Creative Director William Anzevino at PI 2019

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Variant’s creative director William Anzevino was in New York City last week to lead a focus group session at the PI 2019 Apparel conference. Anzevino drew on his 15+ years of experience as a designer to highlight the ways in which innovations such as 3D modeling and knitting are reshaping the fashion industry.

“We talked about the imbalance in the traditional production process, where having to meet minimums means you have to push product into places that might not necessarily want it. We also talked about the current sale model and how fashion is the only form of art that goes on ‘sale,’” he said.

 “With on-demand manufacturing, that means no returns, so the responsibility is on the supplier to make the process as translatable as possible. I learned from the retailers and manufacturers in the audience] that the ideal scenario for customers who are creatures of habit and want to buy consistent things, is to have the ability to iterate on it across many brands and platforms.”

 Anzevino also helped spark a conversation on what people consider the ideal productive, eco-conscious, mindful and sustainable products. “I tried to make it as much a real conversation as possible. I think everyone is in agreement that democratizing one-of-a-kind and couture clothing is a desirable thing no matter what,” he noted. “The closer we can get to making that accessible, the better.”

Though fashion is an industry in the midst of great change, it’s natural that those who have supported and profited from the status quo for decades may be a little defensive of the view that manufacturing is bad for the environment or that traditional retail is “dead." 

Anzevino led the discussion in a positive direction, saying, “There is a real place for brick and mortar, but they have to look or interact with customers differently. Customization that is accessible in a retail establishment that facilitates on-demand is a shift that can be positive.

Maybe we can shift the expectation to not walk out with something immediately to a minimal inventory business model where you still get margins without having to commit up front.”

 “We also talked about how that changes the staffing requirements at retail and creates interesting new jobs -- not just cashiers but brand ambassadors and product intelligence creatives. There are a lot of unknowns, and it is scary and also exciting.”