To kick off the new year, I attended a fabulous event hosted by Fashinnovation! It was a cozy, invite only, Panel Talk in the gorgeous BounceX space at One World Trade. The panelists shared their stories and experiences about the theme of Innovation in Retail and E-commerce that will shape the year ahead. I was excited that Sustainability was integrated throughout the conversation. While Sustainability is a buzzword that the Fashion Industry has been overusing a lot, we got to hear some concrete ways that it is currently being applied!
Niels Stenfeldt, CEO of Stibo Systems, emphasized the importance of a Brand’s Storytelling and Transparency around Sustainability to help customers make informed decisions. He said “Larger brand customers are concerned about smaller brands who have a nice, tight story, that tells a story of product where there is full traceability back to the production.” An example he shared was a company that might advertise their use of organic cotton while omitting the impact of CO2 emissions that occur from the manufacturing and shipping processes. This only gives the consumer one piece of the puzzle without the larger context to make an informed decision. He goes on to say that, “We still need to figure out what is the good product and what is the less good product” so consumers can make their own choice. His perspective hits on one of the big challenges in Sustainability: how do we measure the holistic impact throughout the entire supply chain? It is a huge undertaking! We should keep pushing fashion companies to invest in Sustainable initiatives, while also recognizing any small steps they take in the right direction.
Localization and entering emerging markets was another topic of conversation. Ahmed Naiem, CEO of eShopWorld, noted when talking about what his company does, “We take care of all the country specific localization. We take care of the compliance, the fraud, the payments, the delivery, the returns, and they (the customers) can focus on their product.” He goes on to mention that they also make brand’s websites feel more local. This allows for more transparency and builds trust with the customers while giving a more localized face to the brand that the consumer understands.
Inventory Management is an important topic in the Fashion Industry relating to Sustainability. Charles Gepp, Founder and President, of Melissa Shoes, discussed one of the challenges the industry is facing with this initiative. The transition from getting up front orders to the request from buyers to dropship. Dropship is where the product is sent directly from the wholesaler to the customer. This model shifts the burden of Inventory Management away from the buyer and onto the wholesaler. Charles comments “There is a lot of guesswork about what your needs are going to be and how much inventory you have on hand. So questions of Inventory Management, predictive models, data analytics, will help you cope with that and will be increasingly important.” It is imperative to Sustainability for companies to put measures in place to manage inventory to minimize excess and reduce consumption.
It is crucial to keep the momentum going around Sustainability in the Fashion Industry! Fashinnovation is planning their next event on February 5th. It will feature a full day of Panel Talks and discussions around the innovations and technologies that are shaping the industry. I am looking forward to continuing these conversations at that event and hearing more ideas and initiatives around Sustainability that will encourage everyone to think about what they can do better!
If you’re interested in Sustainability or you want more eyes on your fashion business, become a Fashion Mingle Member today!
- FASHINNOVATION TALKS: Fashion IS Innovation via Retail & E-commerce - January 22, 2020
- FASHINNOVATION Conference Showcases Fashion’s Innovative Leaders During NYFW - September 26, 2019
- FASHINNOVATION Panel Recap - August 22, 2019