Monday, April 13, 2009 The Fashion World Is Not Ready

It sounds like such a great idea, doesn't it? Sourcing made simple via the internet. A site that connects designers and manufacturers using spec sheets and a formal bidding process. No more phone calls, faxes, or sending samples just to get a bid.

But in practice, I just don't think we're ready for When I submitted spec sheets for Pixyworld's dresses & shorts last summer, the response I got was somewhat puzzling.

Of all the hundreds of suppliers (domestic and overseas) they had listed, the only bids I got were from China. I have nothing against China, but I had hoped to be able to compare with some domestic factories too. Furthermore, the bids were so widely varying that I had trouble believing that all the suppliers were understanding my designs. Language barriers are still a big factor, as much as we would like to think otherwise.

The most unfortunate part of the experience was feeling stalked for months afterwards. I kept getting phone call after phone call to solicit more business, until I finally stopped answering their calls.

I would say the idea is visionary. Perhaps someday the fashion industry can run like a well-oiled machine, with a co-ordinated bidding system, and with buyers and suppliers leaving helpful feedback for future clients.

But we're just not there yet.


  1. isn't a whole solution by any means. I think the bigger problem is a mismatch of expectations. If there isn't a well-oiled bidding system for any other sort of built to spec project, why would there be one for apparel? I would also disagree this conflict is due to a failure of internet communities. Rather, you're not hanging in the right one ( The apparel industry is relationship based. You're much better off getting referrals from people who've been where you are.

  2. Interesting. I checked out your forums; they look high-quality, and I can respect your qualifications for membership. Right now I'm not able to read another book because I am insanely busy. I know it would be a good investment of my time, though, and I'll have to put it on my reading list!