NO SILOS: Just as open offices and shared workspaces are de rigueur, the Council of Fashion Designers of America wants designers to take a more collaborative approach to sourcing and manufacturing.
With the help of its official logistics partner, DHL, in collaboration with its innovation partner Accenture, the CFDA has released “The Human-Centered Supply Chain” study. The two-part effort has a Point of View highlighting key findings and a Designer Playbook, focusing on step-by-step guidelines for building a design business in this ever-changing landscape.
The takeaways from the survey were what might be expected in the increasingly boundary less world of fashion — make building relationships a priority, be collaborative, making sharing expertise with all partners easier, build a network for a supply chain that can also reduce waste and expenses and connect partners to increase operational flexibility. Essentially, the game plan is to connect, plan, source, make, deliver and optimize. The aim is for the designer to move from being one link in the chain to the connector for all the links.
Consumers’ more informative and changing spending habits are also examined in light of new technologies. The report notes how in fashion and retail, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, drones, robotics and artificial intelligence are expected to be transformational due to their widespread applications, ability to drive efficiencies and impact on labor. Seventy percent of Generation Z apparel shoppers are interested in monthly curated fashion subscriptions, according to an Accenture Global Customer Journey Survey from last fall.
To humanize the guidelines, the study spotlight’s Hem founder and chief executive officer Sasha K. In charge of a two-year-old brand with 12 employees, she wants to use “a small round of funding” to build her team and retail distribution without losing sight of her commitment to environmental and social responsibility, according to the report.
The Chain Resource Guide offers guidance for fashion incubators like the Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, Chicago Fashion Incubator and Maker’s Row. There are also snapshots of financing and venture capital firms, podcasts, analytics and trade shows such as Capsule, Coeur and Coterie. Whereas the Human-Centered Supply Chain Resource Guide references Fulfillrite and Fuse Inventory among its list for inventory management and fulfillment. There, designers will also find online operations, e-commerce, common platforms and freelance resources including Omnifocus, Upwork and Zirtual.