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Agenda-setting intelligence, analysis and advice for the global fashion community.

The Best of BoF: Technology’s Tumultuous Year

In 2022, NFTs were down but not out, TikTok was up and AI took an even bigger role in fashion businesses. Explore BoF’s coverage of these and other year-defining trends like the effort to give every clothing item a digital identity and the shopping habits of the crypto wealthy.
Nick Knight NFTs
Nick Knight NFTs (SHOWstudio)

In tech, 2022 was the year the NFT bubble burst. Prices plummeted as investors anxious about the shaky economic climate ditched their riskiest assets, with crypto at the top of the list. Still, brands including Prada and Nike maintained their web3 dreams, touting a long-term opportunity in NFTs for community building and linking physical goods to digital identities. While the industry waits to see how these efforts will fare, it’s managing other problems.

With competition for digital ad space growing and online privacy measures disrupting how platforms serve ads, brands have been facing a scenario where their ads are more expensive to run and the returns harder to measure. They’re also adjusting to the rise of TikTok, which is challenging Instagram as fashion’s favourite social platform. Meanwhile, behind the scenes more have leaned into technology like AI for tasks like setting prices and virtual sampling to speed the design process.

Now all eyes are turning to the new crop of generative AI tools that threaten to shake up how fashion creates new products.

Top Stories

A text box hovering over a shot of a detail shot of a leather jacket over top a shirt has information such as brand on label, materials, retail price and more.

What Digital IDs Can Do for Fashion: Proponents of the effort to give every item its own digital identity say they’ll unlock numerous benefits for brands and shoppers alike. But for these IDs to work will require overcoming some big obstacles first.

Guests hold their smartphones to record the Boohoo by Kourtney Kardashian show during New York Fashion Week

How the Internet Disrupted Fashion’s Trend Cycle: The instant access to information and products provided by the internet is changing how we adopt trends and signal status, argues author W. David Marx in “Status and Culture,” leaving us worse off for it.

An illustrated data flow overlays a fashion store in the background.

5 Ways Retailers Can Gain an Edge Using Data: Given the amount of data fashion businesses are able to collect these days, it can be hard to pick out the information that matters. BoF spoke with brands and industry experts about the best ways to find the signal amid the noise.

A shot of Clo3D's software showing a split screen with a rendering of a three-dimensional garment on the left, and on the right, its two-dimensional pattern pieces.

The New Technologies Fashion Schools Are Teaching Students: Students are training in 3D design and data analytics as the fashion industry undergoes a digital transformation and readies itself for an increasingly virtual future.

A clothing tag displays care instructions, several symbols and indicates that the garment was made in the USA.

The Fashion Industry’s War on Clothing Tags: The fashion industry hates those annoying clothing labels as much as you do.

A photocollage shows the Takashi Murakami-designed avatars of RTFKT's founders and images of RTFKT's virtual sneakers with Nike.

For RTFKT and Nike, Sneaker NFTs Are Just the Start: RTFKT hasn’t slowed down since Nike acquired the company last year. Its founders have a bold vision for their brand’s future as they seek to bridge the digital and physical worlds.

A prompt on a computer screen allows the user to select from different clothing templates or to generate variations of an uploaded image.

AI Is Designing Clothes Now: Companies are starting to pitch AI tools that can generate new clothing designs from something as simple as a text description.

NFT debrief

The Debrief | What Happened With Fashion and NFTs? BoF technology correspondent Marc Bain unpacks the latest problem plaguing web3 creatives and hopefuls — and what it means for fashion’s future use of the technology.

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