Dramatic changes in the fashion world are affecting the whole value chain, from initial product creation all the way to sale. Globalisation, digital technology and changing lifestyles have shifted the focus from supply to demand, which requires a much greater understanding of the consumer.
The traditional four seasons are giving way to a seasonless cycle within a Fast Fashion model. While the established fashion shows and collection presentation seasons in Florence, Milan, Paris and New York continue, designers and fashion houses are revolutionising the concept, by showing menswear and womenswear collections together, mixing items typically associated with Spring/Summer with those for Fall/Winter.
Thanks to digital technology, the catwalk is hitting the high street almost instantly as social media publishes images from the fashion shows and the collection photos, attracting an audience that shops in every channel.
This transformation in the market demands continuous creativity and manufacturing speed, to the extent that many high-end fashion companies now showcase seven to nine collections a year. This is also due to the fact that, as they increase market share online and reach new consumers in new territories, online collections are no longer season-specific but adapted to the demands of consumers from different cultures, geographies and subject to different weather patterns.
This new commercial reality is forcing companies to change their relationship with both their internal and external supply chain, where manufacturers no longer respond to seasonal peaks, but are scheduling production constantly and continuously. Both manufacturers and distributors must therefore adapt to the pace of the digital world so as to minimise lead times between the launch of a new collection and product availability in stores and online.
To cope with this transformation, traditional business models are no longer relevant. To achieve their sales targets, companies have to surmount their current manufacturing and supply restrictions.
Responding to the “see now, buy now” phenomenon with top-quality items means adopting processes and tools that can bring the purchase and manufacturing stage forward.
To satisfy the new market rules, the supply chain needs new provisions that can predict demand well in advance. The estimated demand then allows for better purchase and manufacturing planning. The real-time control of the various processing stages, carried out in the factory or in the lab, avoids delays and allows inefficiencies to be compensated for. Modern, smooth logistics aids distribution to consumers.
However, companies must aim for balance between the aggressive demands of the market and product quality – creativity and craftsmanship must be maintained and they cannot be rushed. And the time required to manufacture a fashion item cannot be compressed. The raw materials must be carefully selected, supplied in the right quantities and colours, and checked on arrival at the warehouse. Leather and fabric can be flawed – quality control is a vital stage and demand valuable time. The craftsmanship that goes into making them means fabulous items can be created, but processing them, and the final inspection, take time. Clearly, the manufacturing process cannot be set in motion after the collection has been shown. It’s all about planning earlier so that manufacturing can respond more quickly once collections come off the catwalk.
Every day, Dedagroup Stealth specialists and fashion consultants work hand in hand with the most important names in fashion to help them take on this challenge, supporting them in their strategic and implementation decisions.
Together with them we design new transformation processes and via our Stealth system, we aid and organise the operations of each business area. We offer them all the experience we have gained over many years in business.
Turning ideas into efficient processes and assisting clients on their digital transformation: this is what we do every day.