An apparel leader once said, “Life goes on!” answering a query of sudden life-changing shock. Sad but true, the whole world is passing through a COVID-19 shockwave. The norms and prevalent life have been to a standstill for most of this year. But after the initial fear factor pass over people, in general, are moving on. And at the forefront of this is the business community, fashion and apparel industry spearheading to cater to the need and demands of people.
Having said that, there is no denying that in this COVID-19 riddled world the aftermath of the initial shockwave has created long-lasting trails of uncertainty and deep wounds in this whole apparel supply chain. Things like shrink in the consumption market, unsold stocks, brands with bankruptcy, apparel factory closure, thousands of unpaid workers do not have food on the table, etc. are to name a few.
The most worrisome circumstance is the major consumption markets – the USA and Europe – are still opening and closing, locking down one month, easing up the next. The increase in coronavirus cases has got governments running frightened, while customers are staying at home.
As a matter of fact, previously big size – retailers, brands of apparel factory – mattered in the apparel supply chain. And being big means, it handicapped for any sudden change – the effects are already seen in this industry due to this. Here comes uncertainty for at least next year.
But as said above that life goes on, history taught human being that from the darkest disasters or recessions blooms opportunities—it is a matter of who is prepared to take them.
As the fashion apparel consumption market transforms, as commanding market dynamics take over the industry, it will generate opportunities for fast decision-makers, small, and agile players. Apparel manufacturers trading directly to end consumers is gaining momentum. And this model of business could bring amazing opportunities and give an edge in the long run.
Simultaneously, apparel manufacturers need to expose themselves vigorously to consumers using digital platforms with innovative branding and marketing strategy.
For a long time, brands and retailers are considered as the ultimate don of the apparel industry, in this age of online and social media age readymade garment (RMG) manufacturers can get near and personal with consumers and take benefit of the uncertainty in the market.
Apparel manufacturers should reflect on that business model of selling directly to end consumers. It can be small in the beginning but in a couple of years with too much uncertainty around, this type of model has the utmost chance of working.
Those days of seeing the consumers’ demand and trend through buyers are almost gone. A direct approach to consumers is the need of the hour.
At this moment, for many RMG manufacturers, they have almost nothing to lose; at the very least, they have a chance to discover this model.
With a fast-moving world of business, there is no room for business people who mourns for past good days. Rather, identifying the opportunities out there to grab, new ideas are gaining traction.
And the beginning can be of insignificant, but the Bangladesh apparel industry needs to be brave to leave no stone unturn when it comes to shaping up their approach to withhold the global leading position.