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Up Close: In Conversation with Alvanon CEO Janice Wang

Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Janice Wang, CEO of consulting firm Alvanon, shares lessons for apparel from the auto world and why Covid should be a digital wakeup call for fashion.

Janice Wang Alvanon
Janice Wang, CEO of Alvanon Courtesy

Name: Janice Wang

Title: CEO

Company: Alvanon

Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?

The automotive industry; I think we can learn how it evolved just-in-time manufacturing with a highly complex supply chain and a transparency that is necessary because of the safety requirements.

How would you describe yourself as a consumer?

A jaded one

As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?

Quite a lot. I look at the value ratio as an important part of the equation, and also coming from a manufacturing background, I tend to look at the technical aspects of clothing a lot.

What’s your typical uniform?

I dress quite simply: plain T-shirt and skirt or navy dress, and a piece of statement jewelry—usually quite whimsical or bold, or something that reminds me of a happy place I traveled to.

Which fashion era is your favorite?

The ’50s to ’60s, and really because of Dior and Balenciaga and all those other pattern geniuses who knew how to play with silhouette and comfort without all the modern trappings of stretch materials.

Who’s your style icon?

My mother

What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?

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To do more with less

How would you describe your corporate culture?

We value depth and substance, the willingness to learn, and a willingness to share learning with others.

What can companies learn from Covid-19?

Apparel companies need to digitize to survive. We as an industry also need to think about the whole business, and how we make win/win/win for all stakeholders, not just the shareholders.

What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?

Streamlining inventory

What keeps you up at night?

That our industry will go back to the way that we have always done things, that Covid-19 hasn’t been a wake-up call that we need better processes, less waste, more sustainable materials, less inventory.

What makes you most optimistic?

That we are finally clothing people of all sizes for functionality, as opposed to stick figures on a runway.

Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction:

Recently Alvanon partnered with Motif, the fashion industry’s first dedicated global e-learning platform, to emphasize the strategic importance of understanding the much too little understood digitization with a 3D Tech Festival. The virtual event attracted 5,000-plus 3D enthusiasts from 94 countries, and 60 renowned speakers explained why fashion must go digital and how this can be achieved.

We have worked extensively with apparel and fashion clients on their digital journeys and we have real insight into what’s working in this confusing space and, crucially, what the industry must do now to survive and thrive.

The aim of the 3D Tech Festival was to bring the industry together to share intelligence on what strategies and technologies are succeeding in the digital space. All presentations and session recordings are now available to stream on The 3D Tech Festival site.