In an environment in which brands and retailers are feeling pinched by consumer price demands, shoppers’ changing tastes and their seemingly endless options, companies are grappling with new concerns like the need to develop products faster while balancing them against age-old challenges like bettering communications.
The 2018 edition of “The State of Quality Inspections in the Global Supply Chain” report written by Sourcing Journal and sponsored by Inspectorio underscores how quality is impacted by many facets of the ways in which apparel companies function today. The report draws upon insight from an exclusive survey conducted by the media company, which polled 380 apparel, accessories and footwear industry insiders working across the supply chain, including fashion brands, suppliers, retailers and factories.
One industry professional said the industry’s focus on speed has resulted in a lose-lose for both the brand and the consumer when it comes to quality. “Fast fashion and speed to market has created a lower standard of quality and consumers are noticing,” they said. “Shopping has become frustrating when fabric feels inexpensive and sewing and construction is poor. Overall quality of goods has consistently declined over the past 10 years.”
Sean Cormier, assistant professor and assistant chair for the Textile Development & Marketing Department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, summed up the situation facing the industry. “The customer wants lower prices. They demand more technology like wrinkle resistance, and they want to spend less and less. It’s hard,” he said, adding, “Wall Street wants certain margins.”
In the midst of these competing demands, brands and retailers are left vulnerable to negative consumer reaction if quality slips, creating public relations headaches when their troubles make headlines. As a result, the industry is racing to find solutions—and to bring quality control out of the Dark Ages. As Cormier said, “Good brands don’t want to be connected to bad practices.”
Access the full report here.
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