Los Angeles’ fashion industry continues to play a crucial role in the city’s economy, while adopting a vanguard position in social media, online sales and marketing, and design and manufacturing technology – trends that are changing the fashion industry. These and other insights are found in the 2016 “Los Angeles Area Fashion Industry Profile. The report was commissioned by CIT Group Inc., cit.com, a leading provider of commercial lending and leasing services, and the California Fashion Association (CFA).
Additionally, the 2016 L.A. Area Fashion Profile features the inaugural L.A. apparel industry survey, which includes responses from more than 50 L.A. area apparel executives from a mix of manufacturers and licensors.
“Taken together, the savvy use of social media, a state-of-the-art manufacturing platform and a well-developed import and export infrastructure position the Los Angeles region as a leading global fashion epicenter,” said Marc Heller, President of CIT Commercial Services. “Both established and emerging retail and fashion companies would benefit from working with a financial institution that has deep experience in lending to this sector and that understands the challenges and opportunities it faces.”
According to the report, given L.A.’s celebrity-driven culture, social media is seen as the marketing innovation that will have the greatest impact on the L.A. fashion industry. Related initiatives could involve blogger-sponsored e-commerce, new and evolving social media platforms, social media buzz, direct-to-market sales, Snapchat, selling on the Internet, fashion blogs and digital technology.
The study also found that Internet-only apparel retail is already common in L.A. Retailers that start with just an e-commerce presence can adopt a “Clicks-to-Bricks” strategy, in which retailers build a following through online sales and then open a brick-and-mortar location. Computer technology also helps L.A.’s designers and manufacturers stay competitive by shortening product cycles and reducing costs. 3D fitting, 3D printing and virtual reality are all in the mix in L.A.
The report also highlights the digital dominance of L.A. fashion executives’ outlook. Fifty four per cent of apparel executives surveyed said they saw social media as the most innovative technology for the future of the apparel industry. Twenty four per cent said integrated systems between manufacturers and retailers, and 13 said either 3D fitting or 3D printing.
More than half of respondents said the Internet represents the biggest growth opportunity for L.A. apparel companies in 2016 and 2017. A “Clicks-to-Bricks” business model, which involves opening an online-only store and later adding brick-and-mortar locations, garnered 35 per cent of responses. Online-only selling received 22 per cent.