Talking the Future of Fashion at Make it British Live! Online
Fashion-Enter CEO Jenny Holloway made up an informative panel of six at the recent ‘Make it British Live! Online’ talk titled ‘Sketchpad to Shopping Bag – The Future of Fashion Production & Fulfilment.’
The digital version of the annual trade show took place from 24 – 25th September with the aim of connecting designers, brands and retailers with UK based manufacturers. Kate Hills, the founder of Make it British, hosted the panel discussion she said prior to the event that interest in sourcing manufacturers closer to home had increased over the past six-months.
Jenny was joined by Omer Kulka, chief marketing officer at digital printing specialist Kornit, Fiona Lambert, who has held senior positions at leading British retailers, textile designer Davinder Madaher and head of business engagement at Manchester Metropolitan University Barbara Shepherd.
Citing manufacturing as the ‘unsung hero’ the panel discussed how Covid-19 has created an opportunity for UK manufacturers to capitalise on its existing strengths of speed, quality and expertise, and how the industry needs to take the best of what technology can offer right now to create a complete supply chain closer to the consumer market. “That old chasing of margin has to stop with the buyers,” Jenny stated. “It’s about speed of response and updating ways of working.”
“The UK has the potential to create much more concise and focused supply chains for retailers. There are good reasons why current supply chains are built the way they are, but because of the pandemic, the entire ecosystem of the fashion industry is changing,” added Omer Kulka from Kornit.
Jenny used examples of investment in technology such as the Galaxius system she utilises in her factory as well as 3D design software such as Optitex. Omer agreed: “There is not one piece of technology that can secure the future of UK manufacturing – it is about using the best technology on offer and building infrastructure and partnerships. We have to look at the technology as an enabler to achieve something bigger and meet the requirements of today’s consumers and the changing retail model.”
Jenny added: “No-one could have predicted Covid-19 but it has proved the beauty of UK manufacturing, which is that you can buy small and react quickly, going back to do bigger buys of winning product if needed. The next revolution for the sector will be all about print and being able to print on demand. It is a fantastic time for the UK garment industry.”
Barbara Shepherd from Manchester Metropolitan University stated: “All our students are interested in sustainability and how to manufacture ethically. There are a lot of negatives to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it has given our industry a once in a lifetime moment that we need to all grasp.”
The mood amongst the panel was unanimous, while Covid-19 and Brexit have placed a heavy shadow across the country it could also provide the hard push that the UK manufacturing industry needs to restructure and modernise.
The Make it British Live! Online event platform is available to access until 25th October 2020 – all the talks, breakout sessions and expo.
With thanks to Kate Hills and the panel for an optimistic and insightful discussion.