Cloud based software and the fashion industry – PLM breaks new ground

Software isn’t the first thing people consider when they look at a fashion brand – but it might be the secret to success.

Progressive businesses are using product lifecycle management systems based in the Cloud to create simplified information, streamlined processes and errorless collaborations. PLM itself has been a step change for the fashion industry: reducing the endless administration involved in designing, sourcing, producing, costing, testing and delivering fashion items.

Few industries are as merciless as fashion – a mistake at any point in the process can result in financial failure and public loss of confidence. Designs that don’t meet consumer needs, poor sourcing leading to garment failure, supply chain issues … from scathing press reviews, to highly public complaints, to empty shelves, these product lifecycle management issues are damaging to organisations.

Staying on top of the product lifecycle via traditional means can be complex and exhausting. Monitoring the process can soak up almost all available management time.  Constant shuffling of files, versions and communications leaves creatives sapped of their energy for doing what they do best – creating exciting products. Worst of all, costly errors creep into the system and can proliferate through the lifecycle of the product, reducing the profit margin.

Using Cloud based software has numerous advantages

  • Low subscription costs
  • 24/7 technical support
  • Ability to bring on board collaborators for specific projects.

So who is benefitting from the flexible, functional power of Cloud-based PLM?

Fashion focus – fast facts from the Wild West

MCS is a brand based in the lifestyle of the American West. Iconic, long-lasting (dating back to the 1970s) and hybridising US styling and Italian design, it occupies a niche of independence, style and attitude which brings together classic ruggedness and sophisticated styling. As a result, the brand has an international appeal which it maintains through linking its iconic history to fashion-forward refinement.

Cloud-based PLM enables MCS to work across national boundaries, sourcing and maintaining a highly individual brand identity whilst constantly refreshing inventory to give it a highly responsive relationship to its international marketplace. Cost management ensures that every garment transcends the ‘casual’ to offer a higher level experience to consumers – a key function of maintaining market share.

Fashion focus – niche to international icon

When Maggie Yan set up Corset Story in 2008, it was the result of her love affair with corsetry. now, with business partner Chris Rawlings, she heads up an international brand with a £7 million turnover. Challenges for Corset Story include the need to harmonise an online profile that generates 20,000 hits a day with manufacturing based on craftsmanship requiring time management of specialist tailoring. In addition, the personalisation of corsetry requires superb customer service across forty countries.

Cloud based PLM gives Corset Story minute control of the manufacturing process, ensuring that the complex design and build process of corsetry is streamlined and detailing is properly integrated in production. Above all, process improvements resulting from the marriage of ultra-modern materials with traditional corset design have been simplified so that form and function are completely integrated through better product development.

Fashion focus – from Kings of Pain to Tour de France Champions

The rise of Rapha has been astonishing. In a single decade this road cycling brand has risen from grassroots support to be the clothing sponsor of Team Sky, twice the Tour de France Champions. Road racing is tough on riders, and their apparel, and Rapha has a strong focus on quality, style and performance.

Rapha manages complex demands through cloud-based PLM. From the competitors engaged in the Rapha Continental to those subscribing to Rouleur, Rapha’s own publication base, a pre-eminent focus is to maintain brand identity across platforms. Calendar tracking is also vital for a brand that hosts events and organises international sporting fixtures. At the performance level, outfitting Team Sky requires world class garment engineering, whilst Rapha clothing has to function effectively as social wear too. Cloud PLM allows signature styling to be transferred across sectors through the design and development process, ensuring that brand integrity is honoured, and a vast customer base satisfied, without unwieldy paper trails.

Fashion Focus – Celebrity styling and sophisticated retailing

Critical path management is an essential component of gemstone work, and Monica Vinader utilises cloud plm to ensure that project management is straightforward. Uniting individualism with a pared back sensibility, Monica Vinader (MV) is easy to wear but distinctive. As a result, it’s won fans such as Kate Winslet and Kylie Minogue.

International success requires superb inventory management and a keen focus on cost management; fashion plm delivers oversight of the MV design process from initial concept to gemstone cutting in India, and distribution through specialist boutique outlets around the world.

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