The 10 trends that will define the fashion industry in 2024

The 10 trends that will define the fashion industry in 2024

16 Feb 2024

The 10 trends in The State of Fashion 2024, the annual benchmark report produced by The Business of Fashion (BoF) and McKinsey & Company, highlight growth opportunities that industry leaders can seize, even in the current environment of uncertainty and instability.

The fashion industry is looking ahead to 2024 with trepidation. The feeling of uncertainty stands out among fashion leaders, according to the BoF-McKinsey State of Fashion 2024 Executive Survey. Although faced with a combination of geopolitical, economic and climatic events that raise concern, these executives see reasons for optimism, and highlight 10 opportunities for 2024 in the report. 

1. A fragmented future
In 2024, the economic outlook is likely to remain unstable. As economic and geopolitical challenges weigh on consumer confidence, the fashion market faces different forces, requiring suppliers, brands and retailers to strengthen their contingency plans. 

2. Climate urgency
The frequency and intensity of the meteorological phenomena of 2023 have left the fashion sector's value chain particularly vulnerable. With climate risks worsening on all continents, the sector must build resilience and continue to reduce emissions.

3. In holiday mode
Consumers are gearing up for the biggest travel year since the pre-pandemic. Brands and retailers should consider renewing their strategies to meet traveller demand.

4. The new age of influence
A new range of creative personalities are gaining the attention of brands, winning the trust and sympathy of key audiences. Working with these personalities in 2024 will require new types of partnerships, an emphasis on video content and a willingness to cede some creative control.

5. The reinvention of the billboard
The boom in demand for technical outdoor clothing has been fuelled by the post-pandemic adoption of healthier lifestyles, and by "gorpcore", and is likely to intensify further in 2024. More outdoor brands will launch lifestyle collections, and in turn, more lifestyle brands will include technical elements in their collections, further blurring the line between functionality and style.

6. Creative crossroads of generative AI
After the generative AI boom in 2023, and successful use cases across the creative industry, the opportunity to capture the value of this transformative technology arises in 2024. This will require fashion players to look beyond automation and exploit its potential to complement human creative work.

7. Fast fashion power plays
Competitiveness in the fast fashion sector will increase even more next year. New competitors, led by Shein and Temu, are changing the market landscape. Success will depend on the ability of market players to adapt to evolving consumer preferences, while navigating the regulations that could affect the sector.

8. Focus on branding
Branding will once again take centre stage next year - the fashion industry is faced with a changing landscape in which performance marketing is no longer the focus. Consumers' emotional connection to brands will be critical, and fashion marketers must reorient their strategies to emphasise building their brands for the long term.

9. Sustainability regulations
The era of sustainability self-regulation in the fashion industry is coming to an end. In all jurisdictions, new sustainability regulations could have a widespread impact on the market. Brands and manufacturers are faced with the need to renew their models.

10. Bullwhip effect
Changes in demand have resulted in a "bullwhip effect", in which cuts in orders increase in magnitude in different parts of the supply chain, putting pressure on the sector's suppliers. In order for supply to keep pace with anticipated renewed demand, brands and retailers should consider focusing on transparency and strengthening strategic partnerships.