Magic 2018 Preview: Moving Into The Future Of Fashion Production And Reimagining Retail

Source: https://www.forbes.com

Next week in Las Vegas, our team will be attending Magic, one of fashion’s most comprehensive trade shows. The event covers the men’s, women’s and children’s apparel, accessories and footwear markets. There are three panel discussions from this year’s show that I’ll be highlighting, including “Disrupting Fashion: A Changing Landscape,” a session that I’ll be participating in on Tuesday.

As I was prepping for my Magic panel, I was reflecting on the changes in the industry and our main takeaways from the last Magic show, which was held in August last year. Speed was considered one of the biggest disruptions in fashion then, and it still is. Consumers are demanding that new products be made available for purchase, and then delivered, faster than ever before, and the most successful retailers (think Amazon and Zara) are getting products to them in record time. Speed is a competitive advantage for those that can achieve it, and one that is impacting every step of the fashion lifecycle. “Disruption” is a term that has been so overused that it doesn’t pack the same punch it once did, but when major disruption does occur, others are forced to change—and those that can embrace and navigate disruption are the most successful.

One overall theme of next week’s Magic event is moving into the future in terms of manufacturing fashion, reimagining retail and, ultimately, creating and adopting solutions to achieve speed. Here are the trends we are looking forward to hearing more about at the trade show next week:

Digitizing Production

Until very recently, fashion production was one of the few industries that had not been disrupted by technology. In a session titled “Footwear Retailers and Distributors of America (FDRA) Presents: Smarter Shoes: How Brands Are Digitizing Their Footwear Design and Development Programs to Cut Costs and Increase Speed to Market…and How You Can Too,” Andy Polk, SVP of FDRA, will discuss how the design and manufacturing process is going digital, and the benefits that come with it. Polk will lead a discussion with Brion Carroll, VP of Global Business Development, Retail Business Unit at PTC, a global software company that provides technology platforms and solutions to help companies design, manufacture, operate and service products for a smart, connected world. The session could offer insights into how digitized production can reduce costs and increase speed to market.

Manufacturing Using Microfactories

A microfactory is a factory that offers small-scale production and rapid prototyping that can be used iteratively. The benefit of a microfactory is that it enables manufacturers to test ideas to see if consumers are interested in them before they move to full-scale production. Microfactories are able to produce much faster than large factories and they are less capital-intensive.

In a session titled “Moving into the Future of Manufacturing Fashion: Microfactories, Finishing, Robots and Customization,” Will Duncan, Executive Director of SEAMS, will lead a panel discussion on the future of production in sewing and manufacturing. The scheduled panelists are Frank Henderson, CEO of Henderson Sewing; Alex Vega, President of Eton Systems; and John Cote, North American Sales Manager at Zund America. The group will discuss the future of factories and how minimizing the steps in the production process, as well as the handling of garments along the supply chain, is a must for mass to customized production. The panelists will also discuss how microfactories are being used to test products and the merits of robotic factories, including their potential impact on the speed and cost of garment making.

Reimagining Retail

I’ll be speaking on a panel called “Disrupting Fashion: A Changing Landscape.” Bob D’Loren, Chairman and CEO of Xcel Brands, will moderate the discussion and Neal Kusnetz, President of Menswear at Xcel, and Edward Hertzman, Founder and President of Sourcing Journal, will also participate. Kusnetz will talk about creating a quick-time response model for higher-end fashion that enables producers to get new products in front of consumers every few weeks. D’Loren will describe how this “sketch pad to selling floor” model, which positions his team with wholesale and factory partners, has brought Xcel’s process time down to six weeks. D’Loren and Kusnetz will also describe the keys to success in a world driven by speed and newness.

Our team is looking forward to learning about real-world solutions at Magic next week and about how microfactories, smart factories, digital robotics and digitization of the production cycle will affect the future of fashion manufacturing. The entire supply chain stands to benefit from increased speed and reduced costs as these areas are developed. We look forward to seeing many of you at Magic in Las Vegas next week.



Categories: Apparel, Brands, Business, Retail, Technology, USA

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