We live in a one-click to purchase world today, which has put pressure on the entire supply chain to respond to demand instantaneously. It’s a challenge apparel brands and retailers are racing to solve, but few realize the key to faster speed to market may rest in their color management procedures.
Currently, companies are losing time thanks to old tools, siloed communications and mills that aren’t designed to deliver to their color standards.
One answer, according to Dustin Bowersox, market manager for textile and apparel at Datacolor, is creating cross-functional teams that include color specialists. Those professionals can help ward off issues that all too often crop up well into the product development process, bringing production to a halt.
“Having the color team in that part of the process to vet, propose color palettes, propose color combinations, propose potential mill partners who might execute those best, it’s critical to take advantage of their expertise up front versus communicating six weeks later that that design selection could not be executed the way the designer initially intended,” he said.
These meetings are important given that most collections today are sourced from mills all over the world and are comprised of garments made from a variety of different fabrications.
Andrew Fraser, director of global quality control at private-label swimwear company InMocean, says that’s why those individuals who know the difference between acid dyes and reactive dyes must be part of the conversation.
“When you talk about developing a color and trend, a designer will pick a color that is trend right and they love, unfortunately a lot of times what they pick is unachievable on other fiber contents…so you’d proceed down that road and not be able to achieve it and you don’t find that out immediately. It takes days or sometimes weeks before the realization is we’re never going to hit this color,” he said.
Watch the video to learn the role the skills gap plays in color management and how much digital tools can speed up the process.