February 6, 2020

Every month Embodee summarizes and analyzes key developments and trends in the apparel and footwear industries, including the latest news about online product customization and personalization technology. Our goal: help you stay informed, save time, and sell more! Sign up to stay in the know. Unsubscribe anytime. 

Economic fallout looms as coronavirus chokes China's supply chains

A CDC computer-generated model of the Wuhan coronavirus

Warnings of serious economic fallout mount as the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic tightens what the Sourcing Journal on Wednesday called a “death grip” on supply chains in China. The infections began in Wuhan, a major transportation hub and home to dozens of factories, including many that make apparel and footwear. As China struggles to contain the virus, factory shutdowns are growing and industrial shipping has been restricted, along with travel in general. In an earlier Sourcing Journal report, a global management consultant said: “I don’t think we know where the bottom is on this.” About 40% of clothing and 70% of shoes sold in the U.S. are made in China.

Study: disruptive technology needed to tackle sustainability

There’s no disputing the sea-change in attitudes: younger generations want the fashion industry to increase sustainability. For example, 67% of Gen Z consumers (born between 1996 and 2010) focus on sustainability when making buying decisions. Many brands are responding to consumer concerns but face hurdles. A new study says major technology-driven innovations are needed to develop environment-friendly raw materials and infrastructure for widescale collection and reuse of apparel. The study recommends investing $20 billion to $30 billion annually. Barron's has more.

Adidas steps up its game to combat bane of plastic pollution

Adidas sneaker made from plastic water bottles pulled from the oceans
Speaking of brands tackling the industry’s pollution problems, Adidas has been among the most aggressive. Starting in 2015, the company’s goal has been to reduce the extraordinary amount of plastics that wind up in the oceans or landfills. And for good reason. Plastic that never breaks down is used in 60% of the materials in our clothes and shoes. Adidas has experimented with making footwear with plastic pulled from the oceans and entirely recyclable shoes. Now the company has launched more ambitious strategies: use recycled plastic at scale by 2024, make recycling easy by 2030, and make products biodegradable. The last goal has no timeline, but James Carnes, vice president of brand strategy, told Fast Company: “That’s the holy grail.”

2020 outlook: casual shoes reign, convenience is king, unisex gains

Predictions for 2020 trends in fashion footwear and accessories have arrived. The envelope, please... According to the NPD group, new priorities will drive the trends. They include: 1) Sales of sports leisure or non-performance shoes will exceed the heretofore largest category, fashion footwear. The change fits with the continuing desire to dress down. 2) “Next level convenience,” which for footwear means styles that are waterproof, designed with comfort features, or lightweight. 3) Growth of unisex styles, appealing to young people who view gender more fluidly. Think so-called “hot” sneakers and even Crocs, and for accessories such as waist, chest, and cross-body bags for men. 
Does Lululemon’s meteoric rise grant it “the next Nike” status?

Could Lululemon, a brand born in a single store selling women’s yoga clothes, be the next Nike? That’s how Wall Street already views the Vancouver-based company, founded in 1998. With a stock price nearing $250 a share, Lululemon is reaping the benefits of an unusual strategic shift. Unlike Nike, as well as Adidas and other athletic wear brands that began catering to men and later added women, Lululemon took the opposite tack. In the third quarter, the company's men’s sales increased by 38% and are expected to reach $1 billion this year. International expansion also continues, the Financial Post reported

Embodee to bring fashion customization to digital showrooms

We recently announced a collaboration with Byond to deliver real-time customization and personalization of fashion products for the company’s digital showrooms. Byond’s customers will benefit from a more robust virtual experience via the freedom to change design options and inspect them in vivid detail. Embodee founder and CEO André Wolper said, “Until now, our visualization technology has been deployed only on the e-commerce websites of our customers, significantly enhancing them with customization experiences. The results of this collaboration with Byond, when launched, will represent an expansion of Embodee into 3D virtual places that mirror the physical realm.” See our news release.
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