ZARAmania Overtakes the Fashion Industry
Inditex has earned its place in history as the earliest adopter of technology to create produce and distribute affordable stylish clothing that defines trends among millennials.
The runway talk at fashion week was Tom Ford’s announcement that his firm would join Burberry in the movement see now/buy now. This means you can enjoy your favorite models right after they are seen on the catwalk instead of waiting four months to buy them. The move which comes rather late for an industry that is heavily dependent on human whims is a testament to the revolutionary role played by Inditex, the fashion power house that owns the Zara brand.
Inditex has earned its place in history as the earliest adopter of technology to create produce and distribute affordable stylish clothing that defines trends among millennials. For over two decades Zara has launched fashion trends worldwide by means of using technology to address cost structures and apparel attractiveness. Ins fashion police attends all catwalks takes pictures of models that determine the trend; place them in social media for user assessment. Favorites get to become templates for Zara creations.
Value chain is kept short so as to be able to react quickly and effectively to customers demands and aspirations. Arrival at the store models are subject to the final test for success: customer acquisition. Registers keep track of customer’s preferences by means to assigning codes to models. The largest code records give signals to operation as to which models should be produced to replenish the shelves thereby reducing inventories. In the end, only those models that truly make a difference for customers are produced again. But in order not to create an army of uniformed women remakes are touched up either by change of colors or materials.
Zara brought the fashion production cycle down from 16 to 4 weeks while eliminating inventory buildup. This allows the able to produce more styles than any other brand while keeping a lid on costs. The rest of the fashion industry has kept its 16 weeks’ cycle while forcing customers to wait four moths before they can wear their catwalk choices.
Further by the time the apparel makes its store debut it feels old as Internet stores such as Zulily and Stylewe have produced and reproduce the trend creating models for a full quarter. Needless to elaborate on the costs of production and the difficulties that arise from having to protect collections “look and feel” before models reach the store. All this add to the disenchantment of customers and margin reductions.
It thus came as no surprise the announcement of Tommy Hilfiger that he would follow suit.The Hilfiger strategy however seems to be even more ambitious. Besides having models available on line at runway time and in its stores worldwide a day after the show, the designer aims at blending fashion with entertainment. Tommyland, his Venice Beach upcoming extravaganza is set to recreate a music festival where notes produce fashion and people produce style. His full embrace of se now/shop now seems to herald a revolutionary change in worldwide fashion which had been resisting for over a decade the ZARA Mania syndrome.