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Planning for Future Success in Time of Coronavirus

Pattern Room shares how to avoid panic procrastination and prepare for post-pandemic life 

According to a recently released industry forecast from GlobalData, the global apparel market will experience a 15.2% decline year on year. What does this mean? It’s time for decision-makers to avoid “panic procrastination” when considering a reshape or a complete overhaul of business models following the initial impact of coronavirus.

The current volatile and uncertain industry climate is an understandable conduit for planning processes to shift in a very cautious, and even fatalistic, direction. On the surface, it might be hard to see, but we’re actually in a pretty productive place to take stock of business development strategies and reevaluate future objectives.

In saying that, now is a particularly opportune time to pivot and plan accordingly for the day the world, or at least your part within it, emerges from lockdown.

Take stock of your current patterns, products, etc.—consider what works well, what doesn’t work well, and what are you missing in your pattern library or product offering.

When more is more

Identifying critical gaps in existing product catalogs serves to position brands for greater success when the immediate turmoil caused by COVID-19 begins to subside.

If you’re in the sportswear sector, it’s imperative to be ready for people to embrace even more activity once it’s safe for them to do so because they have been locked away from social interaction for such an extended period of time.

Identify sports that are local to you which are more likely embraced by people coming out of lockdown (e.g., non-contact sports where social distancing can still be practiced).

By establishing if there are garments or products that customers routinely inquire about but are not offered yet, fleshing out libraries now will put businesses on the front foot and potentially help to expand capabilities and offerings.

A spotlight on sustainability

While it is undeniable that the COVID-19 experience will shift consumer mindsets as well as have an impact on purchasing behaviors, businesses and brands will need to embrace an ethos of authenticity and transparency to reflect a greater buyer focus on supply chain sustainability. Specifically, the provenance of clothing is going to become an even more important factor in purchasing decisions.

This new world order will likely see a return to onshore manufacturing in smaller quantities, more focus on creating circular economies and demand for new digital technologies that provide traceability and transparency as vital components in the effort to create a much more eco-conscious industry.

Time, they are a-changing

By embracing the circumstances at hand and critically examining the ways the industry has done things in the past, there is a distinct opportunity for businesses and brands to evolve and adapt to a new normal.

While initially painful and unwelcome, tough situations are a remarkable catalyst for reinvention. Seeking out inspired solutions to create your own light at the end of the tunnel is how we move forward from here.

Through strategic planning and preparation practices, accepting and acknowledging a different path to success is the ultimate way to empower and propel businesses beyond the challenges of 2020.

Julia Van Der Sommen

Julia Van Der Sommen is the founder of and lead designer at Pattern Room. For 25+ years, she has been creating commercial clothes patterns and developing samples and manufacturing fashion lines. She is also an industry leader in ethical and sustainable clothing within Australia. Julia is a strong advocate for clothes that fit and has worked tirelessly to help rid the world of poor fitting garments.

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