Four key trends that fashion brands should tap into

Looking to make a name for your fashion brand in a crowded, competitive market? Here are four key trends you need to tap into.

The fashion landscape is full of fast-paced change, and branding is undoubtedly part of this. With online shopping quickly becoming the norm; sustainable design now representing a major priority for many brands; and constantly innovating technologies; there is so much to take into account when making branding decisions. 

Using Mintel’s key trends in fashion retailing, we have investigated which key trends fashion brands should tap into. 

1) Give your store a personality

Following the pandemic, when shopping habits undoubtedly shifted online, there is a legacy of online shopping behavior that in-store shopping still must contend with.

In-store retailers are having to work hard to encourage their customers to come and shop in person – and when they’re in the store, encourage them to purchase! The key to transforming your customer experience might be just that – transforming your customer experience.

Increasingly, retailers are using their stores as flagship locations to represent their brand identity, rather than simply somewhere customers may go to purchase. An example of this is the new Covent Garden Uniqlo store, which houses a Japanese tearoom, a florist, and a t-shirt design experience in addition to their signature products.

Brands may take inspiration from Uniqlo here – they have elevated the in-person retail experience with elements above and beyond the shopping experience. 

Adding a personal touch to the shopping experience has become even more valuable in the cost-of-living crisis. With rising costs across the board, luxury brands need to work a little bit harder to persuade potential customers to make their purchases.

Upping that feel-good factor is a great way to build a relationship with customers and transform the shopping experience into a cost-effective treat. More and more brands are choosing to invest more in the in-store experience – with refreshments available, high-end décor, and a curated design. 

2) Make in-store shopping easier

Technology isn’t always the answer – or is it?

Innovative technologies can be extremely valuable in aiding retailers to make the shopping experience more streamlined and simpler for customers. If customers have grown to prefer online shopping because it is easy and reliable, then technology should be used to replicate this ease and reliability in the store setting. 

Many retailers have begun to integrate self-checkouts into their stores in the last couple of years, which reduces the risk of queuing. The Zara store in the newly opened Battersea Power Station mall even offers customers the ability to pre-book fitting rooms and to instantly return pre-reserved items using the app. These kinds of technological trends can help brands to succeed and stand out from the crowd in the face of extreme competition. 

Easing the shopping experience with integrated technologies can go a long way to encouraging brand loyalty, too. In a crowded market, and especially when competing with online retailers, an easy shopping experience makes all the difference, and innovation can help you get there.

3) Lean into sustainability

Within fashion retail and beyond, sustainability has become the key trend to hop on board. Whether brands are leaning into sustainability cynically to follow consumers, or genuinely morally; there is no doubt that sustainable branding, packaging, production, and action has become important to customers. 

Beyond brands seeking to refresh their reputation as eco-friendly, the fashion industry has started to lean more towards sustainability. The resale market has been significantly boosted in the last few years, with Vinted and Depop now being popular fashion platforms.

Fashion retailers in 2023 need to successfully compete with not only other retailers, but pre-loved platforms too. In this landscape of eco-friendly fashion, fashion retailers selling brand new garments need to really consider their environmental impact. An example of this is the Levi’s Haus store in London, where you can find classic Levi’s denim clothing made exclusively from deadstock. By offering the same service, more sustainably, Levi’s are reaching a new market.

One way that major retailers are doing this is by offering alterations and repairs as part of their garment lifecycle. Some Levi’s stores offer tailoring, hemming, alterations, and repairs to empower their customers to extend the lifespan of their jeans and to make them their own.

Instead of encouraging your customers to throw out old garments that are no longer on trend, encouraging them to purchase consciously and invest in timeless pieces that can be altered and adapted for a longer lifespan is a more sustainable branding focus.

4) But go beyond the eco branding

Branding is a crucial way to get your brand identity across, but sustainability has become such a core tenet of so many major retailers that traditional ‘eco’ branding (like shades of green, natural motifs) is an oversaturated image in itself.

The phenomenon known as ‘greenwashing’ refers to brands marketing themselves as eco-friendly when their practices are not so, and savvy consumers are quick to notice this and call it out. So, savvy brands should be reluctant to fall into this trap.

Photo by Korie Cull