One world, one market, one style?

Uniformity instead of creativity

For years marketing professionals keep telling us that sooner or later people across the globe will live and consume more or less in the same way. In the digital era diversity is supposed to disappear. The boredom of standardization and omnipresent chains is spreading over the world.

Quantitative and marketing principles seem to play the only role.
Optimizing instead of developing.

Of course there are major global trends and developments which affect people nearly anywhere.

However, at the same time we have been observing an ever rising individualization of modern societies. People like to invent themselves constantly anew and to showcase their individuality. Fashion & clothing are perfect tools to underline individuality and to tell a unique personal story. Touching directly the individual and his or her life.

Ephemeral and volatile, fashion & clothing follow people´s emotions and
living conditions more than pure numbers.

Lots of consumers are increasingly not satisfied with the current collections and/ or the shops. The internet has given them easy access to a boundless variety – available by a simple „click“.

But it´s not only the comfort which seduces people to buy in the internet:
Small brands emerge allover the world in all fields of design. They combine local and regional crafts and cultural heritage with global input to create products with local flavour and a contemporary taste.

These developments are affecting sports, too. Over the last decade the sports apparel industry has been concentrating mainly on developments concerning functionality, protection and technical perfection of fabrics and manufacturing to offer high-performance-wear.

Designing by numbers with more and more copies of the same collections and styles (me-too-strategy) seems to be state of the art. Even the selection of colours has to follow numbers.

Target groups for the athletic and extreme direction of product development are not growing any longer in big numbers. And target groups are splitting up in ever more tribes with their very own focus.

Breaking new grounds in the emerging markets is also not that easy – though the western way of life maybe what people want, priorities and tastes vary. Differences are kept due to specific geographic and cultural framework.

In the classic western industrialized countries sport has become a vital part of the lifestyle. Both recreational and professional sports attract most of the people. But even in these countries the popularity of single sports differ from one country to the other.

Looking at the emerging markets, we see that professional sports and competition events are not yet that much developed – or are even completely different to the ones in the West.

Concerning recreational and leisure sports the situation cannot be compared to the Western countries, too. Of course the increase in income and more leisure time support the demand for sports clothing – but on a different level. It is more about the look and appeal of sportswear and less about functional and technical perfection of high-performance-wear for extreme situations out in natural surroundings.

Recommendations:
Design has to reflect people´s desires and their relationship with the product. Good design creates clothing which becomes part of the personal narrative of the individual.

Requirements might resemble allover the globe, but realization has to vary.

Nora Kuehner
fashion   design   consulting