The 10 Keywords of the
’16 Fashion Industry and the Prospects of the ’17 Fashion Market
The 10 Keywords of the ’16 Fashion Industry and the Prospects of the ’17 Fashion Market by Samsung Fashion Institute
1. Survival: Survival rather than growth.
Korean economy this year had a difficult year with poor exports and companies’ restructuring on the low-growth basis.  Domestic income decreased and consumption shrank due to the poor performance of key industries and the instability of the employment market.
Even the domestic demand was depressed, creating a vicious cycle, with the unpredicted force majeure such as the severely hot summer, premature in the temperature between seasons, earthquakes, and storms.

As the political sector fell into a chaos with the recently revealed manipulation of administration, the consumption froze toward the end of the year.  The Consumer Composite Sentiment Index (CCSI) for last November dropped sharply by 6.1 points down to 95.8 points compared to October, recording the lowest score since April 2009 (94.2).
Looking back on the fashion market, the athleisure trend and golfwear brands were relatively successful, while lifestyle became the keyword for the large-sized distributors and fashion companies to attempt changes.  The offline and manufacture services of the fashion industry are making radical changes for survival, including M&A between fashion companies and distributors, expansion of online businesses at Dongdaemun, and the O2O (Online to Offline) services.
2. SNS Economy: Taste-certifying consumption.
The certification culture to record one’s daily grind on the SNS is gradually evolving.  Last year, it evolved from certifying the purchase of expensive premium designer handbags and limited edition items to certifying various activities and experiences such as visits to renowned cafés, restaurants, galleries, and other hot spots.  This year, the certification culture has further evolved to certifying individual taste on the SNS.
The fashion and distribution industries are also moving to present upgraded contents to fit the advanced consumer lifestyles.
Also, the SNS, which broadly affects consumer culture, consumption, and even lifestyle, is recognized as an integrated channel for communication, promotion, and sale for consumers, not as a mere strategic tool for marketing and promotion, so the companies should provide upgraded contents according to the more fast-paced and diversified consumer traits.
3. New Man Power: The mid-aged X-generation with uncle power.
The X-generation from the ’90s has become mid-aged in their 40s.  Woo Sung Jung, Jung Jae Lee, Seung Won Cha, Hae Jin Yoo, and Seo Jin Lee are some of them who are between young men and mid-aged men.  They appear more nicely pampered than most mid-aged men and humorous and friendly on the advertisements and entertainment shows.  Their unique mid-aged humors have even created a trend.  
Unlike the mid-aged men of the previous generation who were obligated to support their families as paternal fathers, the X-generation men now in their 40s and 50s have experienced diverse culture and attract attention as a consumer group that pursues to pamper themselves and actively enjoy their lives.  
With the emergence of mid-aged men with sensitivity to trend and stable consumer power, the fashion, beauty, food, interior, and distribution industries have developed various contents to target them as the key consumer group.  
Men’s fashion shops such as Lansmere and Boon the Shop have expanded business casual line for sophisticated styles, while the beauty industries have men’s grooming products.  Men-only stores such as Barber Shop are also being spotlighted.
4. Innovative Lifestyle Retail: Large-scale distribution vs. backstreet stores based on lifestyle.
Starfield Hanam, the biggest keyword in distribution this year, has been described as ‘the unprecedented shopping mall’ and ‘the sportainment venue for leisure and healing.’  Since it opened last September, it attracted 7,400,000 visitors in 100 days.  It is Korea’s largest shopping theme park equipped with various things to enjoy for anyone in any age, unlike other existing shopping malls that mostly carry fashion, beauty, and restaurant brands.
The unique niche stores reflecting the localities of each town to reach out to certain consumers with personality have also flourished.  Some of the examples are the elCUBE, the shopping venue with low-priced beauty brands and the popular fashion and accessory brands of online SOHO malls for the college students in the 20s and Chinese tourists, and the Lotte Mall Eunpyeong, which opened last December 1 as a local-friendly shopping complex for Eunpyeong New Town.   
The traditional backstreet stores have also been transformed by individual small businesses, not mega distributors.  Seongsu-dong with many factories, Ikseon-dong with arrays of stores in the 70s~80s, Hannam-dong with trendy designer brands and cafés, and Yeonnam-dong and Mangwon-dong with unique personalities, have risen as new happening areas with localized commercial facilities.  
5. Smart Online Business: O2O, V-Commerce, VR Service
Online shopping launched in Korea back in 1996.  Celebrating the 20th anniversary this year, the online shopping market in Korea have achieved two-digit growth every year to grow into the world’s 7th largest market that is 54 trillion KRW in scale (as of 2015).  The fashion industry takes about 15.6%, which is second largest after the travel service.  This year, mobile shopping has exceeded online shopping to settle as the most important shopping channel.  
Many fashion companies, including Samsung C&T Fashion Group, the Handsome, Shinsegye International, Kolon, and Sisun International, newly launched and reorganized the online malls for their brands, while some brands of the major distributions and fashion industries are providing the O2O services connecting the online stores to the physical stores.  
Another type of MOT called V-Commerce (video + commerce) has settled as a marketing trend.  The one-way delivery of information has developed into fun contents for real-time communication with consumers and consumers can watch videos on various channels on SNS and MCN to learn about and purchase products.
6. Cost Effective Items: Cost-effective items for economic downturn.
As consumer-felt economic conditions are aggravating, more consumers have become conscious about cost-effectiveness.  With longer summer and early coming of winter, the unpredicted weather conditions have made versatile items that can be used in various seasons popular along with the reasonable consumer trend.  
The SPA brands have added to this with super-low-priced suits for men targeting the consumers who are accustomed to low prices.
E-Land Retail has launched M.I.SUIT, a suit brand priced from 90,000 KRW to 190,000 KRW, while Lotte Department Store has released MANITSUIT, a mid-priced men’s suit brand priced from 98,000 KRW to 398,000 KRW, and Ticket Monster a men’s suit brand priced around 50,000~60,000 KRW.  
Unlike the super-low-priced men’s suit items for the economic downturn, women’s apparel has presented reasonable items versatile for various TPO using materials that are high in quality for the prices.
Presenting highly cost-effective hit items will be the assignment of fashion brands in the coming year where low growth and low CCSI are expected to continue.
7. Sportism, Borderless: Sportism, borderless gray area.
Sportism, focused on athleisure, continued to be at the center of global fashion trend this year.  The athleisure wear for a healthy life while enjoying sports kept being hot in Korea.  
Global athleisure brands such as lululemon and Avocado have launched in the Korean market and Under Armor is preparing to launch directly in Korea early next year, aiming at competition with Nike.  
The outdoor market seems to have reached its peak and is expanding business with the fitness collection line available for both everyday activities and exercises.  Global SPA brands that instantly reflect global trends directly on its products are also focusing on raising revenues by strengthening the sports and athleisure lines.  Casual and men’s and women’s apparel brands have collaborated with other fashion lines and designers to keep up with the latest trends with the athleisure products. 
Borderless gray areas between fashion styles, such as the athleisure trend, have also been witnessed in design.  This year, the boundaries between genders and ages blurred with atypical and extraordinary styles that are genderless and ageless.
8. K-Style, K-Power: The growing K-Fashion and the powerful K-consumers
‘Descendants of the Sun’ became a great hit throughout Asia including Korea and China and boosted the Korean Wave once again after ‘My Love from Another Star.’  The Korean Wave flows from the TV series and entertainment shows to the beauty and fashion industries to affect consumers in China and various other Asian countries.  With the Korean Wave, Samsung C&T Fashion Group’s ‘8 Seconds’ have collaborated with G-Dragon and opened the first store in Shanghai last September to actively target the Chinese market.
Even ‘Vetement’, which has been the hottest brand in the fashion industry this year, chose Seoul as the venue for the Garage Sale, manifesting that Seoul has become a truly attractive and critical test bed for business in Asia for the global fashion industry. 
Many local brands have also launched global businesses in exchange.  Samsung C&T Fashion Group’s women’s brand ‘KUHO’ planned launching in New York through the ’16 SS Collection last September and operated a showroom during the ’17 S/S New York Fashion Week to attract and satisfy many buyers from the renowned department stores and shops.
9. Rising Small Brands: Online and designer brands.
Online SOHO brands carrying low-priced trendy items has blurred the boundaries between online and offline to mark a remarkable growth this year.  Korea’s major online brand, ‘Stylenanda’ opened the third flagship store in Myeong-dong as a pink hotel, while Ribbon Tie opened Merci in Itaewon for both fashion and lifestyle products and Imvely collaborated with Lotte Department Store to reach out to the local commercial spheres through Lotte Busan Gwangbok, Ulsan, and Daegu, starting with Lotte Young Plaza Myeong-dong and elCUBE.    
Consumers who are tired of the mass-produced and personality-less online brands or SPA brands have turned to new designer brands with unique personality and reasonable prices.  Single-designer brands were difficult to survive because of lack of MOT with consumers, but independent online stores and active SNS communication have expanded their influence in the market.  
Also, the number of shops, noted with sensible merchandizing for the wholesale business, has increased sharply and the designer brands have settled as a major content in the local fashion market this year.
10. Mindful Life: Pursuit of my own space for relaxation and humble happiness of life.
Those who have lived tiring lives in the success-centered society of keen competition have turned to pursue psychological stability and emotional comfort in their own ‘homes’ for relaxation.  The modern people’s awareness of ‘home’ has led to their interests in home-furnishing for the growth of the related industries.
The Statistics Korea prospected that Korea’s interior and home goods market will exceed 18 trillion KRW by 2023 as it has grown by 70% compared to 2008 and reached 12.5 trillion KRW in 2015. This year, many global low/mid-priced home goods and lifestyle brands, including ‘Flying Tiger Copenhagen’ and ‘Miniso’ of Japan, have launched in Korea to attract many consumers.
Reflecting the psychology of modern people who seek healing in the busy daily grind, plants have become widely popular for emotional comfort in the heart of the city.  Planterior (Plant + Interior) has been applied to the commercial spaces and pet plants have been introduced for homes for emotional rest and comfort.
Tired of the ongoing economic depression, unexpected political manipulation, and fast-paced society, the modern people are expected to focus on today without worrying for the future and pursue humble happiness and leisure for the emotional comfort and satisfaction.
Preview 2017
Prospects for the 2017 Fashion Market
[Keywords for the 2017 Fashion Market: Beyond Fashion]
Market Market Fragmentation:
Segmentation and diversification of taste.
Brand Selfness:
Differentiated contents for personality and culture of brands.
Style Minimal Maximalism:
Mix-and-match beyond gender and season.
Solution Personal Concierge:
Personalized information and convenience services.

“The year 2017 is expected to see the micronization of consumer needs and the innovation of business paradigm triggered by advanced technology behind artificial intelligence, big data, and virtual reality,” said Assistant Director Hee Kyung Park, Samsung Fashion Institute..
‘Beyond Fashion,’ a suggestion of contents for micronized tastes beyond fashion.
Economic analyzers have recently released the prospects for Korea’s growth for 2017, and the number was approximately 2%.  

Growth by 2% for three consecutive years since 2015 means a very serious situation compared to the IMF rescue funds and the global economic recess, and even a dead-end for consumption and investment.  Internationally, a number of political variables would negatively impact the Korean economy in 2017, including President Donald Trump’s protectionism and the possibility of China’s slow growth and banning of business with Korea.
Technologically, the 4th industrial revolution will blast off for the innovation of artificial intelligence and virtual reality. China, in particular, attracted attention this year by renewing the records of highest revenues on the Single’s Day and by boasting the level of its IT technology.  Alibaba presented an AI secretary service called ‘Ali Xaomi’ and the ‘Buy+’ with the virtual reality (VR) technology.  Alibaba’s competitor, Jingdong, has introduced the ‘three manless’ technology, referring to the manless warehouses, manless devices, and manless drone delivery, where its independently developed robots take charge of delivery, sorting, and packaging at its 100% automated manless warehouses.  
It is noticeable that China has attempted advanced services beyond imagination with the state-of-the-arts IT technology, proving the highest level of distribution technology in the world.  

‘Connectivity’ and ‘convergence’ have been mentioned as the major topics for the ‘CES 2017,’ the world’s greatest home appliance fair to be held in the beginning of next year, so the year of 2017 would be marked by the ‘convergence’ of industries through the new and innovative ‘IoT’ technologies and the latest IT technologies for the mobile connection for the overall convenience and evolution of our lives.
New designer brands are leading the consumption that reflects individual personality and taste.  The emergence of Indi brands and Dongdaemun-based shops for new values targeting micronized tastes will accelerate the micronized market segmentation along with the micronization of consumer taste.
Consumers will rather consider whether each brand’s culture would match their taste.  This means that ‘selfness’ of the differentiated contents that clearly reflect the personality of brand will determine the value of brand.  
Fashion styles will also pursue both maximalism and minimalism, with the touch of the 80s~90s street fashion, athleisure sportism, and romanticism.  Unique mix-and-match look and witty details that look minimal yet edgy will urge the consumers to express their unique taste.  
‘Personal concierge’ would be stressed as a keyword that accelerates the shift in the fashion market, brand value, and style.  As consumers can easily use the mobile platform to search fashion information and make purchases, consumer big data can be collected by age, TPO, and taste.  Personal concierge service will be actively adopted for business to provide personalized information and convenience for shopping with minimal efforts in real-time according to consumer context.