The Trends That Will Define Fashion In 2018

The Trends That Will Define Fashion In 2018

According to the BoF and McKinsey & Company‘s The State of Fashion 2018 report, these are the trends (in no particular order) that will define fashion this year:

Platforms first

This is probably something you might find yourself already doing, but consumers are increasingly looking to online platforms as their first point of search for products.

Not only is it totally convenient but it also gives you the opportunity to seek out better possible offers.

And according to the report:

“Whether mass, specialist or premium, platforms will continue to grow in scale and reach compelling fashion brands to find ways of engaging more with these powerful sales channels.”

So the question here isn’t whether or not if brands will collaborate with online platforms, but “how” they plan to collaborate.

The mobile addiction

It’s probably safe to say that majority of consumers may have developed an addiction to their cellphones.

With that, as the craze or addition to mobile devices grow, so does the need for creating a seamless mobile transaction experience.

BoF says:

“With an overabundance of mobile payment solutions already available globally, consumers will expect fashion companies to cater for increasingly convenient mobile transactions.”

Predictably unpredictable

With the new norm around geopolitical turmoil, economic uncertainty and unpredictability in general, fashion companies will need to play close attention and hold the ability to adapt to an ever-changing environment.

Globalization isn’t going anywhere

Even with the increase in nationalism, isolationist rhetoric and a strong attempt in bringing manufacturing and services back to the U.S. from overseas, this isn’t putting globalization to an end by any means.

BoF says you can expect:

“A new phase of globalization characterized by the exponential growth of cross-border bandwidth, connectivity and digital data flows will alter the global playing field and give certain players a competitive edge.”

Asian trailblazers

Asia currently holds more than half of global online retail sales and an imaginable number of digital and tech innovations, with that, BoF is positive that Asia will use their power and leadership even more to pioneer innovations and global-scale investment and expansion.

Getting personal

This is currently a growing trend, with that, you can expect personalization and curation to be even more important to the customer in 2018.

With a consumers growing desire around authenticity and individuality, brands will look to data to be able to provide consumers with more tailored recommendations.

Detailed data around the consumer will become even more valuable to brands in 2018, especially when looking to collaborate with influencers (choosing the proper influencer), as well as creating more personalized experiences.

AI is joining the show

With a major focus in AI, leading innovators will reveal all the possible ways to integrate AI into the fashion chain, creating new value for those employed in the fashion industry.

BoF says:

“AI enhancements will go beyond the traditional areas of machine tasks into creative and customer interaction processes, blurring the line between technology and creativity.”

Sustainability credibility

In 2018, sustainability will evolve to something much more than “a menu of marketing-focused CSR initiatives to an integral part of the planning system where circular economy principles are embedded throughout the value chain.”

This is the year where many fashion brands will put the sustainability initiative into fill action, via tech innovation, allowing them to introduce:

  • efficiency
  • transparency
  • mission orientation
  • and genuine ethical upgrades

Off-price deception

While BoF notes that consumers demand not only lower prices but a “treasure-hunt like experience”, it’s the off-price sector that continues to grow.


It’s provides a solution for brands and retailers looking to clear excess inventory quickly.

Traditional department stores have been launched their own off-price versions — including:

  • Neiman Marcus Last Call
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Saks Off Fifth

And e-commerce sites like Bluefly, The Outnet and Yoox have continued to grow, offering up a number of off-price alternatives.

Thinking like a startup will help

With the increasing need to innovate within the fashion industry, companies will need to learn to pick up some startup like qualities such as agility, collaboration and openness.

BoF notes:

“Traditional and heritage players will continue to be compelled to open their minds up to new types of talent, new ways of working, new kinds of partnerships and new investment models.”

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