Earlier this year, we were excited to partner with Raconteur on 'The Fashion Economy', a monthly supplement featured in The Times newspaper.

Topics the report addressed included manufacturing, sustainability and the use of technology in the fashion industry. For anyone who missed out, here's a quick roundup.

Digital technologies and the supply chain

A highlight article in the supplement discussed how digital technologies are transforming supply-chain visibility and transparency in fashion, a subject we’re passionate about at ASCG as we’re continuously developing and improving our own software and technologies.

Research carried out by Gartner suggests that by 2030, 50% of large global companies will be using AI and advanced analytics in its supply chain operations.

Gartner points out that it’s typically smaller businesses that are embracing new technologies, with high initial capital costs, extensive training and sharing of sensitive data that has made many brands hesitant to embrace technological change.

Return to sender

A hot topic for the supply chain industry, and a recurring theme in The Fashion Economy, is how retailers can best handle returns. According to Swedish bank, Klarna, in 2019, over four in five consumers said returns were a part of their normal shopping habits, and three in four went as far as to say free returns is an essential factor in choice of retailer.

Retailers have found that their extended returns periods have serious drawbacks, as goods become damaged after a long holding period and seasons change. Ultimately, this means businesses will struggle to sell returned products. The need to embed automation and innovation in retail returns strategy is clear, and retailers taking this approach will have a competitive advantage. We have developed our own technology – Vector Bounce – to help retailers tackle this challenge. To find out more [CTA]

Made in the UK

Finally, a stand-out topic in The Fashion Economy, was a discussion on whether the majority of clothing manufacturing should be brought back into the UK, which would offer better supply chain visibility and shorter lead times, but a potentially at a higher cost.

Not only that, businesses have stated that there is a lack of UK companies capable of manufacturing to accommodate fast-growing retailers. Could this be an area for future investment? If you missed out on getting your hands on your copy of The Fashion Economy, fear not, you can read the supplement in full here.