“The future is not that far away if you look in the right places,” said Virgil Abloh. But to see it, you need to have the right lenses with you. In this article, altavia.disko presents and explains the most useful ones to understand how fashion can and will intercept the new generations of consumers
In collaboration with Altavia
Within a few years, the largest market share in the fashion world will be represented by young people from Generation Z and Millennials. The big brands will have to learn a new language and choose the best channels to communicate with those who have grown up in the digital age and are used to the immediate availability of all information and a continuous encounter of physical and digital stimuli. How can they do this? Here are five possible answers.
Number 1 > Giving meaning to your activity
In other words: dedicating your identity to a higher purpose. As Virgil Abloh, the brilliant art director who recently passed away, said, “Like it or not, irrelevance is death.” In a hyper-connected world, where every message is instantaneous and its feedback immediate, expressing one’s identity can no longer be limited to proposing a new product. The new generations are more demanding and informed: they demand to share values with brands and do not condone a perception of utilitarian profit-seeking. Participation in a higher purpose thus becomes fundamental to creating a fulfilling and profitable relationship. For this reason, its communication requires consistent behaviour, immediately visible to its community and participating in the evolution of society.
Number 2 > First of all, think about the experience
In such a fast-paced world, coherence in omnichannel communication is not enough to keep attention: everything becomes an opportunity for storytelling. It is increasingly necessary to capture the interest of new consumers with immersive, meaningful, rewarding and engaging experiences. Fashion brands are stepping out of their comfort zones to explore new worlds and offer their customers real emotions that are increasingly hybrid and transversal. This is why it is becoming increasingly common, for example, for fashion to meet excellence in food and beverage, music, design and entertainment. The physical shop must also evolve, becoming a phygital destination point, capable of transmitting the true essence of the brand to the customer. And offer visitors a pleasant and educational moment of which the purchase is only one of the many activities to be carried out.
Number 3 > Expressing and including fashion in search of diversity
Fashion evolution follows that of our society and determines it. For a young person, freely expressing their identity often means being able to break out of the mould and explore increasingly open and fluid relationships. If until a few years ago fashion aimed at proposing status symbols and standardised models, today it is our individuality that is valued with bold choices, going beyond traditional aesthetic canons and generating an idea of exalting the diversity that makes each person unique. This inclusive capacity is a “must-have” for those who want to speak – and above all be heard – by the new generations.
Number 4 > You live the brand you don’t own it
The use of an asset is no longer a concept linked to ownership alone. Choosing temporary forms of ownership has often become the smartest solution for getting around the city, going on holiday or testing a product before buying it. Even in an area as personal and identity-driven as fashion, its temporary nature is encouraging an increasing interest in new forms of very short-term rental. Limiting the moment of possession of a good to the period of its use has also led to a rediscovery of the second hand with obvious benefits in terms of sustainability. Allowing products to have a “second life” is rewarded by the new generations, who are more critical and attentive to the environmental impact of their choices. A further cue in this direction of new forms of consumption of immaterial identity is the NFT horizon.
Number 5 > New technology and virtual experiences: the future is today
We recently reported on the infinite number of scenarios that the advent of the Metaverse could open up and the possibilities that arise from collaborations with the best technological realities. These include gamification, understood as a playful relationship in the virtual world between customer and brand, which represents an important channel for involving the generations of digital natives. Already today there are more and more collaborations between big brands and videogame giants: technological progress will offer endless new possibilities of interaction. The future of the relationship between people and brands will be more and more hybrid, and today’s purely virtual spaces will be filled with possibilities for in-person interactions, while physical spaces will open up with technology those new immersive experiences that young people today cannot – and do not want to – give up.
Let us close with a warning that is only banal. At a time of sudden change, it is important to look in the right direction and to look around to see the changes and new sensibilities. As Abloh said, “in fashion, there is this constant desire to know what will happen in the future. But it’s not so mysterious. It already exists, and it’s what happens outside the fashion world. Sometimes fashion forgets about it and puts itself on a pedestal. But times change, and the future is not that far away if you look in the right places.”
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