Communicating Colour in Online Fashion Retailing

Julie King

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Abstract The origin of the word trend is an ancient one and can be traced back to Middle English and High German where its meaning was to turn, spin or revolve [1]; within fashion the imperative is to constantly evolve and create newness in order to stimulate consumer interest and sales. Fashion trends today are reflective of the contemporary, fast paced, innovative and pioneering century in which we now exist, focused on creative and technological progress. In the last decade a new approach to fashion retailing has developed, omni-channel, social networking savvy, with online only retailers eschewing the traditional bricks and mortar retail models [2]. Most young consumers access such sites through their mobile phones and tablets, the emphasis is on ensuring the product imagery is as accurate as possible; depicting colour and fabric pattern are vital elements to convey to a consumer. However, when over 70% of product sold is in basic or neutral colours such as black, white, navy or grey which are traditionally hard to achieve fine details through photography (Scully & Johnson Cobb, 2012), accurate reproduction, and detailed garment fit information is vital if garment returns are to be reduced and made cost effective to process. The research analysed a number of online only sites and assessed description of similar goods in the dresses category, selecting party, cocktail or evening dresses in dark hues. Interviews with two online retailers were conducted to ascertain if design decisions were ever influenced by on screen reproduction constraints or past experiences. Online trend forecasting sites were also considered, as often brands purchase trend information to supplement their own knowledge of the market (Hidefi, 2012). The results will show how the accurate depiction of colour and garments on hand held mobile devices is achieved, and any constraints placed upon design and buying teams when planning and developing fashion ranges. Conclusions will be drawn as to how omni-channel retailing and trend forecasters might work differently in future to support emerging technologies in the market, such as macro photography, and recommendations as to future areas of investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 14th Asian Textile Conference Proceedings
Place of PublicationHong Kong
PublisherThe Hong King Polytechnic University
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2017


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