The Future is Here: The Evolution of Digital Ecosystems

My recent Clubhouse conversations with fashion, gaming, AI and tech leaders like Pierre Denis (Advisor to Coty Board, former CEO Jimmy Choo), Tony Pinville (CEO Heuritech), Lucy Yeomans (Founder/CEO DREST), Matthew Drinkwater (Head of Innovation, London College of Fashion) as well as some Clubhouse influencers Alisa Jacobs (Co-Founder, Queens Gaming Collective), WolfxLion (Jin Yu), Enara Nazarova (Founder, ARMOAR), Anton Alexander (AI Engineer) and De Kai (Google AI Ethics Council), got me thinking... The pandemic has forced brands to figure out new ways of connecting with customers – especially in digital environments.

This has forced tech like videoCommerce, gaming and AI to the forefront of customer engagement.

But who’s doing it best? And HOW are these digital ecosystems evolving?

Image by Barbara Zandoval on Unsplash

1.The Gaming & Virtual Fashion Revolution

Fashion tech and digitalisation have always been hot topics for us here at HVO Search.

Gaming has been around for a long time but only during lockdown did luxury fashion brands really start to fully leverage the medium - finding new ways of showcasing their collections and engaging with a broader audience.

  • Balenciaga launched their Autumn/Winter 2021 collection through an interactive online video game called ‘Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow’.

  • Burberry created three own online games the latest being B Surf last year. They were also the first to Stream their Spring 2021 collection on a Twitch catwalk.

  • Marc Jacobs and Valentino are creating digital clothing for avatars for games such as Animal Crossing.

The outdated stereotype of pale, young men, gaming in dark bedrooms has thankfully been replaced with the reality – in fact 60% of mobile gamers are now women (and 80% of shopping decisions are made by women).

With the global gaming market valued at $167.9 billion in 2020 (and by 2026 expected to reach $295.63 billion) brands are likely to continue to innovate in this space.

“It seems like we’ve been talking about fashion and gaming for a long time. It’s cool to see more experiences popping up but it's really clear that we’ve still barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. Fashion will need to much better understand gamers and the worlds that they inhabit, but when they do, the potential is huge.”

Matthew Drinkwater, Head of Innovation at London College of Fashion, told me on Clubhouse.

2. AI: Beyond Consumer Trends

Covid has created far more room for AI, and has rapidly accelerated investment in new tools and tech.

Brands need to be able to make critical decisions quickly, which requires access to data on existing and predicted consumer behaviour. AI is therefore a crucial part of the retail recovery and continued growth of eCommerce.

  • Companies like Heuritech are thriving, offering data-driven fashion trend forecasting, using advanced AI to translate pictures shared on social media into meaningful consumer data

“Luxury fashion brands need to better understand product trends by analysing social media images and use this knowledge to enhance their decision-making”

Heuritech CEO, Tony Pinville told me.