You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Skip to main content


Survey Report: 2021 AlixPartners + Sourcing Journal Fashion in Focus

Released as of

Report Info

Over the past year and a half, fashion has been fighting an uphill battle as business as usual has been upended via a global health crisis. Regardless of whether executives were sitting in factories facing cancellations, or downstream dealing with climbing freight rates, everyone felt the pains of the pandemic. However, some felt them harder than others, as evidenced by the string of bankruptcies affecting businesses large and small.

But with adversity comes perspective and the impetus to adapt, and it was important to survey the industry post-pandemic to ascertain what worked and what didn’t, and what the future might hold.

This exclusive report, produced in partnership with AlixPartners and based on an extensive survey, shows that fashion insiders recognize the need for change and are taking steps to position themselves for success in the new retail climate.

Survey Report: 2021 AlixPartners + Sourcing Journal Fashion Focus

As the virus sent shockwaves through supply chains, it revealed what was and wasn’t working with the current business models. Digital investments that had been previously sidelined finally became a top priority, and companies realized the need for better inventory planning as excess goods piled up. Putting all the eggs in one basket and relying on just a single sourcing region for inputs or finished goods also became a riskier move amid rolling factory outbreaks. Meanwhile at the consumer-facing level, brands and retailers could no longer bank on brick-and-mortar sales during lockdowns, leading them to shore up e-commerce and omnichannel capabilities, with new service features built in.

Moving ahead, there is a need for more data-driven decision-making, connectivity, visibility and resiliency—from the moment of product conception, to the point goods reach the end consumer.

This report covers four key areas: Assortment Planning; Omnichannel Evolution; Supply Chain Complexity; and Agility. Featuring the survey results as well as interviews with executives from digitally native brands and traditional retailers such as Kontoor Brands, Mizzen+Main, Naadam, Renfro, Rue21, ThirdLove, UNTUCKit and more, the report provides a deep-dive into how fashion is coping with turbulent times and laying the groundwork to emerge stronger than before.

Download the report to learn:

  • Which leading supply chain challenges companies are planning for in the coming years
  • Why assortment planning can no longer lean on historical sales data, and the factors necessary to analyze and predict demand
  • How product and planning teams are strategizing for longer lead times and shipping delays
  • The efficiency opportunity of toppling silos
  • How and why companies are redrawing their sourcing maps
  • Why it’s becoming increasingly complex to calculate the value of a store’s “four-wall” door in an omnichannel world, and how one retailer is using artificial intelligence to plan its fleet
  • The outlook for e-commerce and BOPIS growth in 2022 and beyond

As a companion to the report, tune into our multi-part “Fashion in Focus Podcast” series. The first is “Managing Supply Chain Risks” with Murali Gokki, managing director of AlixPartners. The second is “Omnichannel Becomes Omnipresent,” with Bryan Eshelman, managing director of AlixPartners. The third episode is “The Inventory Planning Puzzle” with Joe Schmitt, managing director of AlixPartners. All podcasts in the series are in conversation with Edward Hertzman, founder and president of Sourcing Journal, discuss some key findings.

AlixPartners podcast

To view report, please fill out this form: