Where can we start?! If you ever want to witness at first-hand the changes in fashion production, retail and ecom, then a visit to Fashion SVP will set you straight. We’re still catching our breath.
Kim Winser OBE, who oversaw £2 billion in annual fashion production for Marks & Spencer and turned around both Pringle of Scotland and Aquascutum, now runs her own label, Winser London. In her Fashion SVP seminar, she described how she met the head of Zara back in the late 90’s, Amancio Ortega.
A big fan of M&S, who at that time were absolutely booming in womenswear, Ortega said, “I love your business model but the supply chain will stop your growth – it is too slow, cumbersome and has too many decision makers.”
The rest is history – Zara now dwarfs M&S, in clothing at least. In fact Zara needs just one week to develop a new product and get it to stores (compared to the six-month industry average).
Kim’s advice: “in today’s fashion industry, speed of response and looking at the supply chain with fresh eyes is crucial.”
She gave example after example how her own Winser London product line adapts to market trends immediately, with flexible production that is able to respond in almost real time. Kim’s focus was on ‘agility’ and she urged everyone present to do the same.
She also had some wise words to say about retail pop-ups, but we’ll leave that for a separate blog in the coming weeks. It’s too good to bury in this post!
We also spent time with fashion expert, Alison Lewy MBE, who runs Fashion Angel, the organisation that provides business mentoring, training and access to funding for emerging, new and established fashion businesses.
Her current advice to emerging designers, “the more niche your product line, the better……and don’t underestimate how long it takes to build an online brand – creating a website and hoping visitors will just magically turn up and buy is not realistic.”
“Brands must have a proper plan, a content strategy, and they need to promote a lifestyle.”
Alison also underlined the need to invest in top quality imagery, “too many young brands think that they can get away with a few snaps on their iPhone. They can’t.”
Overall, Fashion SVP provided a real insight into key fashion production trends, near-shore manufacturers, and also the need to be adaptable in a rapidly changing marketplace. As Kim Winser said, “trends are changing at a pace we can’t really believe and it’s just going to get faster.”
From i.LEVEL’s perspective, we like to think of ourselves as being part of the vanguard of companies changing fashion for the better. Our tablet order taker for sales agents on the go and our fashion warehouse barcode scanner are two recent examples of i.LEVEL innovation, with much more in the pipeline. And don’t forget our recent integrations with BigCommerce and Tradebyte!
If you’d like to find out more, contact us at or call 01234 761 757.