The State of Fashion 2019 | The Courage to “Self-Disrupt”

The fashion industry continues to hover in a state of flux . . . and we predict that 2019 will be a year shaped by consumer shifts linked to technology, social causes and trust issues, alongside the potential disruption from geopolitical and macroeconomic events. Only those brands that accurately reflect the zeitgeist or have the courage to “self-disrupt” will emerge as winners. – BoF and Mckinsey & Company

The management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company and online publication Business of Fashion in their ongoing partnership bring an analytical review and an authoritative point of view on the state of fashion in the year to come in the report The State of Fashion 2019, on which they lay out the main trends and developments to be expected in the year ahead.

Importance of Sustainable Fashion

“What do you think will be the single biggest challenge for the fashion industry next year”, a question asked from a survey of more than 270 global fashion executives and interviews of many of the industry’s thought leaders and pioneers.  Seven percent of the respondents answered, “the need to achieve greater sustainability and transparency”.  This is the first time in the three years of this reporting that sustainability and transparency are embraced as a strategic challenge, reflecting rising concerns from both consumers and brands.


Self-disrupt is the #1 trend that fashion executives predict that will shape the fashion industry in 2019.  Traditional brands are beginning to disrupt their own business models, image and offering in response to a new breed of small emerging brands that are accelerating thanks to decreasing brand loyalty and a growing appetite for newness.  The EDGE platform applauds this monumental shift.

Report Highlights

  • Greater China is expected to overtake the US as the largest fashion market in the world in 2019.
  • India becomes a focal point for the fashion industry as its middle class consumer base grows and manufacturing sector strengthens, projected to become the sixth largest apparel market by 2022.
  • Younger generations’ passion for social and environmental causes has reached critical mass, causing brands to become more fundamentally purpose driven to attract both consumers and talent.
  • The lifespan of the fashion product is becoming more elastic as pre-owned, refurbished, repair and rental business models continue to evolve.  44% of survey respondents believe the pre-owned business
    model will be more relevant in 2019 than in 2018.
  • 54% of survey respondents said increasing omnichannel integration (alongside investing in e-commerce and digital marketing) is their number one priority for 2019 for the third year running.
  • Social media has an increasingly important voice in dictating consumer demand, and it is helping small brands grow explosively.
  • 65% of survey respondents cited consumer needs for trust in product authenticity and creative originality in their top 5 trends for 2019 [ranked #2 out of 12].  Consumers expect transparency and sharing of information.
  • 62% of survey respondents believe changes in trade policy will pose potential risks to global economic growth.

Source: The State of Fashion 2019 (PDF–3MB), BoF and McKinsey & Company’s in-depth report on the global fashion industry in 2019, focusing on the trends, challenges, and opportunities impacting the sector and its performance.

Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor