Skip to content

From production to the clothes rail: 6 trends in the textile industry

The increasing demand for individuality and the influence of digitalization are bringing about major changes in the textile industry. What key trends must innovation managers respond to in order to play a pioneering role in the industry?

In the future, brand image will no longer be the decisive factor; instead, the trend will be toward data-driven recognition and addressing of customers' individual needs.

In an era in which individuality is replacing uniformity and digitalization is revolutionizing our lifestyles, the fashion industry is undergoing a transformation like never before. From personalized sneakers to smart shirts and intelligent insole sensors – the future of the textile industry is characterized by unique designs and innovative technology. 

Trends that are turning the industry upside down

Find out how the textile industry can reinvent itself to meet the increasing demands of consumers. 

Trend 1: customized and technologized clothing

Industry gurus see great future potential in the digitalization of textile products. Analytical Research Cognizance, for example, estimates the global "smart textiles" market to be worth USD 457.62 bn by 2025. This means the market will continue to grow. Drivers for this include a rising standard of living, an increased need for security, and advances in medicine.1

The requirements for the products themselves are therefore changing. "Wearable technology" and "functional clothing" will be part of everyday life in the near future.

Examples of digitalization in the textile and fashion industry:


  1. Personalized sneakers
    Nike By You is a personalized sneaker campaign that allows consumers to design and customize their own sneakers. You can create your own unique pair of sneakers from a variety of models, colors, materials, and personalized options.
    The Nike By You campaign is successful because it emphasizes individuality, builds a strong community around the personalized products, and offers the opportunity to create a product that exactly matches your ideas and needs.
  2. Smart shirts
    Another example of wearable technology in the textile industry is the smart shirt from Hexoskin. The shirt collects various biometric data about the wearer. The smart shirt is used in medical research, for example, to monitor patients outside the hospital and collect long-term health data. Athletes use the collected data to optimize their training sessions and improve their performance.
  3. Smart soles
    The smart sensor soles from Stapp One are equipped with textile pressure sensors. The innovation from Austria is used daily for gait analysis and partial load training in the medical field. This innovative product is used in prevention, diagnosis, and rehabilitation to enable patients to lead healthy and pain-free lives in the long term. 

The combination of customized and technological textile products will lead to more adaptive products in the future. They adapt to the individual needs of the wearer even after purchase. In addition, the networking of clothing via smartphone will become increasingly important.

Trend 2: automation of the value chain

The automation of value chains in the textile industry continues to advance, particularly in the areas of production and logistics.

The consequences:

  1. A dramatic reduction in production times: disruptive innovations such as automatic sewing machines and industrial 3D printers enable a significant reduction in production times.
  2. Acceleration of logistics processes: in order to remain competitive in the textile industry, delivery times must become ever shorter. This is not just about optimizing logistics processes, but also about transparent communication along the entire value chain.

Trend 3: digitalization and sustainability

Intelligent sensor technology can reduce production waste in the textile industry. Waste generated during the manufacturing process can thus be reduced. This also reduces costly rejects, which would usually have to be disposed of otherwise. Appropriate sensors and control systems in production lines can increase resource efficiency. For example, by allowing yarn quantities on bobbins to be calculated more precisely. This greatly minimizes production waste.2

An efficient data collection workflow in the textile industry is also becoming increasingly important in the circular economy. Intelligent solutions for seamless data gathering at product level make it easier for the textile industry to comply with evolving EU regulations for sustainable products, such as eco-design, EPR schemes, green claims, etc.

Trend 4: decoupling infrastructure and supply

In the course of digitalization, the textile industry is also seeing an increasing decoupling of infrastructure and supply. Brick-and-mortar retail is affected in two ways in this respect: on the one hand, online stores and marketplaces siphoned off considerable market share before the textile industry was able to react adequately. On the other hand, the point of sale will increasingly shift to the digital realm in the future. Social media and influencer marketing have changed purchasing and consumer behavior. 

The merging of online and brick-and-mortar stores requires a rethinking of purchasing processes. This involves a suitable combination of digital and analog concepts that are suitable for the respective customer. The integration of analog and digital channels must therefore be linked to customer profiles in order to enable personalized offers at the respective point of sale. While digitalization is a threat to brick-and-mortar retail, it also offers a wide range of opportunities through new sales channels.  

Example: shopping experience with augmented reality

Converse, for example, gave its customers the opportunity to try on shoes virtually in augmented reality with the app "The Sampler".

Trend 5: personalized communication

For fashion companies, the changing needs of consumers will require a rethink in communication. Personalized communication across all analog and digital channels will become a central component of a successful business model. Textile manufacturers should also take this into account.

In order to achieve a corresponding dialogue with consumers, a detailed, digital profiling of the users is required. Big data, AI chatbots and clever CMS systems are an essential basis for creating a completely new form of interaction.

Attention: the chatbot at DPD made it clear that the use of AI technologies in business processes should be well planned. After the bot failed to provide any helpful information, the customer asked it whether would recommend DPD. The result was not especially positive for DPD, as the chatbot did not have a good opinion of the company.

"The general recommendation for clothing companies is to know your customer, think about how you can talk to them, and find the right channels", says Dr. Ulla Ertelt, Market and Future Research.

The digitalization of the textile industry also has an impact on presales/marketing activities and customer support. With various apps, social networks, and online portals, new communication channels have emerged that need to be incorporated into the overall strategy.

Trend 6: focusing on the needs of consumers

The "standard" customer is dying out. Instead, there is an increasing need for individuality. People's lives are increasingly influenced by devices that provide access to the digital world at all times. This not only has an impact on communication behavior, but also shapes consumer behavior to a large extent. Consumers' demands are becoming increasingly individualized, and they will no longer be responsive to "standard" products and "general" communication in the future.

In the future, even textile products and services will have to be adaptable enough to adjust to the changing needs of their wearers. However, this requires a good understanding of consumers' values and consumer behavior. Differentiated product marketing is therefore essential in order not to lose contact with consumers. 

Conclusion: the textile industry needs new business models

The textile industry is facing profound changes, triggered by the increasing demand for individuality and the advancing influence of digitalization. Innovative business models are crucial to successfully overcoming these challenges.

This requires increased personalization of products and services. Digital integration, including innovative technologies such as augmented reality, will be used even more in the future to enable a seamless omnichannel experience.

The focus is on the development of sustainable and smart textiles in order to create products that meet the trends in the fashion and textile sector. Manufacturers will not be able to avoid the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. This is the only way to shorten production times and speed up logistics processes.

Reducing waste and improving resource efficiency will become increasingly important due to legal drivers. The circular economy and transparent supply chains are therefore becoming a decisive competitive factor.

Business model innovations offer the textile industry opportunities here not only to respond to current changes, but also to play a pioneering role in a transforming industrial landscape.




Daniel Zapfl

With his comprehensive experience in holistic innovation management, Daniel brings valuable insights and best practices from various industries to your innovation project. He boldly and disruptively challenges conventional ways of thinking. As a TRIZ-certified sparring partner, Daniel will support you with creative solution-finding in a reliable and structured manner. More critical than the most discerning customer, he always has an eye on the big picture.

Sandwirtgasse 12/1
1060 Vienna
+43 1 288 73 65 


718 Walt Whitman Rd., Unit #672
Melville, NY 11747
+1 516 456 3656

© 2024 LEAD Innovation Management GmbH