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Industry Talk

Calls for open collaboration at ASBCI summit

The days of huge production models and huge wastage are over, delegates told.

27th October 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  York, United Kingdom

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

The textiles and clothing industries must work together to effect meaningful change it was emphasised at the recent Association of Suppliers to the British Clothing Industry (ASBCI) Fashion Re:Set Summit held in York, UK.

“There is no one-size-fits-all solution and open and honest communication within businesses, with supply chains and between competitors is required to identify priorities and determine the most appropriate response,” said Jason Wang COO of digital garment fit technology specialist Alvanon. “From crisis comes opportunity and after a period of unprecedented disruption, the fashion industry must adapt to survive, and it will take collaboration across the supply chain and buy-in from the very top to achieve a more sustainable future.

“The days of huge production models and huge wastage are over. The question now is whether we can produce and sell less and be more profitable. The answer should be yes.”

Technology forming the backbone of this response was a central theme at the summit, which brought together speakers, panellists and delegates from across the fashion industry with the express aim of fostering collaboration. The day saw animated debate and engagement from all sectors, and strong consensus on what needs to happen and how to get there.

Collaboration is essential if the industry is to adapt to current and future challenges, it was agreed. It must be up and down the supply chain and peer-to-peer, and it must be fair and equal, with all voices heard. Too often suppliers and manufacturers are not represented when the industry comes together, but transformation can’t be achieved without them. It is also essential that big brands don’t railroad smaller ones and that there is a sharing of learning between competitors.

In addition, commitment to change must come from the top. Without senior-level buy-in and strategic implementation, initiatives will not succeed. This is particularly true for digital transformation, which can require significant investment. Without top-level support and an integrated transformation programme, efforts may be hindered by a lack of alignment on targets and a failure to understand the changes required to operating models and capabilities.

It was also stressed that digital technologies are an essential component in the delivery of the change the industry requires – from initiatives such as supply chain traceability or reducing materials use to delivering greater business resilience through better planning or intelligent market management and channel allocation, to the adoption of new business models.

“We were delighted by the level of engagement at our first in-person event in three years,” said ASBCI chairman Dr Alistair Knox. “There was open and honest debate between our speakers, panellists and the audience, and real enthusiasm to explore solutions in a collaborative manner – which is what the ASBCI has always been about. We look forward to building on the momentum with future events on some of the key issues identified today.”

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