Fast fashion has revolutionized apparel by delivering new, highly fashionable products at low prices in incredibly short lead times. The buzz can make traditional branded apparel companies – wholesalers or vertically integrated retailers – feel like they are falling behind and may never catch up, saddled as they are with global supply chains optimized for scale rather than speed and flexibility. Attempts at radical change in their organizations and working methods may only prove harmful.
We propose a different model that can work better for traditional apparel players: “smart fashion.” This model builds on some of the key principles that underlie the success of fast fashion but do not often receive the same hype. They can help traditional players gain many of the benefits of fast fashion without overhauling their companies from the ground up.
Exhibit: More, smaller bets
Moving from traditional to smart fashion requires rethinking the per-unit and aggregate cost trade-offs
Source: Oliver Wyman analysis