Interactive pop-up shops, blockbuster collaborations and other innovative concepts are becoming the norm for brands attempting to maintain relevance across generations. Millennials continue to be the driving force in this process, casting votes as to what's trending through likes, comments, and ultimately, their wallets. As social media continues to evolve, brands are harnessing next-generation technology to engage consumers. This has led to a fundamental shift in the way consumers discover, share, and buy products.

Increased visibility and transparency for digitally native brands has allowed for greater control over their respective narratives. As a result, a brand's ethos has never been more important. This can be seen clearly as the Acceptance Revolution amplifies and body positivity is embraced by brands and retailers alike. Plus-size fashion has finally gone mainstream, and brands with an authentic view on the category – everything from size and sku assortment to marketing campaigns – are well-positioned to benefit.

Distribution channels continue to evolve, with traditional brick and mortar retailers investing heavily in online capabilities to counter the rapid growth of their online peers. Retail vacancies have reached an all-time high as these traditional retailers further rationalize their footprint to address the pervasive shift to e-commerce. Ironically, many digitally native brands have begun to open physical stores of their own, translating online popularity into higher-converting retail foot traffic.

The often overused 'omni-channel' has never been more important, as brands – both old and new – look to be everywhere this next generation expects them to be. Now if only said expectations would hold still for a season or two.

Our quarterly apparel report aims to identify trends and provide insights across the apparel sector, including in-depth analysis of the global industry, focusing on key themes, issues and opportunities. We hope you continue to find this report and its future editions to be a useful source of information.

Apparel Quarterly Update – Summer 2018 from Duff & Phelps

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