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Look the Part: Technology and innovation are transforming the fashion industry

Kamylle Edwards

 // Feb 13, 2018

Asmar Bouie

The birth of the retail store is attributed to several different businesses, however, some of the firsts are right here in America.

In 1858, R.H. Macy opened Macy's, which has been described as the first department store in the U.S. The historical phenomenon behind this is that R.H.Macy understood how to create an entertaining environment that entices people to shop. Macy used what is now known as visual merchandising to develop window and floor displays, product mapping, and in-store commercial events like those pictures with Santa Claus. His strategic approach to engaging the customer is still used today in stores around the world.

Then, during the 19th century, retail titans began to enlist celebrities to market their brands, this marked the beginning of fashion advertising as we know it today.

Now, the retail market needs the images of existing youth and popular culture to sustain its business. The industry dictates societal views through inundating people with thousands of ads each day and the addition of social media has only furthered the agenda to program our perceptions of the world and distract us from living. However, social media has also liberated people from conventional work in pursuit of their passion while gaining financial freedom.

The new use of direct-to-consumer marketing and sales promotions has completely altered the retail experience. Companies with large real estate, like H&M, are closing stores at alarming rates in exchange for e-commerce. Essentially in today's economy, you must not only be able to afford the overhead of retail space, but you must also provide an experience that is engaging for the consumer.

Even in the 80s, there was no experience liking walking out of Dapper Dan's boutique in Harlem, N.Y. with a new custom statement piece. Today, Dan's controversial moment with Gucci sparked a wildfire of conversation that lead to the reopening of his store with the help of Gucci. We're telling the story of how technology and innovators are transforming the business of fashion.

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