We now live in an era where life has gone virtual and we have slowly morphed into consumers who demand the best in terms of price, quality and delivery time.
This makes the fashion business more complicated than it already is with its diverse product portfolio and complex supply chain. With the entire industry going online, products are undertaking their digital identities as well.
The digital identity of a product is arguably more important than that of the physical. That is because while the latter has a shelf life, the former will live on forever, with increasing volumes of new ones joining them with each passing season. With its newly forged numerical existence, the product becomes malleable as its characteristics can be easily altered from one season to another. The availability of information pertaining to the product such as technical specifications and point-of-sales data facilitates such decisions. However, the products’ core identities remain the same and the most fundamental part of any collection. Who then, are the brains behind these identities? Who are the people who give “life” to these objects?
In the fashion industry, the inventors behind the mechanization of spinning and sewing were regarded as titans of industry. In the same vein, their closest modern equivalents are information professionals and technology pioneers. Their responsibility is to provide fashion companies with an information architecture, a network of interconnected systems that would not only organize but also receive and retain new business-critical information. Hence, they are the people who will not only assign digital values to products but are also in charge of safeguarding, scoping and supporting the entire design-to-production process.
By developing virtual versions of these products, IT professionals effectively create data sets that can be used from function to function within the entire production process. However, it is also important that these data sets are organized in such a manner that any team member across the production line, be he a designer or a manufacturer, will be able tell the products apart. How do they, then, make sure that everyone working on the same collection gets one single version of the truth?