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“The traditional supply chain is a predictive game. You’re actually hoping that what you’re buying and what you’re demanding from your supply chain is what the consumer wants to buy,” says Kornit’s Govier. “By the time the product hits stores and consumers either buy it or don’t buy it, there’s no real ability to adapt on the fly.”

While on-demand production and nearshoring help brands reduce unsold inventory and the carbon footprint associated with shipping and manufacturing, industry watchers warn that the ease and rapid pace of manufacturing can facilitate overproduction.

However, while digital printing’s mass-production reputation has drawn fast fashion to the technology, digital printing companies see an opportunity for high-end brands. “We are currently seeing a lot of engagement with premium brands in Italy,” says Kornit’s Govier. Likewise, Epson has a strong presence in Como, which is known for high-end silk manufacturing.

“Brands often measure their success based on downpayment, where apparel buyers are tasked with achieving a certain gross margin percentage for downpayment. If you compare traditional printing to digital printing for that, the traditional one will always be less expensive due to run lengths, quantities, and mass production,” Govier says. “But, they lack the joint element of costs that occur elsewhere in the business. Onshore or nearshore local production saves money and actually allows for better margins.

Fix: Remove incorrect reference to Georgia Hardinge stored at Harrods and Selfridges. The designer rents from Selfridges. (May 12)

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