5 Key Drivers for success

May 2020


“From survival to recovery, now is the time to design and manufacture differently in order to stay relevant in a post-covid world.”

As brands and retailers continue to work through the immediate impacts of the pandemic, thoughts turn to life after lockdown. Trend forecaster Chantell Fenton and CCO Alex Ingildsen at LTP Group discuss design and development priorities for post-virus success.

Despite the challenges the industry currently faces now is the time to reflect and think differently. BoF assembled a team of independent designers, CEOs and retail executives to publish a proposal which would overhaul the industry. From realigning the fashion calendar to rethinking the show format and reassessing discount dependancy. The project dubbed #rewiringfashion is supported by many top brands globally.

Many experts agree, the post-pandemic return will be rooted in radical transformation. The five key areas to focus on are sustainability, digital, innovation, supply chain and partnerships.

1. Sustainability First

Sustainability will play a pivotal role in the industries recovery. It’s definitely not the time to put social responsibility on the back burner. Rather than postponing green initiatives, brands must rebuild with eco-conscious values at the core.

As the coronavirus temporarily stalls climate change momentum and the possibility of an alternative future emerges, consumers become more aware of the issues. Future consumers will demand brands take a strong stance on social and environmental issues.

The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone. In a landscape where it's difficult to know what to do and where to focus your efforts, collaboration and cooperation will be key for a sustainable future. Cross-industry, interdisciplinary approaches will be vital to tackle complex, interwoven challenges.

Gain support from manufacturers that operate authentic CSR and comply with the highest international certifications for best practice including Bluesign®, IVN/GOTS and/or REACH compliance. Opt for sustainable fabrications. Commercialise circular models and zero-waste initiatives. Invest in innovative made in nature materials. Look to long-time advocates like Raeburn, Houdini, Reformation and Filippa K who have embedded sustainability into the brands DNA, putting people and planet first.

Mate the_label, image source    https://matethelabel.com/
Mate the_label, image source HTTPS://MATETHELABEL.COM/

2. Work with A Trusted Partner

Now more than ever it’s vital to work with a manufacturer you can trust given the ongoing restrictions around travel, and other business practices.

As supply chain roadblocks continue to present themselves the world over, one global partner with a network of facilities mitigates the risk of over-reliance on a single region without the hassle of managing various suppliers. A geographically diverse supply chain is key to de-risk product development and production.

Many brands will also accelerate near-shoring, according to McKinsey. Valuing flexibility and responsive production in the wake of the crisis.

LTP Group, image source   http://www.l-t-p.com/
LTP Group, image sourceHTTP://WWW.L-T-P.COM/

3. Invest in Next-level Innovation

Covid-19 could act as a catalyst for innovation. Post-virus, brands must step-up their R&D efforts, aiming to think the unthinkable. Creative agency Portas advocates innovation as an imperative for future success declaring

“Average is Over”

Drive new and exciting product developments by harnessing state-of-the-art technologies, cutting edge fabrics and innovative manufacturing techniques. Draw inspiration from trailblazers such as Vollebak and Byborre who fuse the latest science and technology to create advanced apparel with enhanced performance.

Janis Sne, image source    @janis.sne
Janis Sne, image source @JANIS.SNE

4. Digitize the Design Process

The pandemic has forced many to hit the pause button. This period of self-reflection, affords brands the time to rethink best-practice. Matthew Drinkwater, Head of the Fashion Innovation Agency explains

“This is an opportunity to redefine business models and build a more sustainable, progressive future”

To facilitate a post-pandemic recovery, brands must adopt cutting-edge technology. Many early-adopters champion 3D design software sighting improved productivity and efficiencies. Visualisation software speeds-up the design process by displaying all changes immediately on true-to-life 3D renders thus eliminating unnecessary physical sampling and shipping costs. With significant restrictions around travel and face-to-face meetings virtual showrooms and digital prototyping will be integral to maintaining strong relationships with buyers, retailers and consumers. Digitizing the supply chain from end-to-end will, of course, require investment but this technology will transform the industry.

The Fabricant, image source    https://www.thefabricant.com/
The Fabricant, image source HTTPS://WWW.THEFABRICANT.COM/

5. Time to Collaborate

Despite social distancing, people have come out in mass to support one another. BoF have hosted a series of live events which have connected industry leaders and professionals from across the globe. The publication affirms

“The future is collaboration not competition“

Brands need not struggle to get through the pandemic alone. Inter-industry alliances and partnerships even between previously considered ‘competing’ organisations will be key to survival. By sharing resources brands can supercharge creativity whilst also reducing costs, for example investments associated with material innovation. Pooling resources ensures brands can focus on delivering on consumers’ wants and needs in surprising, new ways.

Sense Of Self (SOS), image source    https://www.sos-senseofself.com/
Sense Of Self (SOS), image source HTTPS://WWW.SOS-SENSEOFSELF.COM/