Luxury fashion brands turning to technology to increase manufacturing speeds

By Sophie Chapman
Designer fashion labels, such as Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Coach, Helmut Lang, and Burberry, are all embracing new technologies to improve production speeds...

Designer fashion labels, such as Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Coach, Helmut Lang, and Burberry, are all embracing new technologies to improve production speeds.

Luxury labels are increasingly struggling with keeping up with high-street fashion brands that are capable of manufacturing and releasing clothing to feed the in-control customer.

“Speed is everything right now,” said Karin Tracy, Head of Fashion, Luxury and Beauty Industries at Facebook.

“For luxury brands, whoever is the fastest right now will have competitive advantage, full stop.”

“They need to step out of the comfort zone of perfection, think about how to move fast and build things to let them do so.”

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Zara, the Spanish retailer, is releasing new stock at a rate four or five times faster than traditional retails brands, according to Alvanon.

In order to improve time-efficiency in production, more brands are investing in technologies such as 3D design, automation, and robotics.

These technologies are reducing inefficiencies and improving turnaround time in the supply chain.

In October last year, Kering announced it would be launching the Gucci Art Lab, a 35,000sqft facility designed to manufacture leather goods, using sustainable materials sourced locally.

“This is a step toward internalization of production, especially leather goods,” commented CFO of Kering, Jean-Marc Duplaix.

“Over time, there will be better control over product development, sampling and material development.”

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