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Billy Hunter

Editor's Viewpoint

14th November 2018, Manchester

Digitising the business model

Companies’ journeys into digital product creation, the growing use of data management platforms and technologies, as well as how technology can be leveraged to enable more sustainable business practice, were the key topics at the latest event in the PI (Product Innovation) Apparel World Series that took place in Milan from 11-12 October.

The world series aims to bring together the fashion, apparel and footwear industries to discuss the challenges and technologies disrupting the industry, featuring some of the most progressive companies worldwide. Our correspondent, design professional Anne Prahl travelled to the event last month.

Karen Newman (UN) and Charline Ducas (C&A) in conversation at WEAR2018. © WEAR2018

A diverse range of speakers shared their digitalisation strategies and journeys, including representatives from Hugo Boss, Shimmy Technologies, adidas, Lotta, Unmade, and more. On-demand manufacture and customisation is currently a hugely popular subject in the industry and the panel explored the benefits and future outlook for this business model. The on-demand concept is also inspiring disruptive retail ideas, such as shopping and returns.

Sustainability and transparency also dominated the agenda, with Pim Kneepkens, Innovation Manager at Fashion for Good, presenting the company’s Innovation Platform, which connects innovators and entrepreneurs with brands, retailers and funders in order to enable much-needed environmentally and socially responsible practices in the industry.

Find out more about the speakers and their experiences here – PI Apparel World Series - Milan 2018.

Role of consumer in circular economy

Disruptive technologies and sustainable development goals also became focus themes at this year’s World Ethical Apparel Roundtable (WEAR) conference in Toronto, Canada, which took place last month. Our expert Marie O'Mahony attended the conference that discussed the role of the consumer in the circular economy.

According to Marie, a combination of keynote presentations and panel discussions dissect the many ways that innovation can become a key driver towards finding more sustainable practises for the apparel industry. “While there are some recurring themes such as waste, new topics appear each year with this year including technological drivers of supply chain traceability and shifts occurring in consumer attitudes towards sustainability,” she said.

Lotta Jurica presenting at PI Apparel Milan. © PI.TV

In a keynote presentation Karen Newman, an independent consultant to the United Nations (UN) set the scene. Newman discussed progress and issues with a representative from one of the fashion brands involved, Charline Ducas who is leading the development of C&A’s Circular Economy strategy. The consumer’s attitude towards sustainability was the focus of Anerca’s Ellen Karp, with data taken from their 2017 report on textile sustainability commissioned by Oeko Tex/Testex. Vera Belazelkoska, Director of Programs at Ulula offered a vision of how digital technologies can amplify the voice of workers and communities worldwide in the advancement of transparent, responsible and more ethical business practices.

Learn more about the raised issues, challenges and opportunities here – WEAR2018: The consumer in the circular economy and disruptive technologies for social change.

Staying relevant and celebrating innovation

The type of the modern consumer and their role in changing the existing supply chain, as well as global mega trends that need to be accounted for in the business strategies of retailers and brands to stay relevant to the changing world were discussed at another conference last month. Invista, owner of the Lycra, Thermolite and Coolmax brands, and an innovation leader in the legwear segment, hosted the fifth edition of Lycra Fiber Moves conference in Lake Como, Italy, on 18 October, marking the brand’s 60th anniversary.

The key message of this year’s conference was that Lycra is “more than just a fibre”. The focus was on innovation, as well as creating a positive experience for a new generation of consumers. “The Lycra brand name has been associated with game-changing, market-driven innovations that have redefined what’s possible for 60 years,” said Sybille Bald, Global Segment Leader – Legwear at Invista.

Marie Braun and Alberto Ceria presenting Lycra Fusion True to You technology. © 2018 Invista

The event featured a wide range of speakers, from Lycra fibre technology experts, who presented three new hosiery innovations, to Alan Friedman, a renowned journalist and author, who discussed the new political and economic realities in the era of populism, to Alison Angus and Miles Agbanrin, from Euromonitor, who talked about the millennial consumer and the apparel retail and the consumer journey.

See more and find out about the latest technologies here – Lycra unveils new technologies at annual event.

By Jana Bukolovska

Staff Correspondent

Billy Hunter is away

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