Fashion is an aesthetic expression combined with many things like makeup, clothing, footwear, accessories, hairstyle, and lifestyle. The life of fashion is comprised of a short time or less than a season. According to Pierre Bourdieu, a sociologist, he describes fashion is something different or the latest difference. It keeps on changing. Style, on the other hand, has a longer life and it can last many seasons.
The fashion industry came into existence roundabout in the mid of the 19th century. But it has become a fully grown-up international industry where designers design clothes in one country, manufactured in the other country, and brands sell them in different markets worldwide. In short, the fashion industry operates in four parts;
- Raw material like fabrics, fur, leather, fibers, and cotton
- Manufacturers, designer, or the contractor
- Retail sales
- Promotion, advertising, and marketing
Every part of the abovementioned level is completely different from the other, but they’re interdependent. Whether it’s the purchase of quality raw material, qualified designers and manufacturers, sales of the final products or the advertisement; the purpose is to provide quality products to the end customers and satisfy their needs.
Now it’s time to discuss how political, economical, social, technological, legal and environmental factors impact the fashion industry; how new trends are emerging, and how the fashion industry is evolving with time. Here’s a look at the pestle analysis of the Fashion Industry;
Political Factors: Fashion Icon and the Head of the State
If imported products become costly because of the taxation or the border tariff. In such circumstances, the government usually encourages people to buy clothes of homemade brands and local designers. Instead of sending orders and payments of clothes and other products to offshore companies; there are some groups like PETA that refuse to deal with those companies that use animal fur. Whether it’s a local company or international, the purpose is to discourage animal abuse.
Politicians and political figures have a specific influence on the fashion industry and brands. For instance, the first lady of the US (Melania Trump, or Michelle Obama) or any other country, British Prime Minister Theresa May; the point is that millions of people look up to such figures. Therefore, their apparel isn’t just clothes, they also convey a symbolic message. The involvement of the fashion industry with political icons started with Jackie Kennedy, and the rest is history.
It’s not just the celebrities, artists and social media activists who lay the foundation of new trends. Female political figures also admire and appreciate fashion icons.
Economic Factors: Expensive & Fashion
Economically speaking, we see the world at two extreme ends; high-income countries where people manage to find a way to buy fashionable products and accessories. Low-income countries with a high unemployment rate where fashion is a luxury which they can’t afford, staying alive with food and water is more important.
People in the middle class or the lower middle class with limited resources, they prefer rental clothes or jewelry whether formal or otherwise. As we know the fashion industry is seasonal and it keeps on changing. If you buy such fashion items permanently, then you have to endure another cost of space for keeping it. Therefore, such rental clothing services are much cheap and affordable, they satisfy your needs and you don’t have to pay extra cost for it.
Social Factors: Singers & Artists promotes Fashion
Musicians, singers, and artists need unique dressing and outfits to show off. The purpose of such attire is to differentiate you from the crowd, the fans and media personals would recognize you immediately. Once you have the attention, then you’re in the spotlight.
Later, such attire and outfit become the symbol or brand icon associated with a particular figure.
For instance, LED lighted glove of Michael Jackson, sagging jeans or ripped jeans of celebrities, or the gold chain. The artists and musicians who wear such artifacts, they did not become symbolic. But they also have a huge impact on the fans, because they recognize them with those items.
Fashion doesn’t always mean that you have to look unique; it can be sober and light depending on the situation. For instance, a person goes for the interview, and he wears good formal dressing. An ordinary office goer wear semi-formal and casual dressing with comfortable shoes, it also falls in the category of casual light fashion. But people usually ignore it, or reluctant to accept it as a fashion.
Technological Factors: Becoming a Fashion Designer is Easy
Some people prefer online shopping where they can easily check out products of different stores. If they like any of them, they’d put them on the cart and place their order. Rather than physically visiting a shopping mall or a store, they find traveling and walking a laborious activity.
The Internet has made it easy to set up your store online. Sophia Amoruso began collecting vintage clothes of old fashion a few years ago, then she set up her online store and selling her collection on eBay at a reasonable profit. In 2018, the net worth of assets was more than 300 million US dollars.
We come across runway TV shows where analysts and designers talk about the future of the fashion industry, and they also show off their latest designs and products. There are business shows, where they discuss the new investors and young talented startups in the fashion industry, and how their future would look like.
Technology is useful in terms of helping designers and customers to get what they want. Designers are finding clever ways to earn a profit.
Legal Factors: Manufacturing in Asian Countries for Cheap Labor
When it comes to obeying the law; the fashion industry is no exception. It has to follow the same excise taxation laws, inflation cost, labor laws, and import and export restrictions. The whole image of a brand and country’s laws start changing when a company or a fashion brand outsources its work to other Asian countries in search of cheap labor. The home economy and people lose job opportunities and capital through foreign outsourcing. Therefore, some people boycott the products of those brands that outsource manufacturing to other countries.
Environment Factors: Impact on the Environment
The products of the fashion industry are having a disastrous impact on the environment in many ways. First of all, start with manufacturing where chemically treating the cotton to prepare jeans, factories emit chemical fumes into the atmosphere. At the shipment stage, trucks and vehicles release gasses and smocks in the environment to cause air pollution. If the shipment is through the sea, then it’s causing oil spilling into the sea.
After being used by the customers, it turns up in the form of waste. According to a recent study, an average American disposes of approximately 80 pounds of clothes every year. Wastage has increased by 60% for the past 15 years. When you calculate the total figure at a global level, then there’s so much cloth wastage. The fashion industry is playing a huge role in the clothing wastage because every new season brings up new clothes and new fashion.
Although some industries have started recycling the worn-out clothes; but this effort is operating at a very low level. Every industry and every country should take this step into cleaning up the environment.
Conclusion: Pestle Analysis of the Fashion Industry
We can’t deny the fact that the fashion industry plays an important in building up culture, trends, societies, and economies of countries. But it shouldn’t be at the cost of destroying the nature and polluting the environment. Companies and customers should buy and sell recycled products.
Photo by shattha pilabut