How much does time matter in fashion?The Fast Fashion and See Now Buy Now phenomena highlighted how time and timeliness are important for fashion. This was discussed in Riva del Garda

Sep 02, 2016
Posted in: , Market News , Shoes on Stage

The Fast Fashion and See Now Buy Now phenomena highlighted how time and timeliness are important for fashion. This was discussed in Riva del Garda

A debate on “The on-going changes in fashion timescales” took place at the opening of the 86th Expo Riva Schuh. The meeting – attended by Marc Sondermann, Editor-in-Chief at Fashion Magazine, Enrico Cietta, Diomedea Senior Partner, Roberto Pellegrini, Chairman of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi and Giovanni Laezza, Managing Director of Riva del Garda Fierecongressi – started from the proposal to rethink the timing of fashion collection launches that emerged during the latest runaway shows and brought to light the subsequent need to understand to what extent the current system can reduce the lapse from the moment in which a product is offered to when it actually reaches the consumer. These two issues are crucial, and involve also footwear companies.

Two famous creative directors, Christopher Bailey and Tom Ford, have declared that they are in favor of rethinking the timing of collection launches, claiming that consumers get tired of products even before they arrive in stores, because the information on the collections presented at least six months before has already been evoked. So, the fashion world talks about “quickness” again, not as a strategic choice made by companies, but as a structural variable of the market. The main issue is the relationship between quickness and quality: is it true that launching a collection in a shorter time than today would be tantamount to giving up creative and manufacturing quality? The question is much more complicated if applied to a complex manufacturing process, like that of footwear companies, and the answer probably lies in the fact that companies themselves should raise the question of how they should reorganize their creative process, involving all parts of the supply chain, including prototype and sample makers.

Nowadays we simply pretend to “make things in a shorter time” leaving other factors unchanged, but actually this model has revealed that traditional companies are still not able to combine creativity with quickness. Reducing timing, instead, does not necessarily mean reducing the creative/manufacturing quality, but compelling the system to optimize the coordination times among the different parts of the supply chain. The solution could be to rely on a mixed strategy with smaller but more frequent collections: from a central research core could derive many mini in-season collections.

This method could bring many strategic advantages, among which the search for a higher manufacturing agility and a quicker response inside the supply chain, the reduction of the risks of “productions in the dark” and “dead times” in manufacturing cycles in favor of a more linear work. The rethinking of fashion timing, of the number of collections and of how they are launched has probably just begun, but the debate remains fully open. The future will probably consist in mixed sourcing strategies.

Sonderman, Cietta, Pellegrini and Laetta
Sondermann, Cietta, Pellegrini and Laezza
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