The Emergence of the Fast Fashion Business Model and Imposed Quick Response Challenges for Chinese Fabric Manufacturers

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The Emergence of the Fast Fashion Business Model and Imposed Quick Response Challenges for Chinese Fabric Manufacturers Jennie Hope Peterson, Jimmy Chang, Yiu-Hing Wong, and Carl A. Lawrence

Abstract This chapter explores and develops fast fashion in the current retailing industry and its impacts on how the Chinese textile manufacturing industry has adjusted to remain competitive. Fast fashion evolved at the turn of the twenty-first century into a business approach characterized by fresh fashions, shorter life cycles, and faster production, placing significant pressure for rapid delivery, quality products, and low prices for each segment of the supply chain in a highly competitive environment. Manufacturers must utilize dynamic capabilities to maximize their competitive advantages in their production strategies, business models, and activities toward achieving retailers’ fast fashion requirements. The main aims of this reported study were to examine the “need” for fast fashion in the current retailing industry and to look at its impacts on the Chinese textile manufacturing industry. The focus was therefore on textile suppliers’ production strategies, and the suppliers’ intentions and activities toward achieving their customers’ fast fashion requirements. A study with Chinese fabric suppliers analyzes the dynamic capabilities and production methods applied in response to the fast fashion industry. Steps were taken to develop a framework for future research into the crucial production planning and manufacturing of fabrics for the fast fashion retail market. Attempt is made to identify the organizational changes following a shift in the industry environment, in the context of how a textile factory adapts to a change in its manufacturing as a result of the onset of fast fashion. Keywords China Dynamic capabilities Fabric suppliers Fast fashion Production Quick response Retailers

J.H. Peterson (B) Institute of Textiles and Clothing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong e-mail: jhopepeterson@yahoo.com

T.C. Edwin Cheng and T.-M. Choi (eds.), Innovative Quick Response Programs in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, International Handbooks on Information Systems, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-04313-0 20, c Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

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1 Introduction
The global clothing sector provides the world’s second largest economic activity at a value of more than $1 trillion USD, encompassing a broad range of pursuits from textile and garment production to high profile celebrity and designer press coverage in the fashion media (Ruddock 2007; Jackson and Shaw 2006). The most recent business approach in the textile and clothing industry called “fast fashion” emerged at the turn of the twenty-first century, utilizing proven quick response (QR) manufacturing methods to secure current market trends and effectively reflect those fashions in constantly changing merchandise assortments to meet market demand. QR systems aim to reduce development and production lead times with more efficient manufacturing and enhanced information technology, thus reducing the transaction costs with improved time efficiencies, inventory reductions, and increased return on investments (Bruce et al. 2004; Bruce and Daly 2006; Hammond and Kelly 1990; Sen and Zhang 2009). In addition to prevailing QR methods, fast fashion companies compete further to differentiate their clothing through trend relevance and style, price, and quality (Bruce and Daly 2006; Fernie and Sparks 1999). Although the idea of fast fashion is relatively new, textile and clothing .T C C/ companies world-wide are adopting this business strategy to further enhance their sales by embracing the latest fashions and consequently limiting over-stock items and discounted clothing. Competitive retailers optimizing this business approach move forward with hard line buying and sourcing standards through revised and precise production and...
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