As the global fashion industry is
continuously changing tremendously, companies need to be updated and correspond
quickly to new demands of the market. While many experts already pointing out
the “death of retail” as we know it, companies are enhancing their online
presence by getting more digitized than ever. In this new digital era fashion
marketing tries to jump on trends immediately, developing innovative
direct-to-consumer trends that will contribute on international business growth
long term. Unlike older generations who grew up used to physical stores,
millenials and generation Z consumers seek for an entire new, digital and more
personalized shopping experience. Forward-thinking retailers and brands are
aware of this and are developing marketing strategies focused on mobile, taking
advantage of new technologies.

One major trend that is observed
lately in the fashion industry is the increasing usage of augmented reality,
which is set to completely change the fashion and retail industry. While this
cutting-edge technology is not new or emerging, it has not been until recently
that brands started to incorporate it into their businesses. From virtual
dressing rooms and virtual fitting to lifesize catwalks in your room, many
brands are teaming up with tech companies to launch innovative applications
that will boost their popularity and growth. The utility of augmented reality,
as long as the real time live actions that provides in 3D, makes it quite
tempting to every smartphone user. So, the importance of this technology to the
global fashion industry is more than high, considering that almost 900 million
smartphones will be augmented reality-enabled by the end of 2018, according to
the latest report of Digi-Capital. In words of retail and marketing, this means
that augmented reality allows both brands and designers to engage with their
customers in many different and unique ways.

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However, the fast-moving nature of
fashion continues to generate the pressure of competition and authenticity on
brands – which is why many of them fail to adapt to new technologies. It is a
significant challenge that many brands should overcome, by testing the new
trends while staying true on being authentic. With this in mind, retailers and
brands that interpreted augmented reality features are currently experiencing a
noteworthy growth, which makes many people believe that is going to be
seriously influential over the next years.

But how do brands approached
augmented reality? A couple of great examples are the cases of Gap’s “Dressing
Room” and the collaboration between HoloMe and RIXO London. Approximately a
year ago, the American retailer Gap introduced the “Dressing Room” on Google
Play store, which is an application that helps shoppers try on clothes from the
comfort of their home. The user is asked to provide some mandatory information,
such as height and weight, so as to create an identical virtual 3D avatar that
will do the fitting for him/her. If he/she likes the way an item look on the
avatar, he/she can purchase it right away directly through the app.  While there are many more improvements to be
done, online users responded enthusiastically to this idea with many of them
pointed out that how smart and innovative it is such a shopping experience. Far
from a virtual dressing room, the British fashion brand RIXO London
collaborated with the augmented reality start-up HoloMe a few months ago, to
create a holographic version of a catwalk show. In other words this means that
users can take a look at the latest collection of the designer in a lifesize
catwalk show from the comfort of their room. Whereas this project is in a very
primary stage, it is undeniable that is about a revolutionary idea that will
influence the global fashion industry long term significantly as much as the shoppable
content on the internet.

Shoppable content is an emerging
fashion marketing trend that many brands and e-retailers are already using to
provide a more creative and unique shopping experience. Gone are the days that
simple visual content, like magazines’ editorials, was enough to capture
people’s attention and transform them into customers. Due to the abundance of
branded content on press and lately, on the internet, people need something to
be inspired, informed and entertained, all at once. Needless to say, that it is
crucial for brands to build a stronger relationship with their customers based
on storytelling rather than traditional techniques. As Facebook, Instagram and
Youtube developing their click-and-shop features though videos and images, brands
start to use more user-generated content (UGC) on social media increasing the
interaction with viewers. In other words, shoppable content is paving the way
for a distinctive shopping experience, providing a direct purchasing
opportunity right via a digital editorial, social media post and/or a video.

Luxury e-tailer Net-A-Porter was
the first one to introduce shoppable content in the e-commerce industry. In
2013 it launched two digital magazines, “The Edit” and “The Journal”, offering a
fresh and eclectic insight from the industry, that looked like typical editorials
except that all fashion pieces could directly purchased with a click. By now,
Net-A-Porter it is said that has revolutionized the global fashion retail with
this new feature that attracted millions of unique users from all over the
world. Another significant, yet different, example is the case of American
brand “Kate Spade” that is using content marketing in vary creative ways.