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Technology and fashion have a lot in common. Technology is synonymous with groundbreaking innovation. Similarly, staying ahead of the game is of the utmost importance in the fashion industry. So it is no surprise that designers and fashion analysts have enlisted the powers of social media and data analytics to generate fashion that is more accessible, efficient and up to date, as discussed in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.

Before big data entered in fashion retailing, designers faced the problem of deciding what trends to display in their garments. Endless amounts of colors, cuts and options for clothing pieces could be overwhelming. But data systems can help smaller designers and independent companies more accurately assess market demand for certain styles over others without wasting labor or resources.

Big data also provides a clearer way of evaluating reactions, which can make or break a designer in an industry where one sign of disapproval can taint a reputation for an entire career. By gathering the commentary on a designer’s pieces, fashion services are able to give designers insight as to who is wearing what and how they feel about it. This way, influence is not exaggerated or underrepresented by media, but is determined via figures and statistics quickly and conveniently.

Online platforms have long been targeting customers, offering them with a personalized and convenient way to shop. Now established brands such as Burberry are embracing the use of big data to renovate their shops into digital paradises that include personal greetings and iPad-armed associates who know each customer’s preferences, past purchases and more. Technology companies such as SAP are crucial in helping fashion companies take the step from using social media as a promotional tool to utilizing big data to produce business value.

Technology such as MyRunway, developed by SAP’s AppHaus have already impacted how the fashion industry in China understands consumer preferences. With the help of a few tools and software systems -- especially real-time data analytics -- clothing retailers can understand what people want to wear before they even see it, creating an extremely efficient retail experience for both the designer and the company.

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