Social Commerce impacting the Fashion Production industry

For many years trends were dictated by fashion editors and designers who decided what would be popular for the season. Those initial choices were latched on to by publications like fashion magazines and assistants who drove the market through celebrity purchasing. A right word in the right ear could start a whole new style or turn an old one into the latest faux pas. Some of those trends were enduring, but many were not (remember shoulder pads?).

But that is quickly changing. Our world has become more socially based, with the Internet opening up a whole new world for building revenue through direct customer interaction. Rather than telling people what they want, fashion designers and production companies are now listening to what they are wishing for. Contests are held, polls created and comments read on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This is forging a balance between the consumer and the provider that has never existed before.

This is an opportunity that is being quickly taken up by smaller fashion producers to take advantage of customer interaction. They compete with the big names by giving even more power to the buyer. Those buyers are even helping to recommend designs for new products.

Seeing the way this has reduced product waste has been incredible. Instead of taking a chance, production companies can now go directly to the consumer to get an idea of demand before taking the next step. This also drives profit, eliminates overspending and makes the customer much happier.

How can this benefit you?

Consumer Benefit

Become a part of the process. This is a new age for the fashion industry, one where you have a voice that will be genuinely heard. You can give your ideas for what you would like to see, and there is always a chance it will be used for a product in the future. In fast, many fashion designers and producers are looking for your feedback.

If you look on many different Facebook or Twitter pages, as well as official blogs, you will probably see posts that ask for your opinion. There are often contests held that give you the final say in what will be produced. Some will even ask for your self-made designs, the winner of which will become an official line.

What is especially incredible about this is that it is exposing fresh talent in an industry always eager to cut through the fads and find genuine, long lasting trends and the people who can create them. You can express yourself and end up breaking your way into the business.

For those who want to stay firmly on the shopping end of the game, you can help to push for products you would like to buy.

For the Designer

Guess what? You can actually create your own designs completely. They may not become a huge line, but they will give you exactly what you want and how you want it. Some good examples of companies that give you this chance are Blank Label and Gemvara. Both of these allow you a full customized wardrobe by using an app to select fabric, patterns, colors and smaller details. This gives you a one-of-a-kind piece that will be just what you want.

Other sites like Threadless or DesignByHumans allows you to submit your own t-shirt designs. Some of these will be bought by the site and turned into t-shirts, which is cool for anyone who wants their ideas out there. They pay a decent amount for the ideas, as well. There are many sites like this out there.

Consumer Design, is it Brilliant Or A Bust?

Crowdsourcing has its naysayers. In the fashion world, many believe that rather than engaging consumers into the process of creating what they want themselves, it is violating the integrity of brands and the design process as a whole. There are some accusations that it is a way of cutting corners and saving money, while reducing the artistic energy that goes into traditional design formats.

While this could certainly be argued, it could also be said that it is expanding the opportunity of fashion design to include others who have a passion for it. While high fashion will always have its place as an isolated and elitist branch of clothing and accessory production, more widespread fashion can only be improved by fresh ideas.

Besides, it is only engaging buyers, not employing them. In the end, designers and fashion prodction companies still have the final say. They will just have a wider selection of targeted feedback to base their decisions on.

Annie is a social media strategist for Savings Account Finder, the free tool allowing to compare term deposit online. Follow our money-saving advice on Twitter at @savingaccountau

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