Wednesday 19 October 2022


Collaboration is key to the sustainable transformation of the fashion industry

The industry must work together to effect meaningful change, delegates at the ASBCI’s Fashion Re:Set Summit were told. No one has all the answers and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, open and honest communication within businesses, with supply chains and between competitors is required to identify priorities and determine the most appropriate response.


‘From crisis comes opportunity,’ said Jason Wang COO of Alvanon at the ASBCI’s Fashion Re:set summit on 11 October in York. After a period of unprecedented disruption, the fashion industry must adapt to survive, and it will take collaboration across the supply chain and buy-in from the very top to achieve a more sustainable future. ‘The days of huge production models and huge wastage are over,’ said Jason. ‘The question now is whether we can produce and sell less and be more profitable. The answer should be “yes”.’

That technology must form the backbone of this response was a central theme at the summit, which brought together speakers, panellists and delegates from across the fashion industry with the express aim of fostering collaboration. The day saw animated debate and engagement from all sectors, and strong consensus on what needs to happen and how to get there.

Key takeaways

  • Collaboration is essential if the industry is to adapt to current and future challenges. Collaboration must be up and down the supply chain and peer-to-peer, and it must be fair and equal, with all voices are heard. Too often suppliers and manufacturers are not represented when the industry comes together, but transformation can’t be achieved without them. It is also essential that big brands don’t railroad smaller ones and that there is a sharing of learning between competitors.


  • Commitment to change must come from the top. Without senior-level buy-in and strategic implementation, initiatives will not succeed. This is particularly true for digital transformation, which can require significant investment. Without top-level support and an integrated transformation programme, efforts may be hindered by a lack of alignment on targets and a failure to understand the changes required to operating models and capabilities.
  • Digital technologies are an essential component in the delivery of the change the industry requires. From sustainability initiatives such as supply chain traceability or reducing materials use to delivering greater business resilience through better planning or intelligent market management and channel allocation, to the adoption of new business models, for the most part the technology already exists to support this.
  • To reset and effectively manage the challenges facing the industry, we need employees who are skilled, knowledgeable, and supported in creating the transformative solutions that will deliver beneficial outcomes for their organisation and the industry. Creating a positive environment by promoting employee wellbeing is key to building a productive workforce that can focus on achieving higher organisational performance and address current and future sustainability goals.


Speakers and panellists at the summit included:

Keynote: Ben Hanson, editor-in-chief of The Interline.

ESG: Dr Andrew Hudson, managing director of Eurofins | BLC; Suzanne Ellingham, head of sourcing, Hyve Events; Anne Peirson-Smith, Professor of fashion, Northumbria University; Stella Claxton, lecturer and senior research fellow at Nottingham Trent University; Peter Hughes, head of sustainability business development at Eurofins | BLC; and Helen Colebourn, softlines technical consultant, Bureau Veritas.

Sourcing: Angela Gaskell, group sourcing, sustainability and fit director, N Brown. Kate Hills, founder of Make it British; Jenny Holloway, CEO of Fashion Enter; Phil Oakley, director, Kornit Digital.

Digital Transformation:  Jason Wang, chief operating officer, Alvanon; Richard Jessup, VP Sales, Optitex; Sue Mardon, head of technical, Alison Hayes; Nigel Read, sales director, DeSL; Will Verdon, head of product development, Lyle & Scott; Michael Lock, VP of software sales, Lectra; Morgane Lopes, digital marketing director, Printemps; Stephen Taylor, retail lead, IBM Consulting; and Ton Wiedenhoff, executive director, Alvanon Europe.

Skills, people and wellbeing: Kate Hills, founder of Make it British; Jenny Holloway, CEO of Fashion Enter; Sean Liddell from Mindful Training.

‘We were delighted by a level of engagement at our first in-person event in three years,’ said ASBCI Chairman Dr Alistair Knox. ‘There was open and honest debate between our speakers, panellists and the audience, and real enthusiasm to explore solutions in a collaborative manner – which is what the ASBCI has always been about. We look forward to building on the momentum with future events on some of the key issues identified today.’

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