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Fashion Is Broken, and Science Is Fixing It

Transforming the 5 core fashion processes

Traditional fashion practice is dead. Time is ripe for scientific overhaul of the industry.

Myth: fashion management is just about being cool and high-desire

Reality: making money in fashion is hard work, exactly like in any other industry (or even more)

People today do not choose from what they can find, but rather search what they want.

1. Purchasing is broken. Multi-feature similarity is the scientific answer

Thomassey et al, 2006 (reprinted with permission, rights reserved)

2. Planning is broken. Flexibility is the scientific answer

The fashion industry deals with volatile, capricious consumers who change their mind from one moment to the next faster than me and you can say hi.

3. Grading is broken. Cluster of one is the scientific answer

Believe it or not, in 2020 companies are still paying for big consulting projects to pigeonhole locations into grades.

Ask not what grade a store should belong to, but what you can do to make each store unique.

4. Replenishment is broken. ‘Expect one send one’ is the scientific answer

If you have 1,000 stores and a collection of 1,000 products in 10 sizes each: it would take 10 million pieces to just have 1 each everywhere. Impossible!

Expect one, send one

5. Assortment is broken. Dynamic modular is the scientific answer

Fashion has a huge waste problem

Results of a fascinating experiment. Image by author (CC with attribution)

The truly optimal markdown is the one you are not forced to offer at all, because the product sells at full price.

The new human-machine alliance in fashion

Pull, not push.

Asking the right questions, and figuring out the right destination, is and will always be our job, as humans. But let customers do the rest.

How Business Science Revealed Hidden Pricing Opportunities During Covid-19

The machine vs. human debate

To get Business Science software, University-level learning (launching October 2020), and a monthly summary of insights:

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About the author

Fabrizio Fantini is the brain behind Evo. His 2009 PhD in Applied Mathematics, proving how simple algorithms can outperform even the most expensive commercial airline pricing software, is the basis for the core scientific research behind our solutions. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and has previously worked for 10 years at McKinsey & Company.

He is thrilled to help clients create value and loves creating powerful but simple to use solutions. His ideal software has no user manual but enables users to stand on the shoulders of giants.

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