“The future is in the past,” cries Mabel Pines of Gravity Falls, riding a muscular-armed dolphin during a hallucination sequence. There is an irony in our latest clothing trends—cold shoulders, stripes, flare jeans—being nostalgic and retro even as we demand that they be accessible to us online. Millennials and Gen Z are digital natives, and many online brands that have emerged in the late 2000s owe their growth to them. Business has become something easier to grasp for many, and has rendered many shop keepers independent even without setting physical shop.
In Econsultancy’s article, “How Fashion Brands are Setting Trends in Digital,” online fashion grew by a hundredfold—around 185%—between 2007 and 2012. Sales are predicted to rise by 41% by 2017. A huge factor, according to the article, is the personalization that comes with your own business. Designers and owners control how they brand themselves, how they present their clothing, and the way they reach their consumers, as compared to a physical store where a rebrand requires a costly, time-consuming overhaul. Online, a single click can change identity. In the same article, Econsultancy notes that personalizing content has also been shown to generate a 7.8% increase in monetary conversions.
With an online space, there are so many possibilities for publicity, and any content is almost never wasted. Lookbooks that would be costly to print and distribute are posted as albums on the brand’s Facebook page, fashion films auto play on everyone’s feed. Consumers need not look far to research their favorite brands. Keeping in touch is a breeze thanks to comments and direct messages; coupons and discounts are delivered by text or e-mail, much like how ZALORA or Lazada throw out constant sales. What these growing brands need most is to be seen and heard. This is where digital natives take action; and what better way to get their attention than by fuelling their nostalgia?
“Only 90s kids can relate” is on the feed of almost every millennial. Yet Gen Z also came of age during technology’s wonder years, and this is where the tables are set to turn: Gen Z are the newest trendsetters and they declare that dated fashion is in. This is evident in many of our local online brands’ newest collections.