Why Made-To-Order and Limited-Edition Production are the Future of Fashion
September 13, 2018 As consumers head online and into stores to shop Fall 2018 clothing, boutique buyers are in New York City shopping and placing orders for Spring 2019. Laura Tanzer is in New York City this week, showing her limited-edition Spring 2019 collection at the Studio Atelier NYC wholesale show and venue. Laura Tanzer designs and produces limited-edition women’s clothing here in the U.S.A. The company ensures no waste during production, as well as unique, superbly crafted garments to be worn and treasured for many years by discerning women. Tanzer’s Spring 2017 collection won the “Emerging Designer Of The Year” at Phoenix Fashion Week. Now, Laura Tanzer designs are available in higher-end women’s boutiques throughout the U.S.A.
The traditional model of mass-production
Many clothing brands expect retailers to place wholesale orders in large quantities for the brand’s entire collection. At the lower-end of the pricing spectrum, this practice of mass production enables big box and mall retailers to offer consumers low-cost, fast-fashion at very low prices. Even in higher-end and luxury product lines, this brand manufacturer expectation of large-volume orders provides benefits to the retailer and to the consumer. The retailer benefits from lower prices offered through volume discount. The consumer benefits, ideally, from a lower price offered as a result of the retailer’s volume investment. Yet the consumer ends up with mass-produced fashion. In reality, everyone suffers. The quality of these mass-produced textiles is poor, as is the construction of the clothing. It will not last. The consumer suffers the indignity of poorly designed and made clothing.
What happens with all of the unsold clothing?
At the end of the retail season those large-volume retailers will deeply discount unsold items to clear rack space for the subsequent season’s collection. Some larger national brands are known to ship unsold garments back to the manufacturer, for credit/refund. These items are often damaged, soiled, and difficult for the manufacturer to resell.
Further, brands may have initially over-produced and have significant amounts of unsold clothing remaining in their warehouses. Brands may deeply discount these unsold and returned items online or in outlet stores. However, these deep discounts can contradict the brand’s message of high price, luxury, and higher value.
Why do some clothing brands destroy unsold goods?
That’s right. Destroying unsold inventory is a widely used practice by many high end and designer branded companies intending to maintain scarcity of goods and brand exclusivity. Further, there’s an accounting angle: in some countries generally accepted accounting principles allow the manufacturer to claim a tax credit for destruction of inventory. Brands that are less concerned with the making their brand look “cheap” will often sell remaining products at a massive discount online or in discount shopping outlets. Another option is to donate unsold or damaged clothing to charity.
Brands that have destroyed unsold goods
It has happened at Nike, H&M, Burberry, Gucci, to name a few. But things are changing for the better. For example, in September 2018 Burberry’s new chief executive announced it would immediately stop destroying unsold stock. “Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible”, said Marco Gobbetti of Burberry.
What makes Laura Tanzer different?
From the start, Laura Tanzer built her business with sustainability in mind. After teaching sustainable business practice, Laura launched her business designing and producing women’s clothing here in the USA. Domestic production costs more than over-seas production, but enables Laura to respond to customer desires more quickly.
Laura Tanzer operates a sustainable business, is supporting the local economy, is developing skilled workers here in the USA, and is partnering with boutiques focused on dressing women in unique clothing that fits their lifestyle, that won’t be seen on everyone else.
Laura Tanzer women desire superb craftsmanship and a look that fits their lifestyle. They don’t want to see their garment on everyone else. To this end, deadstock and limited run textiles of natural fibers such as cotton, linen, wool, and silk are fashioned into perfectly-fitting, unique clothing. Apart from samples used in our studio/atelier in Tucson and at wholesale trade shows, garments are produced as made-to-order. Boutiques investing in Laura Tanzer clothing for the upcoming season can start with a minimum purchase of three garments, as opposed to the entire collection requirement of mass-produced brands.
Remnants from production are used to create one-of-a-kind “frammento” garments, as well as bags and totes. The smallest fabric pieces are donated to K-12 schools for use in their art programs.
Diadre @ LauraTanzerDesigns dot com
410 N. Toole Avenue, Tucson AZ
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