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Time to rewrite the fashion industry

At this moment, the global fashion industry is witnessing a pause and the contagious Coronavirus is raging on around the world. But this pause has done the unthinkable – exposed the vulnerabilities of one of the most polluting industries in the globe.

From the consumer end to brands/retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, to workers, everywhere the rusty long supply chain has fallen into pieces. Leaving the most vulnerable – the apparel workers – jobless.

Figure 1: The pause by the COVID-19 showed that the fashion industry needs innovation, not another bailout.

As various industries applied for government funding, rather than ignoring an occasion to truly innovate. These bailouts and loans providing brief relief but delaying the unavoidable to innovate and redirect the course of the fashion industry and making it more sustainable.

It is apparent, the fashion industry needs innovation, not another bailout. The supply model of the ’80s must go. The current world is too dependent on technology and reimagining it with previously unthinkable. Making everything on demand and making the long supply chain into short and less vulnerable is the alternative.

As for the fashion on-demand, brands/retailers will not have worthless, out-of-season inventory. They would be able to stop their factories in an instant, restart within days and shift their manufacturing to a current product mix.

Retailers will no longer make buying decisions six months beforehand they need inventory. All store stock would be restocked multiple times each week directly from factories, curtailing bad inventory exposure.

Based on the market demand, brands can increase or decrease their product supply dynamically. Eliminating the need for clearance sales for excess inventory, no sold-out products and no cash tied up on unusable merchandise.

Most importantly, the textile and apparel industry would be far more sustainable.

This strategy will also ultimately reduce the size of manufacturing. As on-demand manufacturing means a garment only exists when it is required. Dispersed manufacturing means it exists only where it is wanted. And amid the COVID-19 pandemic when China’s manufacturing stopped, other production countries are still supplying the markets around the world.

Dispersed manufacturing allows supply chain resiliency by spreading geographic danger, providing real-time access to customers in a wide range of markets, reducing transportation impact, evading tariffs and generating local manufacturing jobs. Also, make it conceivable to measure the environmental impact of a garment and hold businesses accountable for sustainability claims.

Even five years ago, a network of thousands and thousands of manufacturing nodes would have been unbelievable. But now, billions of blockchain contracts managed by advanced neural networks to control the manufacturing and delivery of individual unit orders make this possible.

Transformation is painful, but with bravery from the industry and money from investors, this crisis can be the way to build a more stable, more responsible fashion industry.

If anyone has any feedback or input regarding the published news, please contact: info@textiletoday.com.bd

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