Fashion Futures

Our robot, Athena, thinks the fashion experience of the future will blend physical and electronic surroundings with virtual and augmented realities by using real-time contextual information. Read on to discover what she thinks we’re likely to be wearing in the years to come and the opportunities for, and risks to growth.

Athena’s forecast
Start year: 2015
Likely Tipping point: 2015
Likely End year: 2044
Likely Impact $: Billions
Likelihood: 80%
Regions affected: The World
Most affected sectors: retail, IT, healthcare, insurance, financial services

What is changing?


  • Creating products that are seamlessly intuitive and which fit withconsumer’s fashion choices will firmly entrench wearables in the minds of consumers as purchases that are simultaneously stylish and necessary.
  • Total shipments of smart clothing will grow from 968,000 units in 2015 to 24.8 million by 2021.


  • New products, beauty bloggers and innovative campaigns will all ensure sales in the colour cosmetics market remain buoyant in 2016.
  • The global market for smart fabrics alone is forecasted to grow to around $2 billion dollars by 2018.
  • The global market for fatty alcohols is expected to expand at a moderate pace in the near future.
  • Developing regions are expected to dominate the fatty alcohols marketin the next few years.
  • Growing sales of cosmetics and beauty products in BRIC countries is anticipated to offer growth opportunities to the fatty alcohols marketfrom 2015 to 2023.
  • Volatility in prices of raw materials and overproduction of fatty alcohols are projected to hamper market growth during the forecast period.
  • While UK sales of lip colour cosmetics grew by 8% between 2014 and 2015, sales will rise by an estimated 12% in 2016 to reach a stunning £306 million.
  • Growth of personal care industry particularly in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Middle East is expected to remain a key driving factor for the global surfactants market.
  • The global market for men’s designer apparel is projected to reach nearly $33 billion in 2020.
  • Circular economy has become an intrinsic aspect of the fashion marketand will be influencing it further more in the future.
  • By 2020, China and India will overtake the United States as the leading consumers of fast fashion.
  • With the TTIP, American consumers will benefit from lower tariffs onEuropean fashion and clothing.
  • The overall market for personal luxury goods will grow no more than 2 to 3 percent over the next four years.
  • The global market for men’s designer apparel is projected to reach nearly $33 billion in 2020.
  • Muslims will spend $327 billion on clothes and shoes alone in 2019.


  • The UK government will phase out the sale and manufacture of cosmetics and hygiene products that contain the tiny pieces of plastic by 2017.
  • China is changing tax rules for imported goods that are sold online in a move that will see beauty products such as eye creams and moisturising gels from L’Oreal SA’s Lancome and Korea’s Amorepacific Corp. becoming cheaper for Chinese consumers.


  • A team of scientists have developed a plastic textile that could be used to manufacture clothing, and cool people who wear it.
  • Enabling more aging consumers to live in place will create new needs for other sensor networks (for monitoring and safety) or personal-care robots (to bathe or groom consumers).
  • In a matter of a few years, smart textiles are expected to consume $134million of sensors, more than half of which will be pressure sensors.
  • Neuro builds on the relationship between technology and fashion and is another indicator of the increased involvement technology will have in the fashion design process moving forward.
  • Consumer products made using using 3-D printing will include household items, optics, fashion jewellery.
  • Printing clothes using AM will revolutionise the fashion industryworldwide by opening up digital manufacturing to the masses via online retail.


  • Fast fashion will never be sustainable as its business model is based on producing huge volumes, incredibly quickly, very cheaply so that we can buy more clothes.
  • Technology is going to turn the entire fashion industry inside out.
  • Technology and adaptive garments will change fashion and create a completely customizable, accessible new world.
  • Digital identity will be the new axis of competition for fashion brands.
  • The fashion experience of the future will blend physical and electronic surroundings with virtual and augmented realities by using real-time contextual information.
  • Consumers will have a growing need for tactile sensation over the next decade.
  • Fashion models living in human bodies with human limitations will have little hope of competing with the chameleon-like color-changing, shape-shifting features of future machines with full sensory capability of reading someone’s emotions with 100% accuracy.
  • Professional models will fall out of favour as consumers show a burgeoning desire to see apparel and accessories worn by fellow shoppers instead.
  • Factory stores (selling products at discounted prices) will become increasingly popular as places to offload surplus stock and last year’s lines.
  • Factory outlets of luxury brands will grow in volume and visibility.
  • Stronger global demand for luxury experiences such as fine dining, lavish holidays and beauty pampering will entice leading fashion houses to build bigger footprints in areas such as luxury travel, luxury foodservice and luxury health and wellness.
  • Consumers will become smarter about what they want to own forever and what they don’t want to own forever.
  • The design and structure of luxury hotels is expected to change with brands set to adopt new architectural solutions such as ‘building down’.

Can technology reach the fashion industry and alter its core and if so, to what extent?
Will we be having a showdown between fashion models and humanoid mannequins anytime soon?
Will 3D printing change everything in fashion?

Learn more

Find more sources and forecasts on Shaping Tomorrow, some of which were used in this Trend Alert, or ask us for our ready-made and free, in-depth PowerPoint report or more detailed GIST briefing on this or any other topic of interest to you.

Also, click here to find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.

Ask us to show you how you can produce similar, private Alerts for your stakeholders on topics of interest to you.

About this Alert: robot generated from verbatim forecasts and questions auto-extracted from the Shaping Tomorrow database of articles, reports and PowerPoints and supplemented with quantitative and graphical analysis by the robot. Time to compile and produce – 45 minutes.



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