WHY DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IS
NOW MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER.
The Inefficiencies of Traditional Fashion
Design, Manufacturing and Retail
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, a majority of
retailers were forced to close their doors, causing
them to either stop all sales completely or transition
to eCommerce. Once physical stores reopened, the
experience wasn’t the same. Store capacity was limited
and some retailers only allowed for curbside pickup.
Additionally, with unemployment numbers rising, buying
clothes was not a priority for many consumers, leaving
many fashion companies with excess stock.
COVID-19 has pulled back the curtain on the inefficiencies
in the fashion & retail industry, showing companies
they need to rethink and restructure their processes.
The pandemic has shown that fashion companies
need to improve their eCommerce experience, stop
overproducing, and improve their ability to quickly adapt
to new challenges.
AN EBOOK BY
Reinventing The Fashion Industry
“With a 10% sa v i ng s i n ma t e r i a l
util iza tio n a nd 7 5 % t i me s a v i ng s fo r
fa ster ma nufa c tu r i ng p r o d u ct i v i t y,
emb ra c ing tec hn o lo g y i s a
no -b ra iner. ”
Senior Director of Technical Design and
Production Director, Adrian Jules Ltd.
Consumers are Making
The fashion world has become a fickle place moving
at the speed of a click on the internet. Social media
can set trends overnight or make a single product a
sensation in a day. For example, when the COVID-19
pandemic began, there was a shortage of personal
protective equipment (PPE). Many fashion companies
were called on to help produce PPE and needed to
quickly transition their supply chains.
Additionally, social media has changed the way the
fashion industry functions. A fashion trend lasts only
as long as consumers pay attention. Given the short
attention span of the modern consumer, the fashion
industry must monitor trends carefully. What was a
fashion hit last week, might not warrant ramping up
production of that garment, because the trend might
The consumer dynamic has also changed. Millennials
don’t like to buy things, but they like to have
experiences. To the extent that a garment provides
an experience, or the illusion of an experience, sales
can be made. The process of selecting colors, sizes,
materials, and designs creates a buying experience.
They want these options because when they shop,
they want something that fits with their personality,
perfectly fits their shape and body, and is reasonably
priced. Millennial customers truly want it all. They are
not willing to wait for production and not willing to pay
more for custom elements. In addition, more and more
millennials are spending their money on brands that
ensure environmentally sound production practices.
AN EBOOK BY
Reinventing The Fashion Industry
“G erb er Tec hno lo g y’s s o lu t i o ns a r e
ver y integra l to Ge ne r a l Sp o r t w e a r
a nd o ur a b il ity t o e x e cu t e d o w n t o
the finest l evel s.”
President of General Sportwear
To meet the challenges of the ever-changing consumer,
the fashion industry has moved to “on-demand”
production runs. On-demand production allows
manufacturers to quickly respond to trend changes by
allowing small production runs for a particular garment.
Once the product is sold out, it’s done. As a result,
manufacturers aren’t saddled with large quantities of
unpopular products. It also allows manufacturers’ brands
to change design collections as fast as they want too.
In some cases, you have new collections coming out
nearly every week. Further complicating the industry,
consumers aren’t willing to pay extra for these products.
The fashion industry is also adapting to the lack of brand
Brand loyalty is almost an extinct thing. In the past, a
brand could drive and hold a trend. Some consumers
might try to be loyal because they know a particular
brand fits them very well, but today, competition is
abundant. A small number of fashion houses produce
their products in-house, but most outsource production.
With the ability to do small on-demand production runs,
even small fashion designers can compete in this space,
but it requires using advanced manufacturing techniques
and effective use of social marketing.
One option in automation is digitalization. To start, an
initial design is rendered in Adobe®, then connected
to PLM to manage the collections. That design is then
integrated to CAD to create a 2D pattern and simulate
a 3D rendering of the garment. This stage allows you to
validate the perfect fit.
Once the fit is perfected, you can move on to add
patterns, motifs or personalized graphics then
automatically grade your patterns. At this stage your
pattern production is ready! Data is then passed on to
any digital printer and cut by automatically recognizing
the contours of your pattern pieces. To ensure efficiency,
save money and limit waste, powerful algorithms utilize
markers that ensure fabric consumption is optimized.
Digitalization allows your data to seamlessly move from
one stage to another. This is how manufacturers meet the
challenges to produce fabric more efficiently and reduce
the cost. If you don’t waste time, if you save materials
and you optimize the usage of your materials, in the
end you’ll save costs as well. Leonard Marano, Chief
Commercial Officer at Gerber Technology commented,
“Recently we showcased Gerber’s textile workflow and
automated cutting in a variety of micro-factories with
Kornit, EFI® Reggiani and Mimaki™.”
Stock and Waste
Another aspect of digitalization is the printing of patterns
on materials. Schinlever states, that the “strong growth
trend in digital textile printing can be accelerated
by Gerber’s integrated eco-system of software and
equipments, delivering value through connectivity and
achieving Industry 4.0 expectations from concept to
As was previously mentioned, historically, manufacturers
needed to have warehouses for the materials used to
make garments, this included the fabric. In the past, that
meant having a lot of fabric in stock because they didn’t
know what the consumer was going to order. Further,
a customer might have selected a pattern for which you
might not have had enough material. Digital printing has
proven to be a game changer for this issue because it
allows the printing of a particular pattern on demand.
This eliminates any stock management issues and it saves
money by reducing waste. The pattern can be printed
for any design and offer infinite personalization and
Really at the core of the transformation occurring in
garment manufacturing is the rise of the micro-factory.
This is an end-to-end solution that enables the ability to
seamlessly pass data throughout the supply chain, taking
you from design to print to cut in no time. With every
piece of the supply chain in one place, you can keep
your entire production process in-house, saving time and
Switching to a micro-factory can drastically reduce
development times. The streamlined workflow seamlessly
passes data from one part of the supply chain to the next,
eliminating errors and the need for manual entry. The
implementation of a micro-factory facilitates on-demand
manufacturing. With the ability to produce products
quickly, manufacturers can begin the production process
after the order has been received and paid for, allowing
for more customization and personalization.