Retail

Fashion’s biggest happenings in 2022

From resale to the metaverse, fashion was dominated by some key themes, all the while battling inflation, a strong dollar, and supply chain issues.
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· 4 min read

A lot happened in fashion this year. Creative directors from brands like Gucci left their companies and others like Prada tapped new executives, while Raf Simons shut down his namesake brand. Meanwhile, the fashion world also bid adieu to some iconic names, such as Issey Miyake who passed away in August.

While it’s impossible to highlight literally everything that happened in the industry, we’ve compiled a comprehensive recap of the biggest trends that dominated fashion in 2022.

The rise of resale

Shopping brand new is out; shopping secondhand is in. This was a big year for resale, and practically every brand, from luxury to fast fashion, wanted a piece of it.

In a previous conversation, Sarah Davis, founder, president, and CCO of Fashionphile, told us that both men and women were investing in secondhand items, a trend that is only going to continue.

“I feel like one of the things that’s really nice in luxury: there’s not a trend that’s…not going to sit around for two months,” she said. “If you want to get in on the trend in our category, where it’s more expensive, it’s just nice that it’s got staying power.”

Still, most fashion retailers chose to launch their own resale platforms by partnering with tech companies in order to keep things in their ecosystem.

Take Sandro, for instance. The French luxury retailer partnered with Archive, a resale-tech company that builds customized resale marketplaces for several brands. The idea was to make Sandro Secondhand—the peer-to-peer resale program that debuted in the US—a seamless process for buyers and sellers. By partnering with a third party, Sandro also essentially eliminated the need to physically clean, manage, photograph, and list the products.

“It’s a really great way to enter the market because there’s no upfront investment,” Archive CEO Emily Gittins told Retail Brew. “You’re not taking on a big overhead of taking back items; you’re not taking on any financial risk if things do sell.”

The year of NFTs

If it seemed like all fashion brands wanted to talk about this year was the metaverse and NFTs, that’s because it’s arguably true. Across the globe, brands intensified their investment in the market by debuting digital avatars of their products and even doing their shows in the metaverse.

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Take Rebecca Minkoff, for example, who chose to present her Spring 2023 show via a CGI presentation. We’re not kidding. The presentation was a part of its previous NFT partnership with Mavion. Some formerly introduced NFTs also became part of the show as the brand continued to promote them.

“We are promoting it now because it takes time for people to understand what the eff an NFT is,” Minkoff told Retail Brew at her show. “I want my customers to embrace NFTs in the future and [understand] what that means for design as well. So we’re doing a lot of education, and a lot of messaging to my consumer to get her on board, because it’s not like you send one email, you put up an Instagram post, and people convert.”

Inventory, inflation, and more troubles

Retailers were up against quite a bit in 2022 and fashion brands were no exception. (Side note: did you hear retail traders lost $350 billion this year?)

Inflation, lockdowns in China, the strengthening dollar, and the looming recession were only the tip of the iceberg that, in turn, created other issues such as excess inventory and a prolonged supply-chain crisis.

Luckily, we spoke to three retail experts about just how the strong dollar, among other issues, was impacting the fashion retailer’s bottom line. And they offered some solutions on how brands can deal with it.

“International brands are expanding aggressively in the US by opening physical stores, but my thinking will be to slow the pace of growth, focus on growing e-commerce and to suit consumer needs for products to have the right products to engage more with consumers,” Sunny Zheng, research analyst at Coresight Research, told us in October. “It will be great for them to launch loyalty programs, or they can target younger consumers or middle-aged consumers in order to build customer loyalty more tightly instead of doing mass marketing.” —JS

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