Manmade fibers are perfect sustainable blends to improve drape and durability – qualities which the consumers are exploring options for in all categories, from athletic apparel to occasion apparel…
Ideas can be generated by all and not only by a designated R&D or Innovation team. This approach engages all team members in the organisation to develop the culture of innovation.
My best learning was when our smart office boy developed a garment with green tea dyeing using waste tea bags. I was convinced ideas have no limit and can be generated by all of us at any level with no specific process or guidelines.
This makes it easy for me as I am not an innovation expert but continue to learn from my friends, industry members and observe beyond textiles and apparel.
We explore many ways to identify new ideas including digital, trade magazines and trade shows. It can be very interesting to align as team and prioritize on ideas for innovation which can be consumer centric.
Consumers today have very simple needs for innovation and the same can be experienced in better way when you travel by the most popular transport system for your target consumer.
1) Peace of mind
2) Reduce stress
3) Easy travel
4) Self expression
Solution to the above needs can be anywhere in the value chain fiber, yarn, fabric, apparel , special finishes and industries beyond textiles.
It is recommended to explore all options and not just pick the low cost idea as the best solution. This can help you to keep the ideas ready for your archive in future which can be great learning for the team.
Comfort, sustainability and performance can be good attributes to measure the value for consumers on 4 major needs listed above for the consumer.
Team members can identify external stake holders for wearer trials instead of internal team members to evaluate new innovative ideas. This would generate more realistic feedback on the ideas assessing the consumer needs for innovation. Encourage stakeholders to wash and wear minimum 5 times for right experience and feedback. Inputs from wearer trials can be good opportunity for the team to experience reality and make any changes if required for better consumer experience.
Lead times are always very short to make ideas for new season. We can always look back at archive of ideas and talk to our value chain partners for ideas developed in the past but dropped due to multiple reasons. This reduces the lead time and gives you opportunity to upgrade ideas initiated in the past which I believe is sustainability.
We always discuss new ideas should be sustainable and working on improvement of ideas generated in the past can be best approach. Solutions which can have better durability and improved life cycle during variety of home washing conditions can be sustainable. I believe more the clothes are smart enough to take care of themselves it will be more value for money to the consumer with simple actions like delay laundry and dry cleaning with limited effort to iron the clothes.
We can observe the early steps towards sustainable solutions by few brands who want to offer clothing only with natural fiber as defined need of target consumers.
I also admire brands trying to make the fashion apparel with performance ideas of stain repellent, odour control, moisture management, UV resistant to make it travel friendly.
We all would have diﬀerent points of view on developing and launching any new innovations. Traditionally we would make samples, do wearer trials and present at trade shows to launch the idea.
Manmade fibers are perfect sustainable blends to improve drape and durability – qualities which the consumers are exploring options for in all categories, from athletic apparel to occasion apparel. Stretch has been favourite in the last two decades across all categories and the value is clear extra comfort for the consumer with durability and shape retention.
We all would have different points of view on developing and launching any new innovations. Traditionally we would make samples, do wearer trials and present at trade shows to launch the idea. New approach being adopted is to launch the product with selected retailers and reduce lead time. We have major retailers today who would work on the innovation ideas to make it viable for the core offering and extend into all possible categories.
Innovation ideas have to connect with the consumer at retail and the marketing team has to engage with the innovation partner on the key message points. We have been fortunate that some ideas like wrinkle free, soft etc. can be demonstrated at retail while the others have been posed a challenge to demonstrate the idea at retail. There is great learning from home and personal care industry on the ideas they project and demonstrate through communication at retail and packaging.
We all value the consumer who has great experience of innovation through the life cycle of the apparel and make decision for next buying in the closet instead at retail.