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Technology can foster openness and transparency in the Supply Chain
Challenges

Technology can foster openness and transparency in the Supply Chain

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Summary

The supply chain faces multiple challenges in the streetwear fashion industry - from operating costs to bottom lines, trend-sensitive timelines, the commitment of vendors, and keeping up with fast fashion. With people being open to trying new trends, streetwear has become popular. Brands are looking to tap into the vast youth segment in India to fuel the growth of this segment.

The fashion Industry delivers at least 80 to 150 million apparel each year, with the United States being the largest market. Countries like India, China, and Bangladesh are the leading suppliers across 10 major fashion industries. Fast fashion is undoubtedly growing and streetwear remains at the forefront of pushing it as an on-trend and affordable alternative to designer ensembles. When it comes to street fashion, there are several factors involved, from supplying the raw material to delivering the finished products to staying on top of the trends.

Fashinza in conversation with Mr Shankar from Breakbounce, one of the leading brands of streetwear in India, talks about the supply chain, the factors such as technological advancements and geo-political constraints, and decodes its growing popularity in the country.

Challenges in sourcing via supply chain for a fashion brand

The challenges of sourcing have not changed over the years. They may have transformed in some ways, but the kind of issues faced by fashion brands for sourcing are largely unchanged.

The challenges are mainly faced in the following processes

Costing: Costs of the vendors or suppliers have become transparent. Earlier, vendors would refrain from quoting a price until the bulk size of an order or the urgency of its delivery was confirmed. They would hide their true costs and make unnatural but short-term gains. Today, every buyer expects an open cost that they can evaluate with the competition. However, only a section of vendors is willing to be upfront about their costs. The lack of transparency is still a vital supply chain risk that many parties struggle with.

Timeline: Timelines are still a struggle because the supply chain is very extensive (including fabric, trims, and accessories). Several of these processes are outsourced to other organizations. However, the timelines and priorities might be different from that of the vendor. At the same time, fast fashion has made sure that buyers are now placing orders closer to where they're delivering.  Therefore, we cannot say that the challenges concerning timelines that were faced earlier are similar to what the brands face today. Things have become better with advancements in technology and professionalism among vendors. At the same time, buyers are making a conscious choice of working with vendors with professionalism so the whole process works out smoothly.

Intervention of Technology: Scope and Opportunity for Supply Chain

Technology, if used correctly, can be a great equalizer and enable transparency. For that, it has to be used accurately by both the buyer and supplier. If a supplier is feeding incorrect information in the Time and Action Plan (TNA), and the buyer relies on that TNA, then the whole process becomes unfair and unprofitable. TNA refers to the critical path taken by a manufacturer for the delivery of goods on time. As an example, in street fashion, merchandize designed on a viral trend will become irrelevant if the delivery happens after the trend ebbs out. At the same time, technology must also be simpler to use and the process of putting out information shouldn't be cumbersome for buyers as well as suppliers in the apparel industry.

Sustainable Clothing and Premium Pricing

For a market like India, where there is a strong demand for mass-priced apparel, sustainability should not be treated as a premium clothing option. When there is no price difference for the consumer, they will adapt to sustainable clothing options. Therefore, companies will also be more interested in producing sustainable clothing and products to draw on the benefits of scale.

Growth in Streetwear

1. Gen Z and Streetwear Generation Z played a very important role in the promotion of streetwear in India. The concept of streetwear was developed keeping this generation in mind. When Breakbounce was launched, the company was aware that India lacked a youth-focused brand. Many brands were focusing on young people but they were not majorly focusing on 20-22-year-old people. The brand saw the gap in the country and put its money and ideation behind its strategy and launched Breakbounce to a receptive user segment.

2. Cultural Influences Like other fashion trends, streetwear keeps on evolving. Brands create new styles by keeping an eye out for the latest street cultures, viral moments and trends to gain traction. Street fashion steadily evolves with changing popular trends and with that, fashion also matures. Now Street fashion is becoming more mainstream. Customers are becoming experimental and are willing to step out of their comfort zones to try out new things. With the largest young adult population, India is a huge market in this segment. Youth needs affirmation and fashion is one of the best ways of self-expression.

3. Competition If the competition in streetwear gains popularity, it would mean that the category is now strong in the market. It will help in expanding the playing field and offer more choices to consumers. At the same time, streetwear is influenced by various other categories like casual wear, sportswear, and more. So in a sense, competition already exists. Many mainstream brands are also experimenting with streetwear, making it a part of their collection.

To Sum up

With the fusion of different cultural influences and the ability to transcend the generational gap, streetwear is becoming very popular in India and other countries. When it comes to supply chain management in street fashion, advancements in technology have helped in eliminating many challenges and making the overall process much more transparent and price-sensitive. At the same time, it has opened wider choices for buyers with new experimental styles that are also sustainable.  If you want to incorporate various streetwear trends into your brand collection, Fashinza can help you, by connecting you to the best wholesale suppliers and manufacturers.

Key Takeaways

The supply chain in street fashion faces various challenges in the industry. This includes the cost of procurement, timelines, the commitment of vendors, and quality fabrics.

Sustainable clothing can be made mainstream with mass pricing options as a part of streetwear fashion.

With people being open to trying new trends, streetwear has become popular and many brands are incorporating it into their collections.

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