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Fashion connects with wellness, experiences and ‘athleisure’
‘Feeling good is the new looking good’ is the key message to emerge from The State of Fashion 2017 - a new report on the global fashion industry by BoF (Business of Fashion) and McKinsey & Company - which shows the transformation economy as a rapidly-growing segment, as consumers shift away from purchasing products and move towards spending their money on mind and body-enhancing experiences.
Discussed at VOICES, BoF’s annual symposium in the United Kingdom, wellness entrepreneurs including Jason Wachob, Amanda Chantal Bacon, Dr. Nigma Talib and Neil Grimmer considered beauty-enhancing supplements to the rapid growth of ‘athleisure’ (the fashion that sees clothing designed for workouts and other athletic activities is worn in other settings, such as during work, casual or social occasions – as typified by active wear), concluding that there has never been a better time for fashion companies to tap into the activity and wellness industry.
Wachob, the founder and chief executive of mindbodygreen - a media property dedicated to health, wellness and lifestyle - said there was a big opportunity in the health and wellness space for traditional fashion and luxury companies.
Wachob told BoF “the market is monstrous and there is a shift in consumer habits
“I think looking good is important, but feeling good in a lot of ways has become the new looking good and the better you feel, the better you are going to look. There is a big opportunity.”
It was a view shared by fellow panellist Dr Nigma Talib, a naturopathic doctor to a number of celebrity clients.
Dr Talib explained “what I find is that the new fashion is now health and wellness.
“People want experiences, they want to feel transformed - not to continue to collect more clutter or more things.”
Fflur Roberts, luxury goods analyst at Euromonitor believes the shift can be attributed to younger consumers, who see more value in transformational experiences than material goods.
Roberts stated “people care more about what they do, eat and wear, but it's also become a fashion trend as well. Now, it’s a very normal thing to go to the gym and look after yourself.
“Looking at the luxury aspects of it, it's very much a status thing as well, people want to show that they care about their bodies and self-preservation.”
Commercial opportunity is what is driving the fashion industry’s investment in activity and wellness.
The investment arm of LVMH, L Catterton Europe, has signed a deal to acquire a majority stake in Italian bicycle maker Pinarello. The private equity company is also reported to be in talks with British cycling apparel maker Rapha about a potential acquisition.
The Pinarello acquisition is just one example of how the luxury sector’s demand for activity and wellness is growing.
According to data from Euromonitor, last year, the overall global market for wellness reached US$701 billion in value and it is expected to grow by 17% over the next five years to $833 billion by 2021.
This significantly outpaces the sluggish growth in the personal luxury goods market, which grew by just 1% in 2015 on the previous year in real growth terms, according to a report by Bain & Company.
Joseph Pine, the author of The Experience Economy, which explores the next phase of consumerism after the service economy, suggests luxury companies should take note.
Pine explains “if you’re in the luxury business, not only is it not growing as fast as it used to, but the slices of the pie are shifting towards experiences and away from goods.
“It’s a part of a whole set of stuff where research shows that purchasing experiences makes us happier than purchasing goods. Experiences that actually make us fitter and help us achieve our aspirations for health and wellness is where things are shifting.”.
Roberts concludes “the more global wealth grows, the more people will look for experiences.
“People’s mindsets might be changing a bit. They might want experiences, so I imagine lots of brands will be looking into this area and we'll see more of this in the future.”
Click here to visit the Business of Fashion website
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