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Ashley Tucker
Ashley Tucker

World Fashion



After experiencing 18 months of robust growth (early 2021 through mid-2022), the fashion industry is again facing a challenging climate. Hyperinflation and depressed customer sentiments have already resulted in declining growth rates in the second half of 2022. We expect that the slowdown is likely to continue through 2023.




World Fashion



These are just some of the findings from The State of Fashion 2023, a joint report from the Business of Fashion and McKinsey. The report, the seventh in the annual series, discusses the major themes shaping the fashion economy and assesses a range of possible responses. Reflecting in-depth research and numerous conversations with industry leaders, it reveals the key trends likely to shape the fashion landscape in the year ahead.


Bereft by global risks and uncertainties, leaders in the fashion industry will need to pay careful attention to macroeconomic and political issues in the regions where they produce and sell their products in the year ahead. They will need to develop risk mitigation strategies that can be implemented quickly as conflicts, fiscal policies, and government regulations evolve. Additionally, they will need to think critically about where they operate, looking beyond top-line growth potential when evaluating new and existing foreign markets. Brands can no longer plan on complete political neutrality as their global customer bases become more connected and outspoken.


In 2023, consumers will be unpredictable and fickle. Brands will need to consider carefully the factors that affect shopping behaviors and respond accordingly. Even as many customers reduce spending, brands have an opportunity to keep customers engaged through, for example, rental channels and off-price retailers. But these strategies will require careful execution to ensure that margins and brand reputations are protected. At the same time, brands will need to update their merchandising and design approaches to reflect shifting ideas around gender lines in fashion and dress codes. Daily office attire will become more casual, and special-occasion dress will become bolder.


After nearly two years of disruption, the global fashion industry is once again finding its feet. Companies are adapting to new consumer priorities, and digital is providing a nexus for growth. Still, the industry faces significant challenges amid supply-chain disruption, patchy demand, and persistent pressure on the bottom line. With the majority of companies struggling to turn a profit, growth will be a key priority in the year ahead.


These are some of the findings from The State of Fashion 2022, written in partnership with the Business of Fashion (BoF). The report, the sixth in our series, discusses the major themes shaping the fashion economy and assesses a range of possible responses. Reflecting in-depth research and numerous conversations with industry leaders, it reveals the key trends likely to shape the fashion business in the year ahead.


More than ever, sustainability is dominating consumer priorities and the fashion agenda. Consumers want to know where materials come from, how products are made, and whether the people involved are treated fairly. In response, more and more companies are expanding their sustainable assortments and working to boost the sustainability of their supply chains. As part of those efforts, some are leveraging digital product passports. These can be embedded in items to support after-use activities such as resale and recycling. Brands are also turning to passports, married with distributed-ledger technologies, in the battle against counterfeiting.


With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating thoughts and minds, fashion executives are planning for a range of scenarios and hoping for a speedy global recovery. However, amid increasing pressure on performance, shifting consumer behaviors, and accelerating demand for digital, there is an imperative to act decisively to prepare for the next normal.


Those are some of the findings from our latest report, The State of Fashion 2021, written in partnership with the Business of Fashion (BoF). The report, the fifth in our annual series, drills down into the major themes affecting the fashion economy and assesses a range of possible responses. Reflecting our conversations with industry leaders over recent months, it examines the ten key trends likely to shape the business over the coming year. Our latest reading of the our global fashion index, meanwhile, reveals new insights into company performance by category, segment, and region.


Still, there are silver linings among the clouds. While the crisis has visited a devastating impact on businesses and jobs, it may also have accelerated responses that can lead to positive outcomes. Indeed, many fashion companies have taken time during the crisis to reshape their business models, streamline their operations, and sharpen their customer propositions.


As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, what will be the defining themes in the business of fashion? Our discussions with industry executives suggest that the key drivers will include shifting consumer behaviors (in relation to digital channels, social-justice concerns, and a reluctance to travel), opportunistic investment, and the need to build more efficient, simple, and demand-focused operating models (Exhibit 3).


As decision makers continue to manage uncertainty, the most successful will be those that get a grip on the trends shaping the fashion landscape. That means focusing on an omnichannel perspective, of course, but also emphasizing the importance of sustainability through the value chain. Consumers (and increasingly, investors) will reward companies that treat their workers and the environment with respect, and the deeper relationships that emerge will bring benefits in agility and accountability.


Humanitarian repercussions are expected to outlast the pandemic itself. Dire consequences for fashion, one of the biggest industries in the world, generating $2.5 trillion in global annual revenues before the pandemic,9McKinsey analysis, 2019. entails joblessness or financial hardship for people across the value chain.


The interconnectedness of the industry is making it harder for businesses to plan ahead. Just as China inched through recovery, outbreaks worsened in Europe and the United States. But it is in the developing world, where healthcare systems are often inadequate and poverty is rife, that people will be hit the hardest. For workers in low-cost sourcing and fashion-manufacturing hubs, such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Honduras, and India, extended periods of unemployment will mean hunger and disease.


Although the duration and ultimate severity of the pandemic remains unknown, it is apparent that the fashion industry is just at the beginning of its struggle. By causing blow after blow to both supply and demand, the pandemic has brewed a perfect storm for the industry: a highly integrated global supply chain means that companies have been under immense strain as they have tried to manage crises on multiple fronts as lockdowns were imposed in rapid succession, halting manufacturing in China first, then Italy, followed by countries elsewhere around the world.


This joint report by the Business of Fashion and McKinsey is an effort to advance the discussion beyond crisis management and immediate contingency planning by outlining the areas in which the fashion industry must focus once the dust settles on the current crisis. Exactly when this will happen is impossible to know for sure, except that it will, in all likelihood, be linked to the discovery of a workable antiviral treatment and delivery of a proven vaccine, which some experts say is at least 12 to 18 months away.


The prevailing mood of fashion leaders is one of anxiety and concern. On the one hand, evolving channels, shifting markets, and groundbreaking research offer revenue opportunities and the chance for radical innovation. On the other, global economic growth is slowing and competition is more intense than ever.


These are some of the findings from our latest report, The State of Fashion 2020, written in partnership with The Business of Fashion (BoF). This fourth in our annual series analyzes major themes around the fashion economy and breaks new ground to explain the dynamics driving the industry. Our survey of 290 global fashion executives and interviews with thought leaders and pioneers have helped us identify ten key themes that will set the agenda in the year ahead. The latest reading of the McKinsey Global Fashion Index (MGFI), meanwhile, reveals new insights into fashion-company performance by category, segment, and region.


For many in the fashion industry, the glass is half empty. The mood among respondents to our executive survey is sober across geographies and price points, and the pockets of optimism seen last year in North America and the luxury segment have steadily evaporated (Exhibit 1).14To view exhibit, refer to The State of Fashion 2020.


For fashion players, 2019 will be a year of awakening. External shocks to the system continue to lurk around the corner, and growth cannot be taken for granted: the McKinsey Global Fashion Index forecasts growth of 3.5 to 4.5 percent, slightly below 2018 figures. By geography, the most optimistic about the coming year are executives in North America. By segment, the most positive are executives from luxury brands, reflecting their strong growth trajectory in 2018. In all other regions and segments, executives are notably pessimistic, reflecting the potential challenges ahead (Exhibit 1).19To view exhibit, refer to The State of Fashion 2019.


Polarization continues to be a stark reality in fashion: fully 97 percent of economic profits for the whole industry are earned by just 20 companies, most of them in the luxury segment. Notably, the top 20 group of companies has remained stable over time. Twelve of the top 20 have been a member of the group for the last decade. Long-term leaders include, among others, Inditex, LVMH, and Nike, which have more than doubled their economic profit over the past ten years (Exhibit 2).20To view exhibit, refer to The State of Fashion 2019. According to our estimates, each racked up more than $2 billion in economic profit in 2017. 041b061a72


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