There is a misalignment between supply and demand in global fashion, said Sarah Curran-Usher, co-founder of Fitzrovia Investment Advisors and retail advisor to True Fit at True Fit’s June 11 webinar – Restitching Apparel’s Supply Chain.
She talked about how consumer behaviour has changed during lockdown and how the pandemic has accelerated various trends that were already having an impact on brands.
By now, wear now
“People are buying much closer to when they want apparel, so the fashion industry’s advance collections approach makes no sense anymore,” she said. Buy Now, Wear Now is what she calls this, and it is particularly prevalent among millennials.
These same millennials are displaying other behaviours that are going to force the fashion industry to do things differently. But True Fit’s own figures show that all ages are shifting to digital personalized apparel shopping rapidly, forcing the industry to respond.
Manufacturing comes home
Already moving the dial on sustainability, the industry is now looking to reshore some manufacturing in order to create a shorter supply chain that is better for the environment but which can also meet the needs of this more short-focused customer.
At the moment, based on True Fit’s figures, this appears to be playing into the hands of single brand rather than multi brands retailers, 135% against 2% traffic YOY for four weeks from April to May 2020 respectively. Single brand also beat multi brands significantly on conversion.
The whole panel, which included Matt Stockamp, sustainability lead at ethical footwear brand, Nisolo and Scott Duby from True Fit, agreed that in this new world, brands would need to know their customers a lot better. Sarah said, “You don’t need to be all things to all people, but to know who your customer is so you can design, stock and range for them.”
Customers get involved
Fortunately, customers are happy to share their data and their views; apparently, 42% of millennials want to help build the industry’s future products.
For now though there is the current stockpile to be worked through and most people are shocked at just how much inventory there is out there, as stores reopen. Buy Now, Wear Now is at least a clue as to how brands might price, promote and fulfil their products in the short and possibly event the longer term.