Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Issues and Trends in the Fashion Industry

The following is a summary of key issues and needs in the fashion industry and a brief overview of some recent trends in responding to these.

A Political Issue
Sustainable trading remains a political issue for the fashion industry despite the soaring levels of ethical consumerism in the UK and the rising spend on ethical fashion.

Proliferation of Tools
To address consumers’ ethical concerns many companies have developed policies, codes of conduct and standards which their suppliers are expected to meet.

No Unified Approach
However, to date no commonly recognised mechanism or unified approach has been developed resulting in low levels of consumer confidence and decelerated development of the ethical fashion market.

Complex & Interconnected
The social and environmental challenges faced by the fashion industry are characterised by their complexity and interconnectedness.

Lateral Thinking
Lateral and innovative thinking is needed to address complex sustainability and corporate responsibility issues on an industry level.

Industry Best Practice
As the demand for ethically sourced products continues to increase, so too does the need to promote industry best practice and commonality of approach in order to achieve greater economic, social and environmental impact.

Networked Learning and Action
Many organizations have begun to think outside the box and appreciate the commercial, social and environmental benefits of networked learning and action (e.g. Nike: the Organic Exchange at, November 2004; GlaxosmithKline’s Hospice care network).

A significant number of companies are making a conscious choice to overcome their organizational differences by convening or joining multistakeholder partnerships.

New Capabilities
Despite the challenges that interorganizational collaboration brings, it is becoming a popular option among those looking to reduce transaction costs, aiming at new positioning in markets and seeking access to new knowledge and capabilities.