The On-Demand business model is more sustainable

Conversation with… Valerie Moatti and Céline Abecassis Moedas, Fashion & Technology Chair, ESCP 


How has the crisis affected your market?

As experts in the field of fashion and technology, we have observed two principal axes of focus:

1) the localization of production and organization of the supply chain,

2) retail and distribution.  Less stock and less waste are the priorities. These trends were already visible before the Covid-19 crisis but they will be completely indispensable after.

At the production and supply chain level generally, we will see a shortening of chains, a multiplication of sites, of production partners to adapt to different types of products. We believe that the industry is evolving towards short, agile supply chains that respond to customers’ demands to limit waste along the entire chain.

The movement for more proximity remains but that it does not mean manufacturing in Europe or the United States, rather in Eastern Europe and North Africa or Mexico. There won’t be complete nearshoring; it will be more a refinement of strategy. There will be a reduction in volume and a better match between what companies produce and what the customer wants: made-to-order production, personalization, and small series. And that is easier to do in closer locations.

Would you say we will try to go back to normal as quickly as possible or do you think we will need to rethink the world post-Covid-19?

We will not emerge into a completely new world; there were already signals before the coronavirus that indicated the world was in the process of being reshaped. We’ve already defined some of them: digitally native vertical brands (the business model that mixes manufacturing and retail, and significantly shortens the value and supply chains), the acceleration of sustainability and sustainable development, the acceleration of redeployment of production localization. We won’t see anything completely new but, at the same time, the world won’t be the same as it was before because everything must go much, much faster.

On the border between the new supply chain and the new mode of consumption lies the on-demand business model.  This business model is more sustainable, it reduces stock, and it’s a model that allows for more personalization, including sizes which is a key issue in fashion.

We’ve also identified new types of consumption, such as clothing rentals, fashion subscription boxes, and secondhand clothing.

What has the crisis changed for you or what have you learned personally?

We are all dressing much more informally now, I wonder if that will have an impact on buying behavior. Are we really going to go back to wearing suits and high heels when we return to work?

We have lost the habit of going shopping, we have much less reason to dress up, we don’t have a social life. A social dimension of fashion has disappeared. The question is, will it reappear?

In fact, during lockdown, sports was the only fun, somewhat social activity that remained, which has been a great boon for the sportswear segment.