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Big Data in fashion: transforming the retail sector

Emmanuel Sirimal Silva (Fashion Business School at University of the Arts London)
Hossein Hassani (University of Tehran, Iran)
Dag Øivind Madsen (University of South-Eastern Norway, Kongsberg, Norway)

Journal of Business Strategy

ISSN: 0275-6668

Article publication date: 23 July 2019

Issue publication date: 8 June 2020



Big Data is disrupting the fashion retail industry and revolutionising the traditional fashion business models. Nowadays, leading fashion brands and new start-ups are actively engaging with Big Data analytics to enhance their operations and maximise on profitability. In hope of motivating and providing direction to fashion retail managers, industry experts, and academics alike, the purpose of this paper is to consider the most recent and trending applications of Big Data in fashion retailing with the aim of concisely summarising the industry’s current position and status.


This conceptual paper provides a brief introduction to the emerging topic of Big Data in fashion retailing by briefly synthesising findings from industry, market and academic research.


Most existing fashion brands are yet to fully engage with Big Data. The authors find that the main reasons underlying the application of Big Data analytics in fashion are trend prediction, waste reduction, consumer experience, consumer engagement and marketing, better quality control, less counterfeits and shortening of supply chains. The authors also identify key challenges which must be overcome for the most fashionable industry to be able to capitalize on Big Data to understand and predict fashion consumer behaviour.

Research limitations/implications

The brief synthesis provides a foundation for future investigations into the use of Big Data in fashion retailing.


This paper serves as an up-to-date introduction to how Big Data can transform fashion retailing and can act as a sound reference guide for fashion industry managers and professionals grappling with Big Data-related issues.



Silva, E.S., Hassani, H. and Madsen, D.Ø. (2020), "Big Data in fashion: transforming the retail sector", Journal of Business Strategy, Vol. 41 No. 4, pp. 21-27.



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