May 7, 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. 
E-commerce sales bring cautious optimism amid financial gloom        
Not all news is grim during the economic calamity besetting the industry. E-commerce revenue has rebounded recently. In a survey of apparel retailers, 49% reported online revenue exceeded plan from March 29-April 11. Reasons include in-store shoppers migrating to online, marketing efforts such as promotions, and a 31% increase in website traffic. It also took several weeks for companies to stabilize fulfillment centers after the initial disruption in March. Sourcing Journal has more details. Will the pandemic persuade brands and retailers to make e-commerce a more prominent sales channel for the long term? At Adidas, the answer is yes. With three-fourths of its stores closed, online sales have surged and are forecast to reach $4.3 billion for the year.
COVID-19 accelerates fashion industry’s adoption of 3D design                               
The fashion industry and 3D design technology have been dating for some time. Now the relationship is finally heating up. Why? Suddenly the world has changed profoundly, and necessity is a strong allure. Creating 3D virtual versions of apparel offers a wealth of benefits, including enabling designers to work from home and easily share their collections. Even without prolonged lockdowns, increased efficiencies abound. “The confinement has been an accelerator for a revolution that was bound to happen, and it could have taken another few years,” said Sacha Djorkaeff, 3D lead of menswear brand Pink Shirtmaker. Vogue Business goes in-depth on the changes.                                       
Nike, Adidas innovate to make face shields for healthcare workers      
                                                                                                                     (Nike photo)                 
It’s a now-familiar but still inspiring story during the pandemic: despite facing unprecedented challenges, apparel and footwear companies rally to make and donate protective gear to besieged healthcare workers. Nike and Adidas are two new examples, taking innovative approaches to produce hundreds of thousands of scarce face shields. Nike used two factories to churn out the shields using materials from its shoes and shirts for 20 hospitals in Boston and Portland, where it has offices. Adidas partnered with the digital manufacturer Carbon to 3D print shields and distribute them in the U.S. Adidas and Carbon relied on a key material they had used before in 3D printing high-performance shoes. Carbon is also sharing the face shield print files with partner companies around the world.
Top 50 apparel brand values ranked as major losses loom       

What are the 50 most valuable apparel brands in the world? Topping the annual rankings from Brand Consultancy, calculated before the pandemic, are Nike ($34.8 billion), Gucci ($17.6 billion), and Adidas ($16.5 billion). Levi’s, fresh off an IPO, saw its brand value increase the most, 38% to $4.1 billion. Tempering the results is what’s ahead. Brand Consultancy predicts that the total loss in apparel brand value could reach $1 trillion, a 20% loss. Managing Director Richard Haigh said, "As these brands negotiate store and factory closures, broken supply chains, and a customer base that is facing unprecedented economic uncertainty, they will have to prepare for a tough and turbulent journey ahead."

How to deal with inventory overload during the long shutdown 


Growing excess inventory is among the challenges confronting brands and retailers as most of the world remains shutdown. In January, the fear was new products wouldn’t arrive for spring and summer because China’s factories had closed as the coronavirus spread across the country. Then, after the factories reopened, products began arriving in Europe and North America just as stores shuttered to slow the disease’s global spread. Footwear News has compiled a primer outlining six tactics companies are using to tackle the vexing problem. Read the details here.                                                                                                                                                         

From the Embodee archives: One product, countless 3D views

While demonstrating Embodee’s technology at an apparel industry technology conference, a woman asked, “How do you take and upload so many pictures”? Actually, they aren’t photographs, we said, they’re dynamically rendered images of virtual versions of products. This got us thinking: how many high-fidelity 3D images of customizable apparel, footwear, and accessories can our software create on demand? To find the answer, we chose an athletic shoe and sought help from a university mathematician. If each of 14 available colors were used to customize each of the shoe’s 9 customizable parts, the answer is — cue Carl Sagan’s voice — billions and billions. To be precise, 20,661,046,784.

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