To bring our latest content series to a close, we want to end with a final look to the future of the fashion supply chain. What needs to change? What is already changing? And what does the future of production look like, from our point of view?
We’ve covered the drive towards customisation and how brands are realising the potential of iconic products in new ways, as well as frontline insights from Unmade co-founder and Chief Product Officer Ben Alun-Jones (LINK).
What pulls everything we’ve examined together?
Connecting customer imagination to on-demand production with a digitally-enabled supply chain.
Our vision is the movement from mass production to mass customisation. That’s an ambitious goal, but it’s one that’s already in motion.
Flexibility in reaction time is only possible when a company is capable of managing its own data.
'3 Reasons the Supply Chain in the Fashion Industry Is Changing', LaunchMetrics 2018
Turning the connected customer into a brand collaborator means empowering them to customise predetermined elements of garments, from colours to patterns, creating unique items with real value, while letting brands keep control of the fundamental brand look and feel - all at the speed of social.
The fashion customer experience is taking a bold step forward, bringing the engagement into the product itself, rather than engagement with brand marketing. In doing so, new pressures are put on our existing supply chain to deliver only what is produced, maximising efficiency and minimising waste.
This vision is being adopted by brands and customers but it is nothing without the right technology and processes in place. Brands need more data, more ownership and more flexibility along the supply chain if they can move at the speed consumers demand.
The only way to do this is to move to a digitally-enabled manufacturing model.
This type of integration, bringing together consumer imagination with demand
can be seen in various ways, from capsule collections to collaborations.
At the heart of the matter, digitally-enabled manufacturing speeds up the production process, reimagining traditional cycles and allowing brands to make items available quickly and responsively to demand.
Connecting imagination with market demand is key to the success of Rapha Custom, one of UnmadeOS’s key partnerships.
Together, Unmade and Rapha have created a customisable team range designed to disrupt the current custom cycling market, taking the appetite for custom teamwear design historically reserved for larger professional teams and making it available to much smaller teams.
Using the UnmadeOS platform, Rapha Custom customers can create a complete team kit with limitless options and hundreds of colours and layouts, offering the user a great quality design experience in keeping with Rapha’s brand identity.
You can learn more about the Rapha Custom story here.
The focus on software lowers the barrier for companies who might assume that on-demand manufacturing requires overhauling the supply chain.
‘Buzz builds around made-to-order fashion manufacturing’, Vogue Business of Fashion, 2020
Innovating the supply chain has an image problem. A common misconception is that widespread, co-ordinated infrastructural change is needed.
No wonder many brands are reluctant to take the risk and make such a heavy-duty investment, even in the face of growing pressure to change.
The reality is that targeted, incremental changes can be made alongside regular production, protecting operations and offering a lower-risk path to innovation, as evidenced by our work with Rapha.
Process shifts are required but can be carefully managed without wide-ranging restructure, while using software-based solutions can intelligently augment production to action change that doesn’t disrupt operations.
The future of fashion is digital, and if brands want to compete, they must start the journey to on-demand production sooner rather than later.
Consumer pressure will likely increase and supply chain software solutions are increasing in sophistication and popularity, leaving many behind.
UnmadeOS is a key player in helping brands get fit for the digital future and make that rapid shift to accommodate the connected customer.
We’ve helped brands get closer to their customers and move from guesswork to real data insights, with our powerful platform.
Talk to us today to realise the full potential of your products, unlock market opportunity, and connect demand directly to production.