Jul 07, 2017
Data is Changing Creative Industries.
Creative industries are, unsurprisingly, traditionally imagination-led. In fashion, it has always been about the Eureka moments struggling artists find while holed up in their garrets with just a sewing machine for company that have led to game changing designs. But a new data orthodoxy is shifting that emphasis. The industry is now as concerned by pure stats and mathematical facts as it is with designers’ visions. So, how is this changing the fashion industry?
Within the fashion industry, EDITED is the world’s biggest data warehouse. It’s an accolade that, not long ago, would have made people scratch their heads in confusion. But, how is it changing the industry that it’s collecting data from?
EDITED mixes its own secret algorithms with a constant feed of real-time information on what’s trending, popular Instagram tags, sales numbers and social media conversations to predict upcoming trends. For fashion buyers from big name brands, this is the holy grail: sartorial wisdom that can also make money. It’s essentially a service that can tell them what to buy to make an almost certain profit. But, as a creative, would you want a computer to effectively do your job for you? Doesn’t that take the fun out of it?
The app has also been useful, more generally, at figuring out the changing nature of the fashion industry. Geoff Watts, who founded EDITED in 2009, says that his data shows that trends are now released simultaneously in luxury and high street brands. So, the old “trickle down effect” that meant affordable brands got the right look months after the high-end stores, is no longer relevant.
As a social media generation, we’re also much more hungry to share images, videos and information about our purchases. Watts conjectures that this is based on a culture of validation, where we require the approval of others more than ever, in our own decision-making processes. Do you do this? Should we care what people think of how we dress? Is this entrenching those ideas too far?
Data driven insights are therefore changing the trends that we buy, as they affect what’s actually available on shelves. Does this mean that we’re becoming more empowered over our style choices if some of this information comes from the posts we make on social media? Or does it take away from the creativity of fashion? Should we have the experts tell us what to wear sometimes or not anymore? What do you think?