“Consumers want something unique and interesting and they want to be able to buy it immediately,” said Stephen Trigg, Creative Director at UPW, at an event co-sponsored by Inside Fashion and UPW and held at UPW’s exquisite new showroom in Dongguan, China. “There is a revolution happening in the industry, the key is to be able to offer consumers the right product at the right time,” he added.
“Some of the designers and niche brands are now experimenting with a ‘see it, like it and buy it’ model that enables consumers to purchase items they see on the runway immediately, rather than having to wait months for it to be in the stores,” said Mr. Trigg.
“The fashion industry has to address these changes and evolve the business model. As a designer, I am thinking about I can help our customers respond to this,” said Sit Loi Pan, Senior Designer at Leverstyle.
Smaller and Better
One of key directions at retail is that consumers are ‘buying fewer, but buying better.’ It’s no longer about following ‘big trends’, today it’s about smaller orders of more differentiated products.
For knitwear, small orders of more customized products are now possible thanks to extensive in-stock services offered by spinners. UPW was one of the first spinners to offer genuine stock support. The company stocks fancy yarns as well as basics, and can do custom twists using any of the yarns it has in stock. The opportunities for designers, brands and retailers are almost limitless – in terms of greater customization and shorter lead times. Minimum orders are as low as 1 kg and through UPW’s new StockStore buyers can go online and check to see what yarns are in stock and can order directly from the website.
“UPW’s genuine stock service sounds very exciting and can greatly improve production flexibility and potentially change the way we manage our supply chain,” said Stephen Patton, manager at Liverpool Asia Sourcing Office.
Fashion Gets Up Close and Personal
“It’s important to get to know who our customer is and what they want,” said Jane Singer, Director and Head of Market Intelligence at Inside Fashion, speaking about “Trends that Will Sell at Retail” during the event.
“It’s not just about what’s on trend, it’s about interpreting those trends so that they work for our customers. In many cases we need to modify the cut, add shaping elements and pay more attention to materials in order for a trend to work at retail,” said Ms. Singer, discussing how consumers will no longer accept garments that they feel don’t look good on them.
“The trend information presented here is very practical and on point,” said Sam Yiu, Managing Director at Hope Power Knitwear Ltd. “This has verified what we’ve been working on,” added Suraj Hiranandani, Head-Merchandiser at DSSP Global Limited.
“I got some interesting new ideas from the design suggestions that Inside Fashion presented that I am going to share with my design team,” said Mr. Yiu.
“As a garment factory, our role used to be more like a middle-man: brands nominated the yarns and gave us the samples, we just made the garments and shipped them to their warehouse. Now buyers are expecting us to present new collections to them,” added Eric Liu, manager at Cottex LLP, referring to the increased demand for creativity from suppliers.
“We need to understand our customers and through our collections help them to be their best selves,” said Ms. Singer, referring to what Inside Fashion has identified as ‘Core Consumer Attitudes’ that they see as influencing retail sales.
“The consumer attitudes are very insightful are very important in developing the right products,” said Jasper So, Sr. Merchandising Manager at Newtimes Development Ltd.
Quality Becomes Fashionable Again
UPW’s stock service is supported by its state-of-the-art factories that are fully automated and feature the best European spinning machines.
“The facility and equipment here are very impressive. I find it more like a German company…it’s so clean and efficient. It gives buyers a lot confidence when they see this level of facility and production management,” said Chris Tan, director at Eusino Productions Ltd.