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Fashion in the Face of COVID-19

May 15th, 2020 by Melissa Dalarossa

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To rally against the havoc of COVID-19, the fashion sector must make innovative changes to its design and production process.

Pre-COVID

Sustainability, digitization, and innovation were predicted to be top trends for the fashion industry. A recent report released by Business of Fashion and McKinsey reinforces the topicality of those predictions today. Here are the top takeaways for a strong recovery strategy: 

Click to learn more, via McKinsey & Company

DIGITIZATION

With end-to-end digitization becoming increasingly viable, brands that make their digital capabilities a priority will emerge from this crisis as leaders in the industry. 

Click to continue reading, via McKinsey & Company

 

1. Invest in digital supply chain platforms with innovative software for increased flexibility and adaptability in garment production.

SupplyCompass uses its cloud-based platform to act as a “digital middleman” between brands and their partner factories

Unmade’s software consolidates all essential product data into a one- stop digital production platform, allowing for detailed modifications and an intuitive user-experience when creating new SKUs. 

Click for more details, via Unmade

2. Turn to virtual design and 3D prototyping to phase out physical clothing samples with digital ones. 

Napapjiri, an outdoor fashion brand, enlisted digital fashion house The Fabricant to create digital samples for their latest collection.

Click to read more, via The Fabricant

 

Selfridges recruited 3D design collective DIGI-GAL to render virtual catwalks

Click for more details, via Selfridges

SUSTAINABILITY

The pandemic is accelerating an already-shifting consumer mindset towards purpose-driven and sustainable actions. Brands need to avoid greenwashing and adopt sustainability initiatives into their core business models to resonate with consumer values. Brands could: 

Partner with manufacturers that prioritize sustainability, such as Texon, BOMBYX, or Sonica Sarna Design

Click to learn more, via Sonica Sarna Design

Invest in made-to-order and mass customization services, shown to reduce overstock and textile waste, decrease return rates, and increase emotional product attachment and loyalty intentions in consumers. 

Develop a season-agnostic catalogue to balance inventory portfolios and downsize to fewer styles per collection with smaller production quantities. 

Consider how to incorporate climate-friendly values into brand messaging. 

INNOVATION

The brands of tomorrow will be the ones that invest in innovation by developing new tools and ways of thinking that cope with economic and consumer shifts. 

Reassess your priorities to respond to COVID-19. Nicolaj Reffstrup, co-owner of womenswear brand GANNI, told Forbes, “We will accelerate the digital strategy, reduce samples, implement a virtual showroom and break with the traditional fashion calendar…3D prototyping and sampling will be a priority and we are reducing the size of our collections.” 

“Saitex jean production for Everlane” — Click for more details, via Forbes

Build your data science practice to leverage big data and advanced analytics to locate areas for value improvement and optimization. 

The brands that survive the current crisis will be those who look ahead and act fast. Assess your needs and implement these strategies accordingly to ensure that your brand not only survives, but thrives. 

P.S. Wondering how can your business thrive in the midst of drastic change? refine+focus is offering a free personalized session with specific recommendations for how you can pivot your business and become more agile in the wake of COVID-19. Send us a note to hello@refineandfocus.com and tell us more about your business.

 

Cover photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response campaign

 

 

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