Last week MA Fashion Retail Management students attended the Flux Retail Technology Event showcasing technological advancements and innovations in the retail environment. Flux is “an innovation lounge and a space for ideas. It allows brands and agencies to explore the potential of emerging technologies through hands-on interaction.”
We were first shown an extraordinary 3D printed jacket, which one of our students tried on. It was created from a specific type of black plastic and took over 2 days to create in the printer. Like other jackets it had a specific design (this was somewhat futuristic- almost replicating those of the recent Alexander Wang Scuba Diving jackets). It was easy to understand the benefits of this technology, for example the time saving and cost for design labour. This sort of innovation is something that we as retail students need to be aware of and understand more as the retail environment adapts and evolves to encompass increasing technological skills.
Walking around the event I was impressed by the innovation of Sephora’s beauty range and Adidas and Nike. These technologies were created for digital in-store shopping to become easier, quicker and altogether seamless. Sephora’s use of technology meant that customers could choose a product in store, place it on a plinth-like surface and the screen showed prices, details and information on the product- therefore saving time and money for customers both in store and online. It connects the in-store service to online service creating a seamless approach on all platforms.
Nike and Adidas were similar in their technologies, but used their shoe products combined with technology to show sizes, locations, colours as well as designs and prices. Again this created a seamless approach to in-store shopping which reflected the ease and speed that online shopping encompasses for consumers. Both methods bridged the gap that many retailers struggle with – between online and in-store.
This event showed us as students who are entering into a futuristic, technology-driven retail environment the possibilities and innovations that will more than likely be a huge part of the fashion and retail world in years to come. Speaking to designers who incorporate technology, as well as innovators discussing store design there was really a feel that all parties were working towards creating a seamless world for consumers to shop in.
Lucy Tayler, MA Fashion Retail Management 2015-16