Samsung Fashion Research Center’s 10 Fashion Keywords of ’17 and Preview of ’18 Fashion Market Samsung Fashion Research Center’s 10 Fashion Keywords of ’17 and Preview of ’18 Fashion Market
Review 2017
10 Fashion Keywords of 2017
1. Struggle
Began with the candle protest, the year 2017 had many negative issues for the fashion market due to the impeachment of president and China’s THAD revenge.  According to the trends of household income and expenditure released by the Statistics Office, the real income of households dropped compared to the previous year and expenses for clothes and shoes also continued the declivity for three consecutive years since 2013.
The fashion revenues of department stores, the major fashion channel of the traditional market, also dropped from 78.6% in 2012 to nearly 70% in the 3rd Quarter of 2017 and major fashion brands in Korea showed poor performance in the fashion market.
2. Home Platform
With the growing number of single-person households and interests in self interior design, the lifestyle market has constantly grown since 2016.  In 2017, many became conscious about health and safety because of the avian influenza, insecticide-contaminated eggs, and unhealthy sanitary napkins, so creating my own space for psychological tranquility and relaxation has become the trend.  
The concept of a house has shifted from ‘something you own’ to ‘the space of residence and life,’ so more items related to wearing, eating, and decorating according to your lifestyle in your home have been consumed.
Moreover, the HMR (Home Meal Replacement), satisfying the needs for ‘meals just like homemade meals’ and ‘easily prepared meals,’ grew up to 2,254.2 trillion KRW as of 2016.
In the fashion industry, home wear items, including loungewear, were popular.
8 Seconds’ Saewookkang pajamas or SPAO’s Crayon Shin-chan pajamas were sold out on the online stores and re-selling them was popular on SNS and online Cafés.
3. Both Sides of Consumption: Wasting for fun and stupid
In the era of slow growth when it is hard to plan for the future due to falling real income of households and growing unemployment rate of young men and women, younger people are showing two different behaviors of consumption to relieve stress and pursue mental fulfillment.  In the first half, ‘wasting for fun’ was the keyword as wasting small amount of money for fun was hot.  Specifically, it involved purchasing affordable stationeries, stuffed animals, or home goods, drawing stuffed animals, or buying little things at a drug store or Daiso.  This form of consumption satisfies one’s desire to consume for both happiness and fulfillment.
In the second half, on the other hand, ‘Saeng Min Kim’s Receipt’ became a great hit on Podcast and ‘stupid’ made a statement for the people to reflect on consumption without second thoughts.  It rang an alarm for the YOLO lifestyle and refreshed the meaning of traditional value of frugality, reflecting the consumers’ fatigue and anxiety caused by the society’s ceaseless urge for them to consume.
4. CX (Customer Experience)
Newly opened shopping complexes clearly supported the trends to expand experiential contents rather than fashion to mark the beginning of CXCustomer Experience.
Fashion brands are opening stores where their identities and values can be experienced.  KUHO Flagship Store in Hannam-dong allows customers to experience premium tea culture and lifestyle and curates various lifestyle items to expand the fashion contents.
This year, cultural spaces such as bookstores have risen as key tenants to satisfy people’s desire for Humanities value and intellectuality.
Star Garden Library, opened last May in Starfield COEX, has settled as a landmark where visitors can enjoy new intellectual experiences.
In alleyways, independent bookstores at Haebangchon, Yeonhee-dong, and Seochon gained popularity.  Each independent bookstore has unique taste and recommendations to provide personalized contents to consumers with diverse needs.
5. Consumer Oblige
The experience in participating through the fast-paced political topography from the end of last year contributed to consumers’ culture to express their taste, philosophy, and faith more actively.
The fashion industry actively presented the slogan fashion to express one’s view or political stance through England’s Brexit voting and the American presidential election.  On the runway, DIOR represented the voices of feminist movements with t-shirts saying ‘WE SHOULD ALL BE FEMINISTS’ for the 2017 SS Collection.
As a brand’s value or social contribution activities have more influence on consumers than ever, Gucci, a premium designer brand, declared that they will not use fur in their future collections for animal protection and Patagonia, working for the environment and recycling, has newly presented recycled cashmere.  Many brands work for campaigns and sponsorship activities to appeal their ethical awareness and value.
6. Retail Reformation
According to the results of a survey by the Statistics Office, the online fashion market recorded about 10 trillion KRW as of 2016 after growing by 21% compared to the previous year and already 9.3 trillion KRW as of October 2017, reflecting nearly 10% growth compared to the past year.  On the other hand, the structural reformation of fashion distribution has become an irreversible flow with the stagnancy of department stores and fewer fashion stores in the newly opened shopping complexes.  The fast-growing e-commerce market is undergoing a shift of paradigm to the mobile platform and ceaseless innovation and professionalization including personalization services with AI, connection between online and offline stores, and T-commerce.
Fashion companies are upgrading their online stores to dominate the online market.  They are suggesting original contents to reach out to the mobile-friendly younger generations and focusing on the lock-in strategies to keep them from leaving their stores.
SSF Shop of Samsung C&T Fashion Group has released Beanpole Lady’s online exclusive Green Beanpole and Coffee Beanpole and launched Beanpole Kids as an exclusive online brand for market dominance.  
The online and mobile stores also provide O2O and expedited shipping services to stay ahead of competition.
7. The Great Minors: Influence of micro influencers
With the diversification of taste of consumers and the expansion of brands outside the systems to satisfy them, SNS markets run by Blogs or Instagram have been popular among the younger consumers of 1020.
Professional platforms have also emerged to manage the powerful online influencers to support their offline business.
On the alleyways in Seongsu-dong and Seochon, those influencers have gathered for free markets such as Ddingul Market, Majuchijang, or Thirty Market and incubated micro brands reflecting their taste to increase influence in various distribution channels.
8. Fashion lose, Bench Parka win: The era of no hit items
In 2017, the fashion industry had no hit items.  This means that it is difficult for a single item to win support everywhere as consumers’ taste has diversified and there are many brands in and outside the systems, making the competition of distribution channels much fiercer.
Despite these market circumstances, the greatest hit of 2017 was the Bench Parka.  
So-called ‘Pyeongchang Padding,’ the lengthy padding for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was not a big issue in the early stage, but it made to the top of the real-time search keyword list and sold fast after an idol was caught wearing a similar item on the last stage of the Olympics concert last November 4.
The lengthy padding advertised by Super Junior around that time also sold about 19,000 pieces in just an hour and made 2.5 billion KRW.
The secret of these hit items in this time of diverse taste is thought to be the cost-efficiency, rarity, and buzz in the market.
9. Relaxed Formal Code
The styles and items leading the latest trends reflect the tendency to reinforce the influence of casual wear, such as hooded sweatshirts and lengthy padding.   
The typical dress code of business people and office workers has shifted from formal suits to more relaxed fit with the evolution of taste and atmosphere, so formal wear, especially suits, is not sold as much, but the set-up style with mix-and-match jackets and pants is more popular.
Samsung Fashion Research Center has named the set-up style with minimal formality for styling according to one’s taste the ‘Manners Suit.’
As more consumers want comfortable clothing in women’s apparel, versatile suits have been popular for practical styling with less formality.
Samsung C&T Fashion Group’s ‘KUHO’ has expanded the ‘Edit Line’ launched in the second half of 2016 to sell over 80% in the first half of this year and gain popularity among 2030 consumers.
Also, ‘SUITSUPPLY’ carries set-up styles that can mix and match various sizes, fabrics, colors, and styles and runs an alternation department in the store to alter the suits to fit each customer and satisfy consumers’ taste for reasonable prices.
10. Street & Heritage
The biggest issue of the fashion industry in 2017 was the collaboration of Louis Vuitton and Supreme.  Supreme, which was once sued for borrowing Louis Vuitton’s Monogram pattern, officially collaborated with Louis Vuitton with its reputation in the market and successfully added a radical and cool image to the rigidity of Louis Vuitton.
On the runway, the collaboration of Burberry and Gosha Rubchinskiy represents the new uniqueness driven by the variation of traditional steady-selling items with the practical and radical street mood.
The street mood also contributes to heritage styling represented by athleisure and retro fashion.
Preview 2018
The Fashion Market of 2018

[Keywords of the Fashion Market of 2018: Hyper Connected Society]
Market Unpredictable & Variable: New standards.
Business Platform First: Platform for consumer experience.
Brand Interrelation: Mutual interrelation with consumers.
Style Sloungewear: Styling for comfort and psychological stability in life.
Solution Agile & Flexible: Agile and flexible response.

Hyper Connected Society’ – The micro taste of the era of variability linked to authentic experience.
The prospects for the Korean economy in 2018 are generally positive.  The Bank of Korea predicted that Korea’s economic growth would exceed 3.0% this year and next year with the resuming consumption of common people.
Chinese tourists started coming back after the Thad revenge last December and 390,000 tourists are expected to enter Korea for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February to contribute to the tourism industry.  
The shift of consumption from tangible items to emotional and service consumption with the development of economy is called ‘product defection’ and the coming of the ‘age of product defection’ will accelerate in 2018.  As the focus of consumption has shifted from products to experience and participation and from purchase behaviors to the service and emotional experience, including the process and place, fashion also reflects consumers’ higher standards and any item with disposable value will not be chosen by consumers.
How consumers view space has also begun to change.  From private spaces in homes to public spaces in distribution facilities or alleyways, consumers’ have higher expectations for experience and seek convenience when shopping.  All of these factors should be reviewed thoroughly to look at all spaces as platforms that mutually interact with consumers.
While the influence of digital influencers using SNS and Blogs is growing, personalized communication would be an everyday thing for consumers.  As they now have a different view of communication, mutual connectivity would be more important for consumers’ relationships with companies and brands.
In fashion styles, the time and space gap between runway collections and consumers will narrow down for realistic fashion to emerge.  Collections are also approaching consumers’ everyday lives by hiring non-celebrity models and putting shows at parks, subways, and other mundane places instead of on stages.  Easy-wear that is easy and comfortable to wear without stress is the key and Slounge wear that combines the functionality of athleisure and the comfort of loungewear also attracts attention.
“As barriers have fallen for everything, including between individuals and between individuals and brands, and everything is closely related in 2018, ‘Hyper Connected Society’ will be the major keyword,” said Ji Eun Lee, the Group Manager of Samsung Fashion Research Center.  “Brands must continue communication on the platform that is linked with individual consumers and increases consumer experience and companies should accept variability as the new standard to consider consumer experience, convenience, cost-effectiveness, innovation, and personalized services from a multifaceted perspective to react with agility.”