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28/04/2015 — auf Deutsch lesen

Lectra: Around the world in seven days

In the week following Fashion Week, the designers high-priced designs can already be found in their irresistibly colourful showrooms. For Brandy-Courtney Williams, head of production at New York brand Misha Nonoo, the main order season is now beginning.

In the showroom, buyers can examine the designers’ sample collection Photo: Forewer/Shutterstock

In the showroom, buyers can examine the designers’ sample collection Photo: Forewer/Shutterstock

 
Keep control of collections from the sketch to the end product using PLM Photo: alphaspirit/Shutterstock

Keep control of collections from the sketch to the end product using PLM Photo: alphaspirit/Shutterstock

 

Buyers come and go and place new orders. They confirm the number of units of clothing required by their company. Williams takes part in this process from the start: “I like to be involved even when the design team selects the materials. When I receive an order, I know in advance how much fabric I have to order from where and for each garment.”

Once the sourcing details are worked out, the designer defines the various sizes of the product using the sales pattern and creates a so-called “tech-pack” – a detailed list of the specifications for each individual article of clothing. “How long is the zip? How many metres of fabric do I need? All of this information must be included in the tech-pack,” said Cristina Neagu Layolle, studio and production head at Thomas Tait in London. Due to the language barrier, these specifications are particularly important for foreign production. If the tech-packs are adapted to the specific standards, prepared transparently, and explained in a simple way, then fewer errors will occur during production.

With ever-changing customer behaviour, more and more companies are also questioning the concept of seasonal collections. Fast fashion, social media and mobile technologies allow direct exchange of information and raise expectations among consumers. They want top quality and low prices for the very latest products. The average customer at Zara visits one of their shops 17 times each year, compared with four visits per year to a traditional retailer. The small volumes in each collection change frequently, allowing many more different products to be offered. Companies need to cover different sizes, colours and variations. Multiplied by the number of locations in which the company has a presence, the supply chain becomes increasingly more complex.

As an example, Cristina Neagu Layolle takes her sales pattern and the corresponding tech-pack to her London manufacturer and places a production order. She can follow the process day to day and check the quality on site. It is completely different for mass-produced goods made abroad, where quality control is more costly and complex. In order to ensure that the product’s development cycle is still accountable, Lectra offers a PLM solution (Product Lifecycle Management), which allows brands to follow each individual step of the process.

Concentrated on one platform, the various teams at all locations can maintain product data, request new prototypes, or assess materials quality. Communication, whether between designers, model makers or production teams, merges seamlessly. A European fast fashion company, which develops its collections from concept to manufacture and produces over six million units each year, was able to use Lectra’s Fashion PLM to accelerate its development process and complete a collection from product design to garment manufacture – in just seven days.

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