Reshoring: the declared debut in the fashion luxury

27 October 2016

Reshoring is a complex paradigm for the Made in Italy. Various pioneer foreign cases (i.e. US and UK) and many Italian pilot projects happened, showing this new tendency of bringing back the production. There was a period when delocalization was the key strategy for the majority of the companies in the fashion industry moving most of it in countries with lower production costs. Historical industrial districts were broken up in face of this phenomenon and new emerging markets gained a better position in the worldwide competition. Nowadays, the euro-dollar weakening, the increase of the labor cost in the Far East, the Italian government incentives to support the industrial digitalization drive reshoring, this new important backward trend. However, one of the main factors influencing industrial reallocation is identified in a new demand based on a higher focus on quality and sustainability.

In a consumer-centric world, people impact on the strategic choices of the companies. Luxury-fashion audience, at an international level, is increasingly more interested in quality and heritage than in status-symbol guaranteed by a brand. Therefore, it is not only the label but the story behind it. This hint signals that companies have to take into account the whole history in their brand as well as in their collections.

In this scenario, luxury fashion players highlight few advantages coming from an offshore production as consumers are looking much more at quality and they are getting conscious of the role of craftsmanship in each product. In this field, particularly, quality is a crucial factor in the overall supply chain in terms of both higher controls and better time-to-market. Thus, the effect of the made in heritage countries is strongly positive and it wins on costs savings.

Given this new perspective, what will be next? Today, brands have to answer to a new market need. As suggested by PWC (2016), ( bringing back the production and shortening the chain distance does not mean for millennials consumers only superior quality but also socio-economic benefits (i.e. employment growth).

Italian industrial districts gather a unique know-how: a powerful differentiator element that asks exploitation. In other words, the rare human capital skills and experience, the peculiar network inherent in the territorial features, the flexibility of the Italian firms, the implementation of innovation in the process and the “bello e ben fatto” entrepreneurial culture are fundamental in the period of digital manufacturing.

27 October 2016
Author Eleonora Veglianti Digital Analyst
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