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Myth of ‘The Original’ : How everything is a Remix

Fashion Retail
We all want our brands, our products and ourselves to be unique and differentiated. When we probe in detail, we lean towards being an original in the eyes of our audience to create an authentic connection.
The questions I have been asking myself.
  • What is ‘Original’?
  • What can we learn from the innovation success stories?
  • How can we adopt the learnings to fashion & lifestyle?

This edit is an attempt to share perspectives on these question and get answers.

What is Original?

Dictionary definition is “noun”

the earliest form of something, from which copies may be made”Taking this definition further, earliest is always relative to the context of the audience. It need not be holistic.
Most often we look for that original idea and spend a lot of time to stand out in the market. Is that really required?

For eg. It is enough to be the earliest for your segment of consumers to stand out than taking the risk of standing out across the overall market. Also, the earliest form can be an independent component or a mixture of components put together in a unique way.

Understanding of the ways and means to be unique, can save all of us a lot of money and other resources and still connect with our audience in a unique way.

While researching on case studies of innovative brands, I came across this TED Video of Kirby Fergusen. He concludes after deep research across market segments,
“From Bob Dylan to Steve Jobs, most celebrated creators, borrow, steal and transform.”

Immerse yourself in this interesting TED Talk…

What can we learn from innovation ‘Success Stories’?

The case studies in the Fergusen video demonstrates that the creators copy some form of their product from another inspirational source.

We can not overlook the importance of asking this question:

“What should one copy,  from Where, and When?”

This is a non-trivial question. It needs a deep understanding of what is important to the audience from what is available in the entire market. The celebrities in the case studies had the knack of picking relevant pieces which are skills by itself. That is where Genius is.

The new formula for creativity is,

Henry Ford in his own words,

Woodie Guthrie, an American singer-songwriter, said…

This edit by itself is a creative act of Inspire +Transform and Combine.


How can we adopt the learnings to fashion & lifestyle?

Travel with me now to the world of fashion. It is a lot more challenging. There is no one single product that will make millions or billions in this industry unlike cases in Music and Electronics. With the huge proliferation of products and dynamism of the demand side, what to get Inspired by, what to Combine and Transform is non-trivial again. The sheer movement is overwhelming and there is a huge stress on the product side of the business all the time. 

We are in an era wherein technology is enabling what otherwise is humanly complex and impractical, into something that is possible.

What if we know the kinds of products consumers like, from our sources of Inspiration, that too real-time? Will it not make our life a lot easier on the inspiration side of the business? Spotting the right product, signature or trend is a critical first step.

Yes, it will not only speed up the process of design selection and validation but also will create business impact in terms of consumer pull (revenue velocity) and profitability.

This is the problem/challenge that we at Stylumia are solving for the fashion industry at large.

We can see this in reality with an example. One of our clients recently used Stylumia’s Fashion Brain (Artificial Intelligence for Fashion) and created a product innovation, which is not available in the market right now. This case follows exactly the principle elaborated in this edit, of Inspire+Transform & Combine.

This client was screening their Global Fashion Trend inspiring brand in Stylumia platform. They spotted Camo doing well, and, they observed engineered stripe in the winning quadrant. They smartly combined both the winners and created a new design language (representative product images below)

These products are flying off the shelf, replenished three times till date.

It is possible to create such white spaces on an ongoing basis with Stylumia and stand out in the marketplace with precision.

Article by Ganesh Subramanian


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