Disruption is now a worn-out, overused term, but it’s undeniable that the apparel and footwear industries have been ruthlessly upended. And whether it’s trade uncertainty, pressing sustainability concerns or ratcheted consumer expectations, there’s plenty of places for a finger to point.
While it’s widely accepted that the “race out of China” is actually just an extension of an existing trend, the ongoing trade war has indeed slammed its foot on the accelerator and forced many companies to—urgently—re-examine their supply chains.
And although most retailers have been navigating the world of e-commerce for over two decades at this point, many have still found themselves completely unprepared to compete against the social-savvy DTC sellers gobbling up millennial and Gen Z consumers like candy.
To manage all of these changes and challenges, the industry has been forced to write a new playbook—one that leverages emerging technology, embraces experimentation and welcomes collaboration. It’s a feat much harder than one may think, chiefly because it’s being developed for a landscape weighed down by legacy processes, some of which are over a century old.
“Given the rate of change in the consumer sector, the most successful companies going forward will be those that collaborate through the entire value creation process,” said Robert D’Loren, chairman and CEO of Xcel Brands. “The most disruptive force facing us all today is that the consumer now has control over the margin. The only way to succeed today is to come together and innovate our way out of this cycle.”
In The New Fundamentals report, Sourcing Journal spoke with more than a dozen industry leaders who span a wide swath of apparel and retail expertise. They shared perspectives on how the “Old Principles” are evolving into new SOPs to live by, and offered advice on how companies can remold their operations to continue to compete.
- Synergies Worldwide on sourcing
- Zilingo on sustainability
- Cowen and Company on valuations
- Jeanologia on supply chains
- Inspectorio on collaboration
- Tukatech on product development
- Brutzkus Gubner on technology
- Alibaba on globalization
- Datacolor on color management
- American Apparel & Footwear Association on trade
- Deloitte on retail
- Xcel Brands on culture
- Aetrex on distribution