Product Innovation: An Important Parameter for Supplier Selection Method in Fashion Manufacturing

This is a guest contribution from Todor Stojanov

Usually, fashion retail companies use set of standard procedures for selecting their suppliers. Retailers send orders to the buyer with supplier selection procedures  to source clothing from their suppliers according to their needs and preferences. If Supplier Company wants to cooperate with the Fashion Retail Company, the minimum requirements (Quality, Delivery time, Price) for cooperation need to be fulfilled. Beside these three factors, there is one extra factor that might be very important and can “trigger” buyer’s attention. That is the innovation segment. The innovation segment is especially important for supplier selection procedure and it will be additionally explained.

The order of supplier selection procedure can be switched and the supplier can select his customer by offering attractive deal.

Vendor Selection Procedure
Image courtesy: gapcareers.co.uk
There are many cases where suppliers present their products to buyers (in their show room or visit buyer’s office) in order to start cooperation, but most of them always make same mistakes.

Most common mistakes made by suppliers:


  1. Copy the product that buyer already has in their stores in order to show that they can produce the same style;

  2. Present the products that they have already produced for some other competitive brand; 

  3. Present products that don’t fit the buyer style and brand concept.

  4. If supplier wants to be selected by the buyer, than they need to offer something new and innovative that will attract the customer’s attention.

Possible Solutions:


  1. Make a detailed study of customer’s brand history, culture and style. Learn about customer’s strategy, market position and target group and design the product that can fit the above mentioned requirements.

  2. Follow the world fashion trends by visiting trade fairs and exhibitions (Premiere Vision, Spin Expo, MesseFrankfurt), fashion weeks (New York, London, Paris, Milan, Tokyo), fashion web sites (style.com, net-a-porter.com, firstview.com) fashion magazines (Vogue,Elle), fashion consulting companies (WSGN, STYLESIGHT).

  3. Cooperate with young designers and fashion schools for collecting new, fresh ideas.

  4. Develop new (fresh) look with your design team.
About the Author

Todor Stojanov has a Bachelor Degree in Textile Engineering, and Master Degree in Quality Management. He has 4 years of working experience for C&A Quality Assurance department in Macedonia and now he is working for Zara-Man merchandise department in Shanghai- China.
He lives in Shanghai -China for two and a half years and is doing his PhD degree in Fashion design and engineering at Dong Hua University.
He loves to exchange some experience with a professionals in the textile and apparel area. Get more from Todor in Google+

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