With social media sites playing a larger role in influencing fashion trends, Google’s fashion and luxury teams are working with major brands and retailers to influence fashion trends. Brands like Calvin Klein will incorporate Google’s fashion planning and forecasting in order to determine what’s hot and what’s not. And companies that fall under “fast fashion,” such as H&M or Forever 21, will be able to research how a trend is gaining momentum and mass produce an item for a cheaper price.
Lisa Green, who heads Google’s fashion planning and forecasting, thinks her team serve as “powerful digital consultants for our brands, not just somebody they can talk to about what ads they can buy online. They can say, ‘Google has identified this as a trend, and we have six weeks to get this out on the racks.’ ”
Google Shopping is able to track how consumers are responding to the latest designs or fashion trends by gathering information as people search, compare prices and shop online. Trevor Davis, a consumer product expert at IBM, says this data in valuable to fashion brands and retailers. “People tend to make trend predictions based on a very limited number of observations, and that’s very hit and miss. The ability to detect trends very early on before they really become noticeable, and to follow them, is invaluable,” he said.
A separate but equally important factor is whether a celebrity wore or promoted the item on their social media platforms. When the Kardashian sisters dutifully wearing their waist trainers while they work out, the corset-like shapers are in full demand,. They can range in price from $20 to hundreds of dollars. Also, sales for jumpsuits have increased, after Solange Knowles-Ferguson wore a white jumpsuit to marry her husband Alan Ferguson last November.
Google’s fashion trends data has helped Southern and Western cities not known for fashion trends to take a place on the map. The owners of the Tulle Skirt Shop in Utah have seen a tremendous growth in their sales as tulle skirts gain popularity. Co-owner Sherene McClellan believes the trend comes from rural Utah women shifting from sultry looks to more feminine, romantic clothing.
While much of the focus here has been on the big names, small labels and boutiques also see the benefits of Google’s fashion activity. Technology helps even the small guy gain recognition for particular styles and compete in a larger fashion market.