The Role of Digital Processes in the Rise of "Nimble" Fashion Brands
In today’s “Era of Instagram,” Fashion Brands that attempt to go-to-market using the best practices they employed just a few years ago, will fail. Consumer trends shift almost daily. This means that designers and brand managers need a new level of nimbleness in order to both quickly respond to these shifts and to achieve their profit targets.
The current process is broken
The old, extravagant method to introduce and then deliver fashions is far too reactive for the current marketplace. In this model, brands must:
Create the design concepts
Showcase the fashions via large scale runway-type events
Perfect the garments for style and production considerations
Price, produce, and distribute the inventory to retail channels
Sell what they can at retail (with the consumer expected 30% - 40% discount), then at discount outlets with even smaller profit margins
Destroy excess inventory
This process relies on an outdated, serial sequence of steps with several manual stages and impractical lead times. A new approach is needed in order to address the evolving requirements of the market.
The transition to digital increases flexibility, customer satisfaction and profit
Success in the Direct-to-Consumer environment requires a rethinking of the entire strategy. The new paradigm calls for fashion brands to implement automated systems that collect, exchange, and reuse information at every stage in the process. Allowing manufacturers to predict and/or react to the dynamics of the market in real time.
A digital design, selling and production/distribution approach provides a proven solution. In this scenario, fashion brand team leaders are able to:
· Develop innovative and market-ready design concepts
· Present, refine and then sell the fashions using virtual retailing solutions
· Rapidly produce custom garments on demand
In the example shown here, the process started with a 3D CAD model of an existing product concept. All other design, sells/marketing, and production teams utilize and then add information to the model. This creates a linked and efficient setting where every team derives direct benefit from the efforts of the others.
Enhance the design based on real-time consumer feedback
In the digital environment, designers can use the initial 3D CAD models to quickly create photo realistic images of their concepts. They can then present the samples to consumers instantly via their “always on,” smartphone enabled lifestyles. While brick and mortar stores will continue to play a large part in the experience, shopping has evolved with dramatically increased use of on-line and pop-up outlets.
As brand managers collect feedback, they can even allow for areas of customization or personalization defined directly from their target audience. A benefit that is nearly impossible to achieve using the current go-to-market process.
Collect orders before producing the garments
A large percentage of the material waste and cost burden incurred by fashion brands results from the legacy practices. The current model is to produce the garments and place them in inventory at retail establishments before they are sold. Using digital processes, potential buyers can view, personalize, and then purchase each item. It is only after the purchase that the garments are manufactured.
Utilize on-demand production techniques
Once the order is submitted, the digital-driven, mass customization process enables pattern makers to convert the 3D CAD model into 2D patterns. These patterns can be integrated with custom graphics, printed on textile printers, then manufactured using automated cutting and sewing or 3D bonding equipment. The custom garments are then shipped to the consumer. The entire process occurs in roughly the same amount of time as buying and receiving a typical Amazon.com-type order for an off-the-shelf item.
The benefits to your business can begin today
The transition to digital reduces lead times, increases profitability and virtually eliminates inventory waste. These technologies are available today to help your business to become more nimble, responsive, and profitable. To learn more, click on the link to schedule a time to speak with one of our experts.