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Is "Fashion Star" a retail friend or foe?

Is "Fashion Star" a retail friend or foe?

March 13, 2012 0 Comments

A new supply chain era is upon us - the age of “flash demand”. This is a  world where social media channels spread news in a matter of seconds and a "fat finger" financial trade can ripple across global markets in a fraction of that. For the supply chain, this means seasonality is no longer the only event-based driver shifting demand. Last week, I explored how LinSanity impacted retail manufacturing and supply chains in the US and China. Let's look at another, slightly different, example: NBC's Fashion Star.

The new reality fashion show, which premieres tonight, is set to mimic Bravo's blockbuster, Project Runway, in the sense that young, aspiring fashion designers will compete in a series of challenges only to be judged by a panel of cultural influencers and knocked down, one by one, until the best designer emerges. The twist? After each show, the winning design will be available for purchase at Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M. For designers, this is a dream, but for supply chains, this is a serious and potentially debilitating twist.

Granted, like many of these shows, Fashion Star was likely recorded ahead of time so the retailers will have some lead times. But no product has ever been made available in this manner - so how can Macy's, H&M or Saks Fifth Ave. know whether they'll have 1 or 1 million shoppers comes 10pm ET tonight? Clearly, this poses some daunting supply chain problems.

Flash demand supply chain_progress software_guy courtin This is not to say that these possible outcomes and potential issues are not unknown in the retail supply chain. However, as time continues compress, the demand drivers coming from new and different angles will increase. Retailer supply chains do not have to be as avant-garde as some of the designs born of the creative minds of NBC's Fashion Stars, but they do need to be flexible, responsive and nimble enough to keep up with the creativity. No small challenge.

Guy Courtin

View all posts from Guy Courtin on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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