The apparel industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by rise in e-commerce, data analytics, social responsibility, and supply chain management, and growing importance of technologies such as automation, blockchain, virtual and augmented reality. In the last three years alone, there have been over 57,000 patents filed and granted in the apparel industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in apparel: personalized lookbooks. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

20+ innovations will shape the apparel industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the apparel industry using innovation intensity models built on over 36,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, insulated composite fabrics, and reflective fabrics are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. e-textiles, personalized lookbooks, and AR-assisted measurements are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are functional undergarments and breathable fabrics, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the apparel industry

Personalized lookbooks are a key innovation area in apparel

Personalized lookbooks refer to curated collections of fashion or style recommendations that are tailored to an individual's preferences, tastes, and characteristics. These lookbooks can be created digitally, leveraging user data and algorithms to provide personalized fashion suggestions. They offer a convenient way for individuals to discover new styles, stay updated with fashion trends, and receive outfit recommendations based on their unique preferences.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 200+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established apparel companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of personalized lookbooks.

Key players in personalized lookbooks – a disruptive innovation in the apparel industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to personalized lookbooks

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
eBay 292 Unlock Company Profile
Apple 166 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 151 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 145 Unlock Company Profile 122 Unlock Company Profile
Memjet Technology 86 Unlock Company Profile
Metail 75 Unlock Company Profile
LG 71 Unlock Company Profile
Interactive Memories 69 Unlock Company Profile
Levi Strauss 58 Unlock Company Profile
Microsoft 53 Unlock Company Profile
Rakuten Group 39 Unlock Company Profile
Coupang 36 Unlock Company Profile
Alibaba Group 32 Unlock Company Profile
Brother Industries 32 Unlock Company Profile
Walt Disney 31 Unlock Company Profile
The Home Depot 28 Unlock Company Profile
Royal App 27 Unlock Company Profile
Meta Platforms 26 Unlock Company Profile
Qurate Retail 21 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 21 Unlock Company Profile
Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault 20 Unlock Company Profile
DXC Technology 20 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

eBay is one of the leading patent filers in personalized lookbooks. Some other key patent filers in the space include Apple and Samsung Group. Apple provides fashion lookbook apps such as WEAR, accessible through the Apple Store, which enables shoppers to track their fashion idols, acquire insights into current trends, and access details about their preferred labels and brands.

In terms of application diversity, Memjet Technology leads the pack, while Qurate Retail and Walt Disney stood in the second and third positions, respectively.

By means of geographic reach, Memjet Technology held the top position, followed by Metail and Interactive Memories.

Personalized lookbooks are created to market apparel products in a visually appealing and engaging way to attract more customers. Personalized lookbooks use automation tools and software that gather data about customer buying behavior enabling these to provide recommendations that are more relevant to the customer.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the apparel industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Apparel

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.