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Report Published: 18 Jul 2016

From climate chaos and fast-fashion fatigue, to depleting natural resources and underserved demographics, the fashion industry is currently going through major upheaval. We dissect the big external issues affecting business for retailers, brands and manufacturers, and highlight the biggest opportunities for growth – with insights that are relevant to a breadth of industries.

It’s all back to basics as we critically assess what is really happening in this increasingly fractured fashion landscape. Sustainability is a key issue for fashion and textiles – however, as the second biggest polluter on the planet, it’s lagging behind other industries in terms of real change. Sustainable Wardrobes highlights best-practice industry examples as well as new process and material innovations for inspiration.

Alongside sustainability, seasonal flux has also emerged as a major issue. But it isn’t just about catwalks – more crucially, it’s about climate change, globalisation, and how the traditional buying calendar has been thrown into disarray. We explore the combative strategies being employed to improve sales and reduce markdown in our report on Seasonal Disruption.

A number of key influences collide in what we are calling the Anti-Trend. Social-media-induced information overload, conscientious consumption and lives increasingly lived in small, urban spaces are creating a perfect storm, where clothes that work hard for us take over from throwaway fashion. This represents a whole new phase in the history of fashion.

There are some massive opportunities, too. A Modest Rising is afoot – according to Fortune Magazine, modest dressing represents the biggest single opportunity in womenswear for the next five years (worth $420bn by 2020). Meanwhile, Athleisure Impact highlights similar ongoing growth potential in both active and leisure categories. Add to that a wealthy 50-plus demographic and plus-size community who both feel poorly served by the industry – explored in Advanced Aesthetics and Size Matters – and the future holds as much potential for growth as it does uncertainty. 

Within all of this, we also highlight key shifts in fashion consumer attitudes. From post-punk 50-plusers to gender-fluid Gen Z-ers – highlighted in our Gender Agenda report – it’s about not being left behind and embracing change in order to be successful in The New Fashion Landscape.

The New Fashion Landscape Webinar

Future Insights

The future will be more about clothes than fashion as we know it. This is due to colliding factors such as fast-fashion fatigue, a focus on comfort and multifunctionality, a desire to simplify our wardrobes, and a more conscientious approach to consumption.


Fashion’s global pollution rating is second only to the oil industry. But from renewable natural resources to the elimination of production processes and a focus on repurposing non-biodegradable textiles, the industry’s longer-term sustainable future looks brighter.


Climate chaos and increased global brand reach are already having an impact on full-price sales. The future will see a shift away from fashion seasons towards a flattened calendar with a neutral emphasis and a more flexible approach to product sourcing.


The industry’s emphasis on selling to slim young Western men and women as a priority will make way for a more inclusive landscape. Older consumers will be embraced, as will the plus-size demographic and a growing population of modest dressers.

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Stylus Advisory’s world-class strategists translate our trends intelligence into tailored global and market insights to maximise your unique future business opportunities.

Our bespoke research projects can show you what your consumers want next – and why.

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