Local manufacturing looks set to boom in 2017 and beyond, with various colliding influences – not least global political uncertainty – dictating a new emphasis on sourcing fashion product closer to home.
This focus on localism represents a key factor in how the industry is reshaping itself – to reflect not only the influence of current seismic changes in the political arena, but also fashion’s big slowdown, climate change and a real need to behave more sustainably. The ‘Made In’ moniker hasn’t held such weight for a long time.
- Shifting Landscape: Potential border changes, incumbent increases in taxes and tariffs, negative feeling about the net effect of globalisation and the rise of neo-nationalism will all place an unexpected focus on the reinvigoration of local industry.
- Sustainability Story: Local production as a sustainability solution is already working for brands such as Reformation and Urban Outfitters. Carbon footprint taxation and similar schemes could incentivise more fashion businesses to go local.
- Seasonal Solution: Quick-response strategies will come into the sourcing spotlight as we seek to both de-risk fast-fashion inventory (traditionally sourced offshore) as well as reduce seasonal markdown (on the increase due to unpredictable weather patterns).
- Heritage & Tradition: As we seek to own ‘less but better’ in fashion, qualities such as artisanry, craft, history and provenance become a focus. This will encourage the regeneration of traditional local industry, mirroring a more evolved trend in food and beverage.
Localism versus globalism in sourcing is something that we’ll be exploring in-depth early in 2017. For more on polarisation in business, see Brands Take a Stand. To explore other key issues facing the fashion industry, see The New Fashion Landscape.