NEW YORK, United States — For the latest in our series of #BoFLIVE events, BoF’s News and Features Editor Brian Baskin was joined by Executive Editor Lauren Sherman and Senior Correspondent Sarah Kent for a virtual panel discussion reflecting on how the coronavirus pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities in fashion’s supply chain.
Even as factories resumed operations, new challenges have arisen, putting fresh momentum behind efforts to create a more resilient and efficient sourcing model:
Diversifying Supply Chains: Sourcing materials that were previously easy to acquire became more complicated this year, as manufacturers across the globe shutdown operations in response to the pandemic. “People are looking to [diversify their sources] and if they’re not they should be because what’s happening at the moment is… hitting the supply chain in weird and unpredictable ways,” said Sherman.
Creating Partnerships: The fallout from the pandemic could also signal a change in relationship between brands and suppliers. “I think it really is [about] building up that depth of relationship... so if you’re a small brand and you’re working with a manufacturer, you both rise together and as one of you grows the other one can also grow,” said Kent.
Geographic Shifts: The pandemic has seen no easing in tensions between the US and China, which had already led some brands to reconsider where they source. Meanwhile, there’s been a resurgence in interest in near-shoring to regions like Eastern Europe and Central America, which are closer to consumers in the US and Western Europe.
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Image source: SupplyCompass.