Overproduction: Falling out of Fashion
Fashion’s impact on our environment is unignorable. But for brands, consumers and industry regulators alike, there isn’t a single solution. We need to consume less, upcycle, recycle, innovate better materials, and improve our production and distribution networks. The good news is we’re finally seeing progress in all these areas.
At ZyseMe we’re dedicated to solving fashion’s overproduction problem. The UN estimates fashion to make up around 8–10% of global CO² emissions. And almost a third of that comes from clothes that are never even sold.
Clothes produced but not wanted. It makes no sense.
So why do we still overproduce? Because it’s cheap? Not any more.
Each year clothing waste costs the global economy $500 billion. The fashion industry spends almost the same amount on excess inventory. About 30% of stock is sold at a forced discount (with an average 20–30% off RRP, according to senior insiders we’ve spoken to). All in all, traditional mass production has become extremely expensive.
Fortunately there is a solution. A solution that uses fewer resources to create higher quality, more appealing products. A solution that enables brands to produce less without selling less. A solution that’s cheaper and easier to implement than you might think.
How did we get here?
When offline retail still dominated, it was location based and much easier to predict demand. There were just two to four seasons to produce for and trends were largely set by brands and their designers. It was a push market.
Consumer behaviour and expectations have changed dramatically since then. Trends are constantly and rapidly evolving thanks to social media. Sales are made through multiple channels. It’s increasingly difficult to predict what items will sell and where. Some brands now churn out clothing for as many as 52 micro-seasons.
In other words, the industry has lost control of an intensely consumer-driven pull market. The response? Produce more products to cover all scenarios. The result? Excessive and unsustainable oversupplying.
We need to rein it in.
The future is on demand
At ZyseMe we believe these problems can be solved by producing only what has been ordered. In short: sell first, then make.
Our software empowers retailers to connect consumers to brands’ existing production facilities. Consumers have more input in the finished product (size, fit, fabric quality, and even aspects of design). Producers only create clothes once they’ve already been sold. Brands offer better value, less resource-intensive clothing that adapts to unpredictable trends. All this without investing in new machinery.
By automating much of the pre-production process, we’ve ensured that individualized products can be produced with similar efficiency to traditional mass production – just without the associated waste and expense. That means better value for consumers, higher profit margins for brands, and less pressure on our planet.
When we began building ZyseMe, the market wasn’t ready for us. It’s taken innovators in other fields to show the on-demand model isn’t just possible, but profitable. Our own industry can’t afford to ignore this any longer. Let’s produce what consumers actually want to buy – and no more.
– Bobby Östberg, ZyseMe Founder and CEO
Over the coming months we will share more insights from some of the most innovative minds in the industry.