothes can be worn, how you can match them with other pieces you already have and whether this can add meaning and beauty to your collection. Live by the maxim of ‘Know Thy Wardrobe’.

Work on Your Strengths

The characteristics of a great wardrobe is not just having trendy and amazing clothes. It should be a representative of who you are and what you identify as fashion.

Because there are so many varieties of clothing, choosing apparels that completely portrays your vision may be a difficult task. But it is a reasonably easy process. All you have to do is a bit of trial and error. But look out for certain cues that will tell you what will look great on you.

Consider the skin tone when choosing colours and prints. Often it is found that certain colours look fantastic on one person, but looks dull and unimaginative on the other. Similarly, some can carry prints and patterns with the utmost flourish while some struggle to embody its beauty. What is the difference here? It’s all about who you are and whether the apparel adds on to your personality.

For instance, if your core strength lies in dressing formally, try out different variations within the formal circle. If your talent lies in matching formal apparels, play it to your advantages by investing time and effort in creating the best formal wear combination. On the other hand, do not shy away from trying new styles and design because fashion evolves constantly. Let you style pervade all spheres of dressing.

Remember that it doesn’t matter what hand you are dealt with. All that counts is how well you play the cards you have. Not what your combination is, you can’t go awfully wrong in it.

It’s the Whole Package

Ever wondered why you don’t look your best despite getting expensive and gorgeous outfits? Is there something missing in your look even though you have an amazing collection in your wardrobe? There could be many reasons for it. Some may be subtle that you miss completely and others may be glaringly obvious that you tend to ignore.

Well, you can’t have all the things at once. If you have just begun to pay attention to your looks and recently started being stylish, these mistakes are very common. We are talking about the complete fashionable look, the whole package.

It is a common myth that if you have great clothes to put on, it will make you look stylish. Style goes beyond the look and feel of your outfits. There are many small things worthy of your attention that you should completely take into consideration. We want to emphasize the importance of accessories and your overall look that will only compound the fashion quotient.

What do most style icons have in common? Besides wearing avant-garde fashion labels and vogue outfits, most fashionistas go for the complete package. They are very particular about the accessories, the way the clothes fit them, the hair that goes with the outfit and the occasion. These are some things one need to consider when creating the perfect look. Whatever makes you look elegant should be a part of your look. Contrary to this, whatever seems like an unnecessary addition should be done away with. Every element has to be carefully considered before making it a part of your look. The devil is in the details.

Know Thyself

Fashion - An Art or Science?

In our earlier discussions, we have stressed the importance of working on your strengths while creating an amazing look for yourself. While it may seem a challenging task, an insurmountable barrier to cross, it is something that can be developed over time. The first step is to know what works for you and what doesn’t.

One of the best examples is the bold, punky, gothic and emo look. We are talking about teenagers who like to dress in dark clothes, leather pants and jackets and spiky hair. You will also find them with their body covered in tattoos and more piercings than you can count on your fingers. You have to trust us when we say not everyone can carry that look. But it works for a lot of individuals.

That’ the beauty of fashion. Even exceptions find a niche in the universe of style. One would imagine how people can be imaginative and include variations with a single colour. Well, you just have to look around to find an entire cosmos of style with just a specific look. To some, it may seem surprising that a bold look can also look elegant and graceful. That is because beauty is much more than the clothes you wear. All that matters is whether it goes hand in hand with your look and personality.

The gothic and emo look is just another way of self-expression. Individuals who find it comfortable in expressing their beliefs and attitude through tattoos and spiky hair and nose rings are more than welcome to try and match these with a signature look. And it does look significantly different from others yet deliver a common message of expressing however one feels comfortable with. That’s a major role of fashion; letting individuals create an identity for themselves and serving a medium of self-expression. This is only possible if you look inwards and begin to realize who you are.

Overhauling Your Wardrobe

Before creating a perfect look, let’s go down to the basics of creating a perfect wardrobe. Simply because whenever you want to adorn a captivating look, you should have a full arsenal with all the firepower. It will be in the best interest of readers to have a full checklist of things we are about to discuss.

First things first. Consider the apparels that you need on a day-to-day basis. You may not consider it an essential part of your style but daily wear forms a greater part of your fashion language. Casuals give you an overall feeling of being carefree and elegant styling without much effort. Some apparels can make you look cool without investing too much effort. And this is the need of the hour.

The way we lead our busy lives, time is a much-depleting commodity. Every day, we find it difficult to commit more than half an hour to groom. For most individuals, even this is a bit of stretch and a brief glimpse in the mirror suffices. We are here to change that because you deserve all the attention you can give. This is the reason why should choose your casual wear wisely so that you effortlessly look your best without putting a lot of time to it.

At the same time, you should have formal wear that comes handy when you are going out or attending a function. We are talking about those occasions when looking ordinary is not an option. This is the time when you bring out all the bling and savvy apparels to look your finest.

These apparels are worth investing in because ordinary apparels will not convey the desired message. When your goal is elegance and suave, nothing but special occasion wear will do justice to your personality. Keep a portion of your wardrobe dedicated to these outfits. You can have a range of special wear which is contingent upon how frequently you go out, attend functions or simply go out partying. And lastly, don’t be tempted to wear these outfits on ordinary occasions. You don’t want unnecessarily stand out because of no specific reason. Keep in mind that there’s a time and place for everything.

Find your Own Inspiration

There’s one important rule in the world of art. It is a simple concept which states that there can never be any beauty without inspiration. No great feats were achieved without inspiration and enthusiasm. That is why it is so important to feel inspired every time you think of creating a fantastic look for yourself.

In today’s world, you can find inspiration everywhere you look. It can be natural or artificial elements around. Birds, trees, sky, the shape of the clouds and even modern architecture can serve as a solid ground for inspiration. Sometimes, these things do strike as inspiring at the first glance. You have to take in the various sights that surround you, let it settle in your subconscious, and interact with your thoughts. You will be surprised how such a process gives birth to the most splendid inspiration that catches you unaware. This may seem like a complicated step toward seeking inspiration. If you want a crash course in getting inspired, you can find in the palm of your hands.

Social media has revolutionized the way we interact with the outside world. There is no better way to share visual experiences but through social media. In recent years, there has been an explosion of influencers and style icons who taken to social platforms for disseminating their art. These can serve as the much-need diversity in your wardrobe and a spark of inspiration.

You will find so many categories of innovations which will make you feel inspired to the core. From everyday wear to dressing up for functions and special occasions, you will find something that resonates with your tastes. Just go ahead and see for yourselves. You never know what will capture your fancy and push you to reinvent your taste in fashion and styling.  

Similarly, websites which write extensively on styling can be a goldmine to create the next best look of yours. Besides a resource for trending fashion, you will find several useful tips and hacks that may solve any problems you face while creating a new iconic look. Like social media platforms, these websites have content written by some of the best experts in the industry. There’s so much you can learn from stalwarts of fashion. You can take in what’s important to you, internalize and process ideas, and add a touch of your own thoughts to personalize your ideas. It won’t take long before inspiration finds you.

Don’t be afraid of going all out with your new-found ideas. After all, there are no boundaries when it comes to creativity. You can apply all your knowledge and experience in choosing and modifying what works for you. Even if a particular style doesn’t work out for you, you can cross it from your list. The biggest advantage of chasing your curiosity is that you come out of it wiser.

Trends can be misleading

Too many options can be a bad thing too. Especially in the sphere of trends, there can be so many trends that may go viral in an instant and vanish from people’s mind at the same pace. That is one of the major drawbacks of relying on social media trends to create and develop your own style.

While there are numerous trends that will come your way, you have got to be selective about the styles you want to pick up. See for yourself what suits your attitude and personality. This is because fashion can never be one size fits all. Although there are trends that garner mass appeal, the whole of finding your niche is to carve out your own preferences and identity. This is a slow process that takes shape with practice and time.

One of the reasons why any and every trend may not be up to your liking is because what you expect out apparels may be completely different. As individuals, we all have an inkling about what a particular style may do for us. Some of us want to focus on appearances of a certain kind. When you have a trend that portrays fun instead of serious, casual instead of fun, raw instead of suave, it can create irreconcilable differences that can inhibit your style. A simple way of avoiding this is to be clear, right from the start, what you want to achieve with a particular style.

This will help you eliminate other options which may end up distracting you from your intended goal. This brings us to our next point which stresses on the outcome of your desired style.

Start With Mix & Match

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Overhauling a wardrobe can be overwhelming for most of us. Especially for beginners, it will be a bit daunting to choose from so many options. Whichever social media platform you use, for browsing or for gaining insights, you will be presented with a multitude of choices. Some may work for, others may not represent your style. But the important thing is to keep looking.

One of the easiest ways to start defining your style is to try different outfits and find out for yourself what works best for your persona. This is the time where you can experiment with colours, fabrics, patterns and identify your basic style. You don’t have to necessarily try out every single outfit in your wardrobe. As discussed previously, divide your outfits into categories and start making pairs.

Although the internet can seem a vast expanse for researching styling guides, you can zero down to a few favourite combinations and start personalizing them. Bring your inner designer to the fore and analyze what pairings represent your attitude and body. When it comes to fashion, you can play around with formals, casuals, sportswear, party wear and chilling clothes to start with. Try not to use your favourite pair of jeans, trousers or t-shirts for pairing most of your clothes. It can be difficult to exclude your treasured apparels when you mix and match. But if you want to refresh your styling sense, you will have to incorporate a lot more variety.

Initially, you may spend time in perfecting the look, but perfection is not the goal here. The idea is to come with options that you can wear and which can make you look fantastic every single time. As you spend days getting devising a styling strategy, you will get better at making decisions. The pairing will come naturally without taking too much of your precious time.

There two main advantages of the mix and match strategy. To begin with, on the one hand, you may have a lot of clothes in the wardrobe and feel lost as to when to wear what. You may be surprised how well clothes can be paired to create any look. You just haven’t tried it before. That is why when you take stock of clothes, you find so many different choices. On the other hand, there may a number of apparels that haven’t seen the light of day. You may have several reasons for not wearing certain outfits and have almost forgotten about them. Even if you are don’t consider them vogue enough, matching them with your favourite attire can make these popular again. You just have to take the plunge on this one.

The other advantage is you develop a sense of design as you go on trying out different combination. On day one, you will begin with having no clue what to do and how to do it. But as your attempts begin to be a success, as soon as you start getting compliments from friends, you begin to have a renewed interest and faith in the process. Trust your instincts and go right ahead with your decisions.

Uncomfortable to Comfortable

Fashion - An Art or Science?

We have all come across this hurdle several times in our lives. Remember the time when you were trying to learn something new? It required all your enthusiasm, effort and attention. The initial steps seemed like the hardest and you would wonder when you would get out of the learning phase. Life gets much easier after you have overcome the initial phase.

The same is true when you begin to experiment. In the beginning, you wouldn’t have a clue to what you are doing. You will end up pairing the wrong colours, rooting for your favourite clothes even though they no longer are in fashion, choose the wrong fabric with a strong outfit. Be warned that the process tends to be a bit frustrating. But keep in mind that you have to wade through high water to reach higher grounds.

That’s the thing with trying something new. Whether learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, developing a new skill, the learning part requires a lot of effort. You may also notice that after an initial surge, your interest may begin to wane. Hold on to it and things will just begin to get easier.

Well, things don’t get easy like that. What happens is you start paying attention to details, the little nuances that help you achieve the desired look. When this begins to occur every time you start experimenting with your look, you start believing in your decisions and become more confident with practice. That is the level you have to get to in your fashion game.

The notions of comfort and discomfort are all matter of experience. It is only human to feel unusual when you try something unfamiliar. The lack of knowledge and experience directly translates into a lack of confidence. What you need to do id familiarize yourself to the given task at hand and focus on bringing out the inner creativity. Because fashion is an art and art flourishes with creativity. And especially in art, you can’t be afraid of peoples’ opinions and failures because of diverse tastes and method. You will have to create your own brand, personalized to such an extent that people come to identify your creation with you.

Get over momentary discomfort and you will see that the harder you try the easier things become. Remember that is it is not difficult, if it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable then it is not worth trying.

Create a Goal for Yourself

While it’s all fun and games try out new outfits and deciding what goes with which apparel, see it from the viewpoint of achieving something greater. You should definitely have fun with whatever you are doing. Enjoying the process is part of the deal. But it works in your favour in the long term is you have a definite goal to achieve.

So what can be your goals when it comes to fashion? It could be looking perfect on a party night, getting that sharp professional look at work or looking your best at an event. A simple way is to create different categories of looks that you want to perfect. As mentioned earlier, while dividing your wardrobe into different categories, have a somewhat clear picture with what you want to achieve.

Consider the different events that happen during the week, to begin with. Say you attend college during the day time, have a gym membership that requires you to commit a few hours every week, or a five day work week with casual Fridays. It could be anything where you need to look a certain way at a particular time of the day. You can sort your outfits based on the above events. The next step is to decide the look you want to achieve, the type of persona you want to portray and how you will achieve it.

Dividing your week into events and then selecting apparels for them is a small step towards establishing an iconic style statement. One may think that looking casual and maintaining an everyday look need not require that much effort and planning. While this is true for many who wouldn’t think twice in reaching the first garment they get from the wardrobe, you have to differentiate your look from the others. Easier said than done, right?

Start with baby steps. Have a clear view of how you want to come across in a social environment. You have to plan much when you are lounging at home, because, let’s be honest, it doesn’t warrant an extensive strategy to look amazing. It’s because you are in the comfort of your home without worrying too much about your look. But when you step outside, your clothes should convey the message about your personality.

With a clear goal in sight, it becomes a bit easier to get to the target of looking fantastic all throughout the day.

A goal is more like a challenge that helps you transform yourself. Say goodbye to the old dressing sense that did not represent you. It is time to elevate your design taste and shoe the world who you really are. Keeping a target will bring out that desire to achieve it and develop the habit of looking your finest at all occasions.

Keep a checklist of events and assign an outfit to it. As you get into the habit of organizing your apparels, you will gain the confidence to experiment with your combinations. While in a professional setting you will have to stick with sharp and formal dressing, personal events can be a nourishing ground to experiment with different apparels. Know when you should stick to traditional styling versus when you can dabble with the unknown.

Go Bling with Accessories

Most Indian men tend to shy away from accessories. The popular opinion is that sporting accessories are like walking a thin line. If it goes right it can make you look ultra-trendy. If one can’t pull it off in a smart manner, the result can be an over-the-top gaudy look. The outlook for accessories may differ depending on who you ask, but it is worth finding out for yourself.

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Accessories may have garnered a negative perception owing to its association with extreme showiness and errant personalities. Well, that’s how popular culture has portrayed them over the years. But what if you manage to find a balance between gaudy and cool?

Over the years, accessories have been popularized by Indian Film Industry, finding a prominent place in the overall outlook of mega film stars. Be it the cool college dude look or the edgy yet sensitive bad boys, accessories have developed an interminable association with looking raw and taut.

All that matters is how you use them for your advantage. Accessories need not be all bling and metal. In fact, several accessories imbue a sense of suave and elegance on the wearer. And they do come in all forms and materials which suit formal and casual looks, equally. Don’t just go by the latest trends that may specifically be tailored for your favourite celebrities. You have to decide on your own whether the add-on feature is worth carrying.

Some accessories require making complete changes to your look, while others complement the overall persona and appearance. But here’s the best part about accessories. It will probably stand out from a distance. Not surprisingly, most accessories are the first things to be noticed by people. Why not use this opportunity to captivate them and have their undivided attention towards you.

Accessories can make or break a deal. But you can play safe and still try them out to bring a refreshing change in your style. Start with something low-risk like a pair of glasses, a cool cap or wrist band. If you want to push the limits, you can always try out piercings and tattoos, if that’s the kind of look you are going for. It’s not just for casual settings. Accessories can be paired with formal wear in the form a great looking tie and cufflinks. Similarly, a smart suave looking watch can get a lot of attention and praise. It comes down to what your objective is for using accessories.

It is advisable to consider that at a later stage of developing a style statement. Your clothes should do much of the talking for you. Once you get comfortable with the basic style, you can further advance your fashion tastes to the accessory level. Get this right and you have a personalized iconic look. Once you achieve this, there is no stopping you from getting social media recognition and all the likes, comments and most importantly, fan following. The goal is to not just look good, but dominate the arena where you stand. And accessories will get you there.

Focus on Authenticity

India is a country where trends catch up in no time. Especially when one considers styling trends, there’s a wide appeal for popular trends. Over the years, the Indian Film Industry has been the major player in driving masses towards the latest fads. This stems from the huge following that Film stars get due to massive popularity. In most movies, a huge budget is allocated for the styling of actors which soon finds a place in peoples’ hearts.

More recently, social media has been at the forefront of disseminating popular opinions and culture. The same is true for making things viral, be it making the Dalgona coffee or the ice bucket challenge. Fashion trends are made popular in the same way. As more and more people get access to the internet and social media, trends become easier to spread and adopt.

It is not far from the truth when we say that we face a time of information overload. The fear of missing out on popular fads is a real thing. Everyone wants to stay abreast of popular culture. And that is why it becomes difficult to establish authenticity. What authenticity underscores is the uniqueness of individual opinion, and how individual expression is equally important as mass culture.

The whole idea of creating a unique look for yourself is to create a place for individual expression, which can be easily lost in a sea of infinite opinions. That is why authenticity is the need of the hour. It’s better to be a unique version of yourself rather than emulate what millions of people are doing across the world. Creating a distinctive style statement, different from popular trends, is something everyone should strive for.

In the social media-driven world, there are countless influencers and fashion bloggers deliver an opinion on style and culture. Some may start a viral video and the phenomena become a social media sensation. What you need to do is take in the positives and blend into your own personal creation. That is one of the ways to achieve authenticity. What we need to realize is that we don’t need to follow current trends to remain stylish, to look good. Anyone can develop an exclusive style if one is willing to try.

Fashion should be used to distinguish ourselves from the masses as it can give you a special identity, different from others. When you invest in your own creativity, with all the ideas and inspirations one gets, the end result is phenomenal. What you will have is a set of style that is identifiable as yours.

Ask for Help

We no longer live in silos. Gone are the days when communication was limited and one wouldn’t know what’s happening at the other end of the town. Things have changed so drastically in the last few decades that all the information you need is just a click away. Similarly, social media has changed the face of our daily interaction.

Fashion - An Art or Science?

In today’s world, anything you want to learn is available online. Especially in the fashion world, the secrets of creating unique styles, dressing fashionably and awareness of products and fashion labels have come out into the open. This helps people who have recently found their calling in fashion. Not just designers and manufacturers, common people who wouldn’t be able to tell suede from leather, have gained immense knowledge.

There are several ways how you can leverage social media to elevate your dressing sense. We have already discussed how online resources can help you decide and experiment with specific styles. Now, let’s assume that you have to create a personalized style with all the information acquired over time. Maybe you want to make further changes to it or if you are happy with the style, you would want to promote it online, or just want peoples’ opinions on your choice, method and execution.

Suppose you are running a business and want feedback on your product. Social platforms can do all that and much more. This is because nowhere else you will find a community, related to your work, ranging in millions. When you have put your designs and style online, you will have the exposure where thousands can check out your profile and give you suggestions.

Feedback can be an important part of the process. Especially when you don’t have formal training and you are out there to try your luck, you stand a chance to receive some invaluable insights from common people and industry experts as well. This can prove to be a great advantage.

Suggestions and peoples’ reactions help you do a course correction. Suppose you have two looks and can’t decide which one looks better on you. You put up a post with polls and ask people to vote for the best look. Instantly you will start receiving votes and get the final result. Although mass opinion is not for judging talent or providing expert opinion, you can always rely on it for understanding your audience and the market. Such exercise also helps you connect with other people who are at a similar stage in life and expand your network. In today’s global society, networking can be of great help, if not professionally then, at least, on a personal level.

Most importantly, ask for peoples’ help enables you to identify your shortcomings and make amends in the future. You can get invaluable information from experts and maybe a bit of trolling initially. But that shouldn’t deter you from achieving your goals. Exposing your weakness on a global platform is not an easy task. One always thinks of whether people are going to like your style statement, your wit and ingenious ways. But that is all secondary. What your aim should be is get in touch with as many experts as possible and get credible information.

Besides helping you with creating unique styles, interacting with people will open a box of new ideas. That’s right. You will get a lot of help from people if you engage your audience with interesting content. But the real benefit on interaction is the increasing awareness of the world around you, what’s trending and learning to incorporate important feedback.

Since fashion is a malleable, open-to-interpretation concept, you will have a diverse range of suggestions. People from all walks of life can talk about style, what suits them, what kind of style they are inclined towards. This, in turn, helps you get an understanding of how people think and where their ideas come from. Whenever you are stuck or a hit a roadblock, you can seek advice from your friends and community.

Fashion is not a proprietary commodity. It doesn’t have specific rules and dogmas that need to be strictly followed. Sure, one needs to understand the basics. Like many arts, there are certain basic steps one needs to climb. Once the rules are mastered, all that is left to be conquered is creativity and imagination. And these basics aren’t exactly rocket science. Anyone can develop an eye for fashion, a taste for style. What’s needed is the commitment to nurturing this interest.

Some may believe that we are born with certain prejudices. Even if they are present at birth, we tend to get influenced by our surroundings while growing up. The same is true when it comes to style. Right from childhood, all of the show some preferences towards a particular style. This could be something that we see around us, what everyone is wearing, something we see on popular channels of media, while some ideas are promoted by famous personalities. Whatever be the source of influence, we become impacted by it right from an early age. This may not turn out to be a detrimental phenomenon, but to think out of the box, you have to do a bit of unlearning.

Real creativity rises out of known rules and principles. When someone challenges the status quo, it becomes a reason for them to reinvent the way we see, the way we think and the direct result of it is to reinvent the world. Fashion works on similar principles. Rules may tell you that you have to use certain colours for a fabric, but creativity can show what shades you should go after, the cut and design of the outfit. This doesn’t come easily, but eventually, anyone who dares wins.

That’s the best part of sauntering in the world of creativity. There are no limitations, except that the sky is the limit. Throughout the years, small contributions by individuals and organization from around the world have shaped the future of our societies. Things begin in their crude form, like the first flying machine invented by Wright brothers. They get perfected over time, with the discovery, invention and implementation of new concepts, with the final product being the jumbo jet. Fashion has had a similar journey. From animal hides to trendy jeans, we have come a long way.

But the point is, there is a process to art and every addition to it only enhances its personality. From the start of the fashion seasons and weeks in the early 20th century to shows across the world throughout the year, the traditional format has undergone considerable change. People from different backgrounds have elevated themselves to a level where they can meaningfully contribute and create a change. And this happens constantly, brought about by many individuals. No longer do we have the industry dominated by a handful of big names and companies. The era of famous fashion houses has long been forgotten with the original inspiration driving thousands of young talents to enter the field of fashion. That is why you have numerous brands selling great products.

A Glimpse of the Fashion Seasonality

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Timing is everything in our lives. No industry can keep to the rhythm of supply and demand without a dedicated marching with the hands of time. What started as a way to make lives periodic and establish a time-table for ordinary function, the time has found its way into every aspect of the commercial lives. No other field follows a committed work ethic tempo than the arena of fashion. But it wasn’t like this all the time. Clarity on official seasons of fashion and seasonal produce gradually found a semblance of organization. Let’s look into the past of the fashion season.

Even before the 20th century, there was a heavy emphasis on bringing fashion to the masses. In earlier times, the opportunity to display an artist’s repertoire was only limited to grand events where the who’s who of the society participated. Before the globalization of such a unique talent, artists would often find patrons who encouraged creativity and imagination. Engulfed in immense fame, popular artists of the time dedicated their entire craft to the anticipating eyes of the few.

However, the growing trade and economics of the late 19th and early 20th century led to the emergence of a new class of society. These were merchants, traders, business owners who made great leaps and bounds in the continuously expanding world. The invention of faster means of transport made it possible for members of society to travel long distances in shorter times. This lead to the formation of the upper-middle class in the Americas and Europe with disposable incomes.

The fashion industry, which was only for special eyes and significant inheritance, soon realized the potential of tapping into the newly formed middle-class market. Now, anything that rises out of its niche and aims to capture the mass market has to undergo numerous challenges. The same is true for the fashion industry as well. No longer could the promoters of goods rely on the whims and fancies of irregularly produced merchandise to sustain the burgeoning business. What was needed was a definite protocol and standard operating procedures for designers and merchants alike. This gave birth to the concept of seasonality.

Seasonality wasn’t a new concept in the field of arts. From poets to painters, the annual change in nature served as great inspirations for many. Since many would consider art as an imitation of nature, their artisan guild was used to the changes in the art scene brought about by the cyclical nature. In the fashion sector, it was deemed necessary to capitalize on a fixed schedule already presented by nature. The trick was to use it for commercialization of products and capture the fancy of the mass markets.

Even before the standardization of merchandise produced in a year, fashion designers of those years were habituated to producing season-specific clothes. Light and bright colours with breathable fabric, hats of varying sizes and styles, shoes and heals would embody the true nature of the summer. The other season that dictated the face and fate of designer clothes was autumn and winter. The drop in the mercury, occasional rains and definite period of blizzards and snow warranted the need for warmer apparels. The bulky, drab winter wear garb underwent several transformations to give way for trendy chic winter wear much preferred by those who could afford them and wanted to look vogue even with the layers of clothes.

Clearly, the semblance of the organization was needed to elevate the already established niches of design schools and independent artist to a global scale. The need was for a pre-decided time or month of the year where the merchandise can be put for display. The main reason for having a specific time was to create fervour in the consumers about the products. In the early decades of the 20th century, travelling long distances usually came with spending days on the road or the sea. People would plan for their trip across the Atlantic months in advance. Wouldn’t it be better if consumers and interested parties were informed months in advance before the actual fashion show drops?

The excitement for a new launch also gained momentum with a pre-determined schedule. Before, buyers would wait in anticipation for any word of the latest collection at the display. Since information travelled at a slower pace, often, potential customers would miss the opportunity of attending displays and shows of prominent designers. Having a designated season countered the problem of missing the bus. Interested parties would be informed months in advance about upcoming shows which enabled them to plan their visits to Europe or America to catch the latest innovations in the fashion sector.

This seemed a practical idea for many fashion houses. Many entrepreneurs and designers would employ the services of marketing companies and agencies to get the word out. Time was needed to communicate the message in the most interesting and creative manner. As competition grew amongst fashion labels, the intensity of campaigning and promoting an artist’s creation grew exponentially. Now you had several names competing for the growing upper-middle class and hopefully convert them into loyal customers. All this became possible due to a standardized format of creation and promotion.

Another reason for the need of a fashion calendar had much to do with the creation and manufacturing process. At the beginning of the 20th century, the extent of colonization by Europeans had reached the corners of the world. The leading nations of Europe, England, France, Belgium, Spain and other world leaders now had a dominion which covered almost the entire face of the Earth. As the colonizers came in contact with new and ingenious civilizations, the entire world came to know about them. Starting from memoirs and biographies of first settlers to the fictional stories of travellers, the world came to know about the far-off lands on either side of the equator and the hemispheres.

Some of the stories were extremely enticing with accounts of exotic treasures belonging to the indigenous population. There started an exchange of culture, customs and arts between the colonizers and their subjects. It is fair to say that the growing mercantile class of Europe and America started procuring these exotic artefacts from all over the colonies. And there was an increasing demand for these products. Ivory, precious stones, silk, tea, indigo and many such collectables started flooding the markets and everyone wanted a piece of these exotics.

Fashion designers and artists weren’t far behind. They realized that all these precious and rare materials could easily become a part of the design and sold as merchandise. However, the procurement of these substances took a long time. That’s the reason artists and designers had to plan in advance how their designs would look and what elements to include in their clothes. This step of creativity relied heavily on the availability of these items. With a complete list of inventory in their hands, designers found themselves in a better position to conceptualize their designs and the time and effort necessary in bringing them to life.

Soon the industry adopted a common theme for their shows in the form of the Spring Summer and Autumn Winter collections. These events gave designers ample time to contemplate the execution of their most perfected designs on one hand and satisfy customer expectations on the other hand. With these standardizations in place, the entire world came to know fashion as an established industry and a venue of commerce. This brought customers and buyers on the same playing field as the artists. It was bound to be a match made in heaven when the producers found their buyers.

For decades, this remained the standard in the fashion industry. Slowly the industry found a major footing in the capital cities of Europe and the USA. The formation of the Big Four, New York, London, Milan, Paris, gained immense popularity and news coverage so as to become the dominant venue of the new revolutions in the fashion landscape. Consumers and loyal customers started flocking to these capitals to gather information on the latest trends of that era. This also resulted in many artists and designers climbing the rope towards fame and popularity. This era led to the formation of some of the most iconic brand like Gucci, Prada, Dolce Gabbana. The fashion industry would never be the same after the establishment of the aforementioned system of production.

Fast forward to the 21st century. The world has undergone tremendous change in culture and technology. Throughout the decades of the 20th century, innovations in design, printing methods, mass media and distribution strategy made the mass commercialization of fashion possible. At the same time, the world seemed much smaller with the emergence of jetplanes and satellite communication. The impact of it on everyday lives became more and more prominent. You start your day in one continent and find yourself preparing for the night in another.

Such transformations in the everyday lives of individuals also quickened the pace of anticipation. As processes became smarter and faster, the expectations of a quick turnaround time in the fashion field gained momentum. The fashion calendar was no longer limited to the Big Four. As the world saw the emergence of new nations and fast-growing economies, instant communication weaved distant parts of the world into a common web of producers and consumers. Fashion houses started spreading to Tokyo, New Delhi, Monaco, Shanghai, Rome, Madrid, Dubai, Berlin, Sydney and numerous other ‘fashion capitals’ of the world. 

As the world shrank under the guise the improved technology, the tricks of the fashion trade spread across continents, leading to greater innovations in style and design. Designers and artists from all walks of life found their calling in the fashion industry. Instead of adhering to some of the fixed notions of design and aesthetics, talented individuals started creating their own niche, experimenting with different styles, prints, patterns and fabrics. Artists were breaking the mould for quite some time. But the emergence of newer fashion houses entailed unprecedented innovation.

The fast-moving world also made the procurement of materials quick and easy. Anything could be shipped from one end of the planet to the other in a matter of days. Similarly, any product could be delivered to the end-user with no great time lag. This quickened the pace of producing newer and newer products. At the same time, digital technology made it possible for artists and companies to quicken their conceptualization and execution. A systemic uniformity to the creative process enabled artists to take a giant leap towards creating and producing their goods in a small amount of time. The impetus was global recognition and establishing a fashion store in every city of the world. The sky was the limit for many upcoming artists.

All this created a major transformation in the world of fashion. It gave birth to the concept of seasonless fashion weeks across countries. The widespread awning of the fashion industry to different countries meant that artist could create styles that were inspired by the geo-cultural characteristics of their countries. Materials could be sourced locally or from other countries irrespective of the time of the year. Technology-led to swift creation at a mass production level. Since different seasons dictated individual countries couture, fashion houses started creating their own fashion weeks in anticipation of seasonal demands. This created a global movement where fashion weeks were held across the world at all times of the year. From a cultural revolution limited to the first-world countries, fashion became a global phenomenon in a matter of one century. This is a true measure of the advances made by society.

The art has come a long way. From isolated sparks in the affluent societies of wealthy nations to the fire that gripped the entire world, fashion has made a sweeping success all over the world. Inventing and creating art was never difficult. World-renowned artists and designers found inspiration in every aspect of nature. The challenge was to put art on a pedestal for the global audience to adore and appreciate.

The modern allowed fashion houses and artists to leverage science and technology to make into a global phenomenon. Science also enabled the artists to conceptualize in a digitally re-enforced realm that could easily translate abstract thinking into palpable, definable, visually appealing concepts. In simpler terms, if art is guided by inspiration, it sees the light of day with the help of technology. It is a delightful fantasy to imagine how technology would change art, and how the art would affect technology a few centuries into the future. But one thing is certain, it going to be an incredible journey with the artists contributing to the ever-growing world of culture and aesthetics. Cheers to the never-ending ardour and passion of art, science, the artist and the loyal fashion enthusiasts united by a common goal of devotion to aesthetics.

The Commercial Story of Fashion

Retail economics form a key role in any nation’s economy. For centuries, it has been an important channel connecting the producers with the consumer. Although retail has undergone tremendous transformations, customers love walking into a big box store and buying their favourite items. The backbone of developed countries as well as emerging economies are strengthened by the efficient functioning of the retail industry.

The fashion industry, which began showcasing apparels to a select few, has now grown into a giant, catering to the needs of billions across the globe. No matter in which country you live, you are not left untouched by the effects of fashion retail. Individual stores, shopping malls, big-box retailers have penetrated the mass market and their reach is ever-increasing. It won’t be an overstatement to say that it has been a leading factor in influencing customer-buying behaviour.

Retail is an intricate maze to navigate in terms of strategy, logistics and execution. The process of delivering a product from the manufacturers to the end customer is extremely layered with several players maintaining a small level in the chain of procedures. The goal is to reach the far reaches of a given market in the most cost-effective manner. This eventually leads to increases movement of goods that enjoy a mass appeal. Arguably, it is the customer that decides what goods become popular and based on that, the penetration and extent of reach have to be decided. There’s immense competition for shelf space between products as it only makes sense to keep those products on display which have a higher probability of getting sold repeatedly. It is a careful system which involves analyzing customer perception and designing products based on consumer behavioural dynamics.

Why does all this matter? Well, in a consumption-driven economy, it is extremely crucial to know what the customers spend money on. The only feasible way for retailers to fulfil their crucial role is to move goods that will be sold everywhere and give a solid return on investment. Talking about returns, the Indian demographic has always had a favourable outlook towards fashion retail. It is estimated, that by 2020, the Indian fashion retail segment is on track to breach the $95 Billion mark. Food and grocery form the major chunk of retail sales in our country, followed by high consumption of clothes, footwear and related accessories.

 A quick look at the market share will tell you that men’s fashion is at par with women’s, or at least thereabout. In current times, men’s fashion occupies a marginally higher percentage of the market share. Also, kids wear is not far behind. About 28% of our population is 15 years of age or lower, making it a huge reserve of untapped market potential as viewed by several brands. If you are a brand starting the ling journey wide acclaim and mass appeal, retail is where you will have the opportunity to tussle with the big boys.

The Rise of the Global Brand

The world economics underwent a significant revolution after the internet boom. Several giants saw an opportunity to rope in major players from emerging economies. The idea was to create a market consisting of a huge customer base who can actively become repeat customers. Besides the internet, the reach for global appeal formed a consistent strategy for major brands. So how did these brands establish a firm footing in a growing economy like India?

One of the key stages that led to the penetration of international brands in the Indian markets was the opening up of the Indian economy in the early 90s. At the time, looking at the economic situation of the country, it was deemed necessary to invite foreign investors to participate in the Great Indian Story.

It made sense to invite global companies to set up base here and operate in a competitive environment. Competitive because a lot of factors led to a favourable environment for international brands to start investing in India. The important aspect of this was the growing middle class and increased spending. With a population on the verge of breaking the billion mark, India proved to be a market of enormous size. The world’s 2nd most populated country was about to become one of the biggest markets for the retail industry.

Another thing that really helped the brands was the growing wealth in the middle class, which was now beginning to concentrate in the cities. Major Indian metropolitans were becoming a giant hub for jobs, trades, and economic activities that guided the Indian economy. Slowly, the progress spread to nearby satellite cities and tier two towns and cities. This gave immense confidence to leading brands as they looked ahead to the spread of operations in major commercial hubs. Favourable policies, an open economic environment and conducive monetary incentives all gave a major impetus to the rising trend of international trade and commerce.

Probably, the most important contribution was made by the changing landscape of communications and technology. It was no longer possible to remain isolated in a shrinking world. New and improved distribution networks swiftly enhanced the connections between nations, creating easier trade channels and supply routes to deliver products anywhere in the world. This put distant nations on the map, who were initially deprived of international trade. As more and more countries opened their economies for international commerce, there was a renewed demand for further extending logistics to these new entries in the global arena.

Advancement in technology made it possible to track products across hemispheres. It became easier to identify roadblocks in delivering the goods to the customer, and with the creation of an efficient standard operating procedure, a seamless trade network was founded. This gave a tremendous boost to brands who were in search of newer markets. Similarly advances in production techniques further improved the manufacturing capabilities, leading to a surplus. Hence, the need to find newer audiences was never stronger.

The effect of all this was directly on the customer whose behaviour was about to change. The rise of the middle class entailed the creation of disposable income which could be easily spent. The growth of the economy led to the creation of more jobs, growth of the technological landscape of the country, which created a need for a new class of employees qualified in the digital and technical field. The overall effect could be felt in the cities which saw an influx of people. This further expanded the horizon for brands who were initially looking a limited playing field.

As more and more households came out of the bracket of limited income, customer spending began its steep climb. The growing phenomenon of supermarkets, megastores and shopping mall further caught the fancy of people who were willing to spend on luxuries. Never before was the Indian customer in a position to choose from numerous options. Shopping malls became the proving grounds for many brands while experimenting with commercial success keeping the Indian buyer in mind. The all-in-one destination for all shopping needs met with huge success.

A key reason was the shift in the consumer’s buying perspective. Before this, major transactions the buyer’s life were heavily influenced by cost. The price-conscious attitude ensured that economical trades were in good shape and enjoyed a larger market share. As more and more foreign brands made their appearance, the populace could now afford to spend on high-end luxuries without thinking too much about the price. Indian customer became conscious of the value added by foreign brands in the long term.

This is one of the factors why the Indian customer has fallen for international brands. The perception remains that high-end expensive foreign brands provide better value for money. The average consumer was more interested in the range of products and services received when purchasing a non-local label. The concept of realizing individual preferences and the urge to create a separate identity replaced all apprehensions related to the cost of the product. While more and more people were able to access fashion trends prevalent in the west, there was an increase in demand for similar lifestyle within the borders of the country. This demand could only be quelled if there was a major presence of global brands that enjoyed immense success in the markets of western countries. The influx of foreign labels in the Indian fashion retail segment is a testament to the appreciation showed by loyal customers.

Luxurious brands start enjoying a great following in the newly created market. For most customers who could afford international products, the brands became a symbol of an elevated lifestyle and a distinguishing factor from other buyers. The Indian customer was convinced that an international label conveyed a sense of luxury and prosperity which the Indian brands failed to create. As years passed, this phenomenon spread to the newly established commercial hubs in the distant part of the country, as well as fresh economic growth of tier-two cities and towns. Needless to say, technology was at the forefront of this revolution.

But it is the recent revolution in communication that uncovered the full potential of trade carried out by global brands. The phenomenon is social media and the result is e-commerce. In the last decade, India has become one of the largest markets for cell phones. A consist increase in browsing capabilities, websites, social media interactions, countrywide penetration of services, have all led to a continuous spread of influence by international brands. In a diverse country like ours, it became necessary for brands to communicate with their audiences, figure out their buying habits, and understand the trigger points in the buyer’s journey as so on. The newly initiated customer showed a marked difference in the buying behaviour with respect to displaying sensitivity towards the price range of these brands.

This led to fierce competition amongst several e-commerce giants to slash the prices of existing products and triggering massive discount during designated shopping seasons. Foreign brands faced a two-fold challenge, brutal competition by other international labels and the challenge of lowering prices to match local products. This created a huge difference between retail sales strategy and that of digital platforms. This constant upheaval in both the sectors ends up rewarding the customers with a wide range, easy availability and incredible discounts on retail. The biggest disadvantage of such fierce competition is for the brick and mortar ‘mom and pop stores’ who have relied heavily on customer footfall. But that’s drying up with the proliferation of malls where can get all the best brands at one single avenue. While big-box retailers and digital platforms are at loggerheads, there has been a gradual decline in demand for products from mid-sized retail shops. As more and more brands slash their retail prices, local brands who have always found shelf space with local business, have been facing struggles never before experienced by this sector in decades.

Whoever emerges as the winner, big retailers or digital shopping platform, one thing is for sure; brick and mortar stores need to update their strategy if they want to retain their market share. As technology advances further, social media dominates and dictates our every aspect of life, passing the decision on what’s popular and what’s not. With a growing exchange of ideas and purposes, huge chunks of isolated people are now becoming aware of social media trends. With an enormous range of products and perfecting the ideal price-point, global brands have a lot more to offer to everyone. The rise in content and dissemination of information has created an informed audience who make their decisions based on the type of trend they are into.

Whatever be the case, one has to realize the customer’s tastes are evolving and business has to stay updated with the latest trends in order to compete in an already crowded market. Although it won’t be easy, there are some factors which work in the favour of store owners and mid-size retailers who have somehow missed the opportunity to interact with their customers. 

2020 Trends in the Retail Industry

For the last few years, the retail fashion industry has to deal with a lot of challenges. From low footfalls to mega discounts by competitors, major brands are trying to figure out the possible ways to attract customers. Digital commerce has posed a unique problem in this scenario. On one hand, e-commerce has been steadily acquiring a considerable share in the market as well as setting a new benchmark is convenience and experience.

Already facing stiff competition online and offline, the retail faction is ready for considerable changes. Some of the changes have to come from the core of the retail concept. Guiding principles which have remained unchanged for decades need to be evaluated to fit the modern customer. The other thing is brands will have to find unique ways of remaining relevant in an already crowded space. As more and more buyers rely on information through online channels for making decisions, retail giants have to step in and improve their interactions with the customers.

Despite the challenge, retail fashion is all set to change the game. How will they match the growing proportions of numerous avenues that do a great job of attracting potential customers? Let’s see the trends that will lead retail into the future.

Customer Engagement

The rules of engagement have undergone tremendous changes over the past few years. The idea is to get to know the customer and provide an incredible shopping experience. This is not as simple as it sounds.

Fashion - An Art or Science?

The considerable transformation has happened in customer perception over the years. With an infinite amount of available information, customers are developing newer preferences towards a particular product or a brand. Customers have begun to evaluate several parameters before they end up trusting the brand. With increasing competition in the retail sector, the invasion of e-commerce in the commercial space, brands have to identify new ways to keep the customer engaged. Especially, brands are re-focusing on key aspects of customer relationships such as identifying what the customer wants, recognizing the need and fulfilling it. The other factor is how can brands make the customer’s buying journey more convenient.

Besides streamlining the buying process, retailers need to understand how to incorporate ease with an incredible shopping experience. This is considered to be a major step towards increasing engagement. All this will give rise to a new kind of association with the customers. It won’t do to just display the latest collections and entice the audience with great offers. Customers look beyond the initial display and discounts. Convenience has to transcend traditional ways of attracting the customer.

Brands will need to invest in CRMs that can generate new insights on customer behaviour, preferences and perception towards the product. What will further be an advantage to all business is to develop intuition towards market sentiments and buying attitudes. This will definitely go beyond loyalty programs and flash sales.

Exhibition Sales

A trend that is catching up in the retail is scene is the exhibition of products by creating an event out of it. Brands have opened up to the idea of creating the right setting and event for launching their latest collections. This is to create an impact on potential customers in the most innovative way.

Major brands and retailers conduct product exhibitions at museums, art galleries, and exhibition programmes. The occasion is chosen based on the launch’s theme, colour patterns, designs. The natural setting of these venues augments the effect created by the products which in turn lure customers to a unique shopping experience.

The whole concept has had an effect on the creation front of the brand. As retailers try to shift away from traditional seasons and formats of launches, the turnaround time for a particular collection has increased. As launches become more frequent, the designers and creators will have to keep up with demand. This will create a new category of products with limited stocks and frequent innovations.

Offers and Markdowns

A recent study in retail shopping concluded that more and more customers are opting for flash sales and discounts rather than maximum retail price. Two out every three customers have only bought products available at a discount rather than pay the full retail price.

This a clear indication of changing customer perspective. Offers have always been a part of the retail fashion industry. Throughout the year, offering a good amount of discount has always managed to attract customers. Big billion day sales, seasonal offers, stock clearance and other formats have shown great potential, online and offline, to get a steady flow of interested customers. However, this has undergone a complete transformation with the around-the-year sale.

Although e-commerce behemoths have created a trend in discounts, retail industries can derive some benefit immensely. The simple reason being the high degree of penetration in the market and the fact that brick-and-mortar stores have the potential to deliver a better shopping experience to customers. But one thing is for certain, relying on discounts and offers alone may not be able to captivate the customers’ fancy.

The truth is that big-box retailers have more skin in the game and they are the ones who stand to gain from discounts and year-long sales. Efficient distribution networks is a strength that all retailers love to leverage. However, it is the mid-sized players with limited exposure to economical and cost-effective delivery systems that will have to wade through the concepts of retail offers. It may prove to be difficult but it does not seem like an insurmountable challenge.

Social Media Marketing

Creating a social media presence is not a new challenge for brands. Over the years, businesses have gone beyond the traditional channels for getting the word out. As more and more people hop on board the social media wagon, it becomes increasingly important for brands to make their presence felt.

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Although social media has become a norm, many brands have found themselves on the fence. The reason is simply the cost of such a marketing channel. Although, word reaches out to millions of viewers, investment in gaining social media traction remains the biggest barrier for brands. They have to make a tremendous amount of commitment in order to differentiate themselves from their competitors.

But the true potential of social media is being realized in recent years. Social media platforms have been experimenting with e-commerce features in order to eliminate the need for a third-party platform for hosting merchandise. The direct-to-customer approach has yielded significant results, but nothing can match the huge potential of advertising on social media.

The idea is to build a community of loyal customers through innovative techniques. Major brands have already initiated the process of communicating with their customers through social media. This gives businesses the opportunity to reveal their vision and community goals with a wider audience. As communications become more informal, social media serves as a proving ground for brands to capture an enormous market share through sharing brand values and storytelling.

In recent years, social media platforms have contributed up to 10% of net sales. This counts as a significant number considering the number of customers engaging in online purchases. This number is bound to increase as platforms are perpetually in search of ways to make buying more convenient to the customer. Online stores, marketplace and e-catalogues have all come to replace the age-old concept of sales. Although the real impact of social media presence is known after some years of marketing, initial results are enough to encourage to look towards the internet phenomenon and tap into the burgeoning market.

Technology-Based Shopping

New innovations have led to the resurgence of technology-based shopping. AI, smart algorithms, predictive software have provided a tremendous amount of clarity as to what the customer wants.

Fashion - An Art or Science?

As more and more features come to light, technology is on track to aid the slump in retail sales. Already the back-end of major brands is supported by blockchain technology. Internet of things is another crucial component of aiding the shopping experience of customers. While systems get integrated to further streamline processes, new technology can revolutionize the brands carry out business.

Advancement in image-recognition technology appears to make a significant difference in how potential customers find products. One of the simplest innovation in developmental stages is the apparel recognizing feature. Customers can click a picture of particular apparel to find information on clothing type, retail price, nearest availability and product features. This can change the way how customers to choose to interact with a product or a brand.

While such an integrated approach provides a lot of information to customers, brand scan utilizes such insights to provide better services. Data processing takes the center stage in reaching out as many potential buyers as possible. The way forward is to look for a harmonious and mutually benefitting exchange between brands and their customers. If this leads to a mass appeal, the entire facet of online commerce will undergo a revolutionizing change that will help the end-users more than businesses.

Fashion Shows for All

While the mass appeal and global phenomena generate a huge audience, the need for creating a unique identity is gaining momentum, day by day. Fashion shows will be contributing a significant amount to the development of popular niches.

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Despite leading the innovation trend, fashion shows offer an opportunity to showcase couture and avant-garde fashion. Earlier, fashion shows were restricted to a select few including style icons, industry stalwarts and the glamour faction. As they become more popular and cater to a mass audience, brands will have to consider the leverage of such mediums. Although the trend of launching collections through fashion weeks is not common, more and more brands are opting ways to stand out from the crowd.

The glamour quotient of a fashion hasn’t gone unnoticed by businesses. What needs to be done is to increase the participation of masses in mediums restricted to a particular group. Businesses see their apparels as products that should be displayed using innovative ways and a fashion show serves the purpose. In the past, many mainstreams have utilized this opportunity to penetrate markets that were difficult to enter in the earlier stages of the business. The current need is to present everyday apparels in a new light which can then made into trends adopted through mass appeal.

Influencer Marketing

In recent times, owing to the ever-growing popularity of influencers, this marketing genre has gained some momentum. Consider any social media platform, influencers play an important role in engaging audiences and thereby disseminating trends. Not just that, but their role in creating mass appeal has started to be taken more seriously.

The most important part of influencer marketing is the content used for promotions and marketing. One will often find influencers using products to create art, provide product reviews and also using them for commercial aspects. Many influencers have launched their own line of products and seek an opportunity to collaborate with other businesses.

The reason many influencers enjoy mass following is because of their expertise in the field. Their engagement often involves creating tips and hacks with products that benefit their followers. They are considered as industry experts once they have crossed a threshold of certain parameters used to calculate their true influence.

The commercial aspect of getting an influencer onboard is tantalizing. Many brands have seen this as an opportunity to reach out to younger audiences. Many influencers have garnered enormous popularity with followers and subscribers ranging from a few hundred thousand to millions. This is not solely the product of a few viral videos or sensational content.

One of the most important qualities of influencers that attract millions of followers is their ability to engage with their audiences effectively and personally. This leads to an emotional connection between the two parties. Brands can leverage this association while promoting their products and exposure to newer markets. A large part of the customers is in the form of millennials, Gen Z and other demographics who will make a purchase decision based on product reviews carried out by trusted sources like influencers.

Fan Communities

Fashion - An Art or Science?

One of the things that are common for brands with global repute is the creation of mass fan following. The process of creating a wide customer base across nations leads to the generation of a loyal customer base who stick with the brand through thick and thin.

This is not a new concept and something that is not restricted to the fashion industry. FMCG, technology giants, lifestyle brands create such a huge phenomenon with their marketing and advertising so as to disrupt the sector. This creates a far and wide-reaching effect on customers’ buying habits. But the most important thing that leads to the formation of such communities is brand trust. Over the decades it has been seen that customers rely on a brand more and more if they place immense trust in the brand. Several factors dictate whether a brand can earn the trust of its loyal customer base.

The rules of belief in a brand remains the same. Companies enjoy massive popularity is they are able to deliver quality product followed great service and customer engagement. For the most part of a brand’s journey, create a fantastic shopping experience is at the forefront of their near and long-term objectives. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a great product that also entails great quality service?

2020 and years after that won’t be any different. If there’s going to be any change, it will be in the outlook towards the customer. There will be a noticeable increase in the aggressive manner of approaching the customer and providing them with amazing services. There are many ways to do this, but without leveraging social media features, it will be an uphill task.

One of the ways to do this is to create online communities made up of loyal customers and first-time buyers. Major fashion brands and companies do limit their appearance to being producers and suppliers of quality apparel. They want to be seen as a lifestyle brand, accompanying and assisting their customers through their journeys. And this is not restricted to fashion alone. More and more content is focused towards providing lifestyle tips, self-help hacks and advises on the overall development of the customer. Similarly, many fashion labels are not hesitating from being vocal about social and environmental issues. Some of the topics include sustainability, gender equality, human rights, systemic racism as well as LGBTQ rights. These are some of the issues that have been plaguing our modern societies for some time. As these impediments to social progress are being raised from online to the streets, it is important for brands to pitch in their views. As these issues affect the lives of everyone, companies have come out in support of such progressive transformation in our society.

That is the reason why customer trusts the brand, not just for creating amazing apparel collection, but also raising and supporting important social issues. Brands will have to pick sides and evaluate what’s important to them and their customers in the long run.

Physical Location and Designer Stores

How important is it create an incredible shopping experience? Well, it turns out that it is extremely crucial, not just for customers but also for the service providers. It’s a simple mutually beneficial system. If you create a great shopping experience for the customer, chances are he will come back and eventually become a repeat customer.

This is of special emphasis for fashion retailers. Even before the emergence of online retail, brick and mortar shops had a head start with decades of experience in customer satisfaction behind them. After e-commerce came into existence, the market share began to shrink and brands started envisioning the future of retail shopping experience.

It turns out that physical stores have had a tremendous advantage over online stores. And this advantage is what will highlight their success over the battle of the market. The experience we are talking about is the presence of a wide range and the choice of trying clothes on. The procedure where the customer is able to see the product, interact with it, try it on a couple of times, check out the entire collection while looking for options, and constitutes a major share of the shopping experience. E-commerce portals cannot leverage this experience and stand to lose the battle.

Similarly, the ambience of the store also makes a great impact on customers. Research shows that customers are like to buy apparels showcased with the help of mannequins. The study states that it becomes easier for shoppers to make a purchase decision if they can see the product’s dimensions and fitting properties. At the same time, creating a vibrant, well-lit and fun ambience can influence the mood of the buyers, encouraging them to try more products and decide to purchase the product.

Especially in the fashion industry, appropriate fitting and the discovery of quality by customers is pivoting stage in the buyer’s journey. Since online retailers have resorted to offers and discounts to lure the customers towards digital shopping, physical stores have to leverage their strength of creating an excellent shopping experience.

More than offers and discounts, buying experience and customers’ perception will define the future course of many businesses. This has been the age-old formula to build a better relationship with potential and existing customers, and this trend will continue to draw foot traffic in retail stores. One of the things that are common for brands with global repute is the creation of mass fan following. The process of creating a wide customer base across nations leads to the generation of a loyal customer base who stick with the brand through thick and thin.

This is not a new concept and something that is not restricted to the fashion industry. FMCG, technology giants, lifestyle brands create such a huge phenomenon with their marketing and advertising so as to disrupt the sector. This creates a far and wide-reaching effect on customers’ buying habits. But the most important thing that leads to the formation of such communities is brand trust. Over the decades it has been seen that customers rely on a brand more and more if they place immense trust in the brand. Several factors dictate whether a brand can earn the trust of its loyal customer base.

The rules of belief in a brand remains the same. Companies enjoy massive popularity is they are able to deliver quality product followed great service and customer engagement. For the most part of a brand’s journey, create a fantastic shopping experience is at the forefront of their near and long-term objectives. After all, who doesn’t appreciate a great product that also entails great quality service?

2020 and years after that won’t be any different. If there’s going to be any change, it will be in the outlook towards the customer. There will be a noticeable increase in the aggressive manner of approaching the customer and providing them with amazing services. There are many ways to do this, but without leveraging social media features, it will be an uphill task.

One of the ways to do this is to create online communities made up of loyal customers and first-time buyers. Major fashion brands and companies do limit their appearance to being producers and suppliers of quality apparel. They want to be seen as a lifestyle brand, accompanying and assisting their customers through their journeys. And this is not restricted to fashion alone. More and more content is focused towards providing lifestyle tips, self-help hacks and advises on the overall development of the customer. Similarly, many fashion labels are not hesitating from being vocal about social and environmental issues. Some of the topics include sustainability, gender equality, human rights, systemic racism as well as LGBTQ rights. These are some of the issues that have been plaguing our modern societies for some time. As these impediments to social progress are being raised from online to the streets, it is important for brands to pitch in their views. As these issues affect the lives of everyone, companies have come out in support of such progressive transformation in our society.

That is the reason why customer trusts the brand, not just for creating amazing apparel collection, but also raising and supporting important social issues. Brands will have to pick sides and evaluate what’s important to them and their customers in the long run.

Eco-Conscious and Sustainability

Fashion - An Art or Science?

The world is going through extraordinary changes. Environmental changes are occurring at unprecedented rates. Year after year, we see signs of the damage inflicted upon nature and things will only go from bad to worse. Disappearing habitats, ocean acidifications, rising numbers of hurricanes and floods, a steady increase in average temperature have become prominent indicators of deteriorating environmental conditions.

Considering the fact that global economics have a direct impact on nature, more and more companies are becoming eco-conscious. This is because the onus of repairing the damages done to the environment resides on each and every person living on earth. Major brands have the resources and man-power to create changes on a global scale. But these efforts have to be construed from the solid core and foundation of a company and need to be incorporated in the core values of a brand.

Retail brands often outsource a number of production steps to countries with cost-effective means of production and great amounts of cheap labour. It is usually the third-world countries that set up huge factories and production units. While brands get more and more efficient in cutting costs and bringing down the cost of production, the effects on the environment are often ignored. It does not come as a surprise that the apparel industry ends up utilizing a vast amount of natural resources in the process of producing clothes. Great quantities of water and electricity are being used at the manufacturing unit. Similarly, a lot of waste is generated, and countries with relaxed waste disposal norms often get away with untreated discharge and environmental pollution.

To counter these disasters, brands have come up with innovative ways. The goal here is to create a sustainable environment, for the brand, for its customers and for the entire world. From rainwater harvesting, planting trees, minimizing energy consumption to looking towards alternative and clean energy, brands endeavour to have a positive impact on the current environmental scenario.

One of the most important changes made by the fashion industry is the use of recycled materials for making apparels. Before this became a necessity, many designers have used discarded waste in their products. Be it creativity or a passion for saving the environment, artists have considered the consequences of creating art and its impact on nature. Several retail giants have turned their attention to a more sustainable model of production where their moves directly affect the preservation of natural resources.

Pre-owned Clothing Concept

The world has seen a considerable shift in the past few decades. If one looks closer, there’s a sizeable shift in the consuming pattern so characteristic of the consumer economy. There’s one segment of society at the forefront in bringing about a shift of perspective. These are the Millenials.

Millennials make up almost 30% of the world population with an increasing contribution towards the economy. A considerable mark-up is seen in their spending power, contribution to the economy, job creation, and disrupting the traditional ways of doing commerce. At the same time, no other segment is more concerned about the wasteful practices of the previous generations. It is absolutely true that millennials have become more aware of the downside of economic growth, the impact on the environment, and in turn, the effect on millions of lives. One of the important issues Millenials are trying to tackle is the illimitable waste generation and misuse of precious resources.

More and more young people are leaning towards the concept of pre-owned apparels. According to a survey carried out in 2008, almost 80% of Kenya’s population own used clothes. The trend is similar for most sub-Saharan countries, the Middle-east nations, as well as a huge chunk of Asian countries. As the effects of pollution and waste on the environment become more prominent, the idea of investing in used clothing seems more and more lucrative. It has been seen that pre-owned apparel market has shown a steady compound annual growth rate of almost 11% over the years. This comes as an immense boost to the growing market and set to overshadow the retail market over the coming few decades.

Embracing the Online Phenomenon

Fashion - An Art or Science?

If you consider the history of retail business, nothing really has changed in the way brands do business. There is a store which serves as the contact point with the customers who browse through products and make a purchase decision. The store, in turn, provides customer service which helps in generating repeat orders and customers, thereby, maintaining long term relationship. The distributor identifies different points of delivery which can further add to the sale of products. They act as a seminal link in the chain of manufacturing and selling, easing the transaction with their wide distribution network. Finally, you have the manufacturers who convert raw materials into finished products that are then supplied to markets worldwide.

There are numerous other steps involved in delivering the product to the customer. But one of the most important stages in any business is educating the customer. The broader meaning of this is to create awareness among customers. After all, if people don’t know about the brand, the product and services it offers, it is impossible to run a business.

Customer awareness is the key ingredient for any successful business. For over a hundred years, this has been achieved through marketing. Marketing aims at capturing the attention of audiences and convert them into repeat customers. Although the traditional routes of marketing have undergone a tremendous transformation, one thing remains unchanged: to present the product and its features to audiences in the most compelling way. This is easier said than done, but if one manages to execute it perfectly, he has the market share.

Every product and services require marketing to reach a wider audience. You could set up shop anywhere in the world, but how do you get customers, again and again, to check out the items? It turns out that marketers figured out an easy way to reach out. Traditional media played an important role in the initial days of hyper marketing. As newspapers, gazettes, periodicals and magazine were immensely popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, these were initial points of contact with the customers. Print media has an immense following, especially in the urban areas, where people had a higher standard of living, most people were educated, and read print media. At the time, this was the only game in town. Marketers saw this as a golden opportunity to get their message across to thousands of people instantly. Just like today, newspapers back then ran commercials which formed an important part of the revenue system. Bold and trendy type fonts, black and white imagery and compelling copy create a major influence on the consumer society a century ago. Print media was extremely reliable as anything printed existed perpetually in theory. Also, it had the greatest impact on people as it was an important method for conveying facts. More important than selling was the concept of creating loyal customers who trusted the brand.

The important thing to realize is that you put a word around where there are likely more listeners. In other words, you have to market your product and services where the audiences are. It is a very basic common sense. Even if you have the best product in the world, nobody is going to buy if you set up shop in the Sahara. For any business, especially for the retail industry, all the matters is foot traffic. And in order to even begin with attracting foot traffic, you have to employ the methods of marketing.

With the invention of the radio, the information could be disseminated in the form of audio. All newspapers and other print media formats were still dominant, the radio started gathering an audience of its own. Before long, a large part of the consumer society, especially in European nations and the USA, got hooked to the new form of entertainment. There would be programmes, news bulletin, advertisement, entertainment shows, and even children’s stories that were packaged according to the new format and presented to the audiences. Businesses soon saw the growing potential of such a powerful and informative medium. All efforts were directed to get on top of the new technology which catered to millions of people worldwide.

Then came a revolutionary change in the field of technology. It was probably the most innovative concept ever conceived by man. But it wasn’t something that occurred to innovators instantly. It would take almost half a century to realize its true potential.

Before the television was even conceived of, the world had made great strides in the field of photography. From using silver compounds and mercury lamps for sepia and fuzzy etchings to producing the black and white picture, printed on paper with crisp outlines and enough lighting, the traditional camera has come a long way. Through the early days of the 20th century, the photo camera became, from toys for the rich to a gadget popular with the masses. Many households started using it for the first time where they understood the utility of this technology

Soon after, for the first time, it was realized that static pictures could be stitched in series and converted into moving pictures. Thus, the motion pictures were born and the world would never be the same. Video recording reached its peak when production houses started making movies. These were the times of silent movies which reached its zenith around the time of famous movie stars like Charlie Chaplin.

These served as important mediums of advertising. Innovators also found a way to record audio which could be embedded with the video, giving it a completely new life-like feel. Audiences for the first time could watch and here the pictures. These created a mass movement in films and let to the creation of the film industry across the world. The development of the broadcasting system went parallel to the evolution of cinema and this completed the mass media movement that gripped the 20th century.

It proved to be the most powerful medium of conveying information. From live presidential debates to the moon landing in real-time, it all happened on the television. There have been morning shows, late-night guest shows, teleshopping commercials, kids’ programmes, advertisement commercials; almost everything you can think off has been done on the television. By the 80s and 90s, more than 1 billion viewers watched television on a daily basis. These statistics proved immensely useful for advertisers who wanted to reach out to millions of audiences simultaneously. This became possible with the technology and how people all over the world embraced the changing lifestyle.

But just when you thought that this was the end-all and be-all of marketing and advertising, you can’t be more wrong.

Internet and its Conquest

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Then came the age of the internet. Without too much fanfare, surreptitiously creeping through and making a mark of itself as a mass medium. The start was sluggish as not a lot of people were initially aware of its ability as an entertainment network.

In the initial few years, it was hailed as a comprehensive web, connecting people across the globe. The main function of the web was limited to sharing information, messages and, probably, wireless dissemination of services from one part of the world to the other. One of the earliest sectors which realized the importance of the internet was the e-commerce industry. Before the rise of content streaming channels, prior to the concept of social networking platforms, it was e-commerce that capitalized the inter-connected world.

One of the main reasons for e-commerce’s success was that they didn’t have to ‘invite’ their customers. The customers came looking for them. Early versions of e-commerce were catered to providing commodities to people who searched for online stores in hope of finding products that were not available in a traditional brick and mortar store. Anyone who had access to the internet would put up items for sale and anyone willing to pay the price.

Selling products online was a much better deal for millions of individuals. One wouldn’t have to worry about licenses, establishing a store, humungous cash investment in maintaining stores, products and employees. For some, this was the ultimate contact point with the customers. It wasn’t just one-off selling point. If you had a legit business, customers would often revisit your page to discover what other products were for sale.

Although e-commerce flourished, there’s one missing piece that made the internet what it is today. It is the concept of social networking. Even before social networking was completely conceptualized, there existed different shades of online communities which enjoyed mass popularity. Several internet companies had their versions of social communities in the form of instant messengers and chat room communities with a very limited exchange.

With the enhancement in internet speed, the world moved from dial-up internet connection to fast-paced broadband connectivity. With increased speeds, many entrepreneurs envisioned a platform where users could exchange multimedia files; images, videos, songs, movies etc.

But beyond all these, the main focus was to create a community of followers who would share their experiences, events that took place in their lives and upload them for appreciation by friends and families. Soon the trend caught up in the western countries, and the world would never be the same after that.

The world saw different versions of online platforms and web communities that were more than just prototypes. Some of the social media platforms gained immense popularity, not just in the western hemisphere, but also amongst the vast population of Asia. Over the years, social media gained enough momentum to change the course of world history forever. People were not just browsing the internet for information anymore. These platforms had everything from life advice, to online stores, to pure entertainment.

The rise of the e-commerce business is incomplete without the advances made in online communities and social media. The reason being that although online stores formed a definitive point of contact between the customer and product or a brand, it was social media where the news spread like wildfire. Things would become ‘trendy’ first and later there would be a demand for these products. Not just the common user, celebrities and mega-brands jumped the brand wagon considering the rise in social media users. There was a very simple strategy involved.

It is said that when the customer doesn’t come to you, you have to go after them.

Let’s face it, the rise of online commerce and social media, with their enormous discounts and offers, has caused netizens to ditch the traditional shopping experience. It is not a stark conversion of physical store customers to online shoppers. But the number is on the rise as more and more people have access to fast internet to consume multimedia and shop occasionally.

The truth that if have to go after the customer, you have to traverse the internet superhighway. ‘Foot-traffic’ has achieved new levels with the internet and social media. It is an undeniable fact that a lot of customers, and this is true for the newer generation, can be found online. Online services have pervaded every sphere of their lives.

Consider the shopping experience. Gone are the days where online commerce was online restricted to auction items. Nowadays, you get everything online, from power drills to plush toys; from vegetables to cuisines and great food; from home décor to fashion; the internet has everything. Millions of sellers have adjusted their business model keeping in mind the changing behaviour of their customers. And it pays to stay ahead of the curve, with the right insight into changing trends.

The same is true for the apparel industry. More and more brands are seizing the opportunity to sell online. Earlier a brick and mortar store could entertain hundreds of buyers, from nearby neighbourhood and locality, with their numerous SKUs. The internet opens their stores to millions of customers and anyone with a decent internet can browse through the catalogue from any corner of the world. Who wouldn’t want to get attention from people accessing their stores from the four corners of the world?

The important thing to consider is that your audience is out there on social media platforms. Almost all youngsters these days develop a sense of trend and cool from social media. A lot of people have made their careers on the internet, started their own business, creating an empire through interaction with billions of people from the world, simultaneously. Needless to say, when your customers spend an incredible amount of time online, as a business, so should you.

So how can brands with huge offline presence leverage the global connectivity of the internet? Should one completely rely on the internet for achieving growth and forego real-world exchange? That is not necessary.

Social Media can be seen as an accelerant to your growth. Assuming that you have enough organic growth through your products and services, social media marketing can further enhance your popularity amongst the masses. And this is true for young audiences that spend a considerable amount of time on social media platforms. Similarly, there is a great opportunity to create awareness amongst netizens through marketing on e-commerce platforms. As more and more traffic is diverted to online shopping, here’s a chance to get noticed through an online advertisement.

Top 2020 Fashion Trends for Men

There’s one mantra that is prevalent in the fashion industry, ‘Change is the only constant’. This is not a new paradigm in the fashion world. All of us need to revamp our styling once in a while. Our styling preferences our different when we are in college, when we start working, and during the majority of our adult life. With so many options to choose from, it can prove to be difficult choosing the best attires. An important thing to consider is that no matter what our fashion choices may be, it is crucial to see style as a form of self-expression.

Whatever outfit you think is best for you, it should reflect your true personality. Fashion goes beyond wearing apparels to look ‘good’. The goal is to carefully select attires that embody a display of your attitude. It has to strongly resonate with who you are and what you believe in. Comfort is paramount while choosing the best outfit for yourself. Fancy apparel will be of no use if it makes you fidgety and uncomfortable. You have to bring out the inner charisma through the language of fashion. And there are ways in which you can do that. In the following section, we talk about some of the important pieces of the fashion puzzle that will help achieve your desired look. Let’s go over them one by one.

Best Trends in Accessories for Men

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Accessories and Men? Probably, not many of you may join the two terms together. Rarely would you use the two words in the same sentence. Chances are that you have not given accessories a serious thought. Whatever be your opinion on accessories, they look great, and they are not just for the ladies. Men can sport accessories that make them look smart and edgy.

The important thing is to achieve the right balance when it comes to accessories. By accessories, we mean all the additional parts of menswear and not just jewellery. Accessorizing is an important step for men as it makes up an additional frontier in dressing smart, formal or casual. Besides choosing the right apparel, one should definitely put one’s imagination to work while creating a fashion profile, making accessories a crucial element in everyday styling. The best part about them is that they stand out from the usual great shirts and trousers. Accessories become a focal point in one’s outfit, drawing positive attention towards them.

So without too much delay, let us dive into the world of fashion accessories that can complete your look.

Footwear

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Let’s start with the most common functional accessories that we can’t live without. Footwear remains one of the most favourite accessories for men. It will unfair to call footwear as accessories as they are more of a necessity. But let’s leave the functional aspect aside and delve into the styling element of footwear.

They come in a variety of types, shapes and configurations. From easy casual slip-on to formal patented leather shoes, there are several kinds of footwear designed for particular occasions. The best part is that you have an option for any kind of situation. Shoes for vacation, everyday office, party evenings and date night. One thing is for certain; shoes can bring about a major change to your overall look. It is definitely worth investing in good pairs of shoes. Chances are you will need more than a couple of pairs if you want a complete look for all occasions.

Belts

Belts are an absolute no-brainer, not just because they hold a pair of great trousers but the way they look on a person. Belts truly tie the whole ensemble of attire with their proven use in fashion and function. A great belt can make a world of a difference to your entire look.

You have several kinds of belts for different occasions. A formal or professional attire demands monotone colours made of great quality leather. A simple black leather belt ties the entire outfit together. Although black is a dominant colour, you don’t have to be restricted to just one option. You may opt for brown, tan, rust or even some pastel coloured versions of the simple leather belt. Similarly, your options are not limited only to leather. Your options can have a designated role for your parties, family events, or workplaces.

Fashion - An Art or Science?

Belts