Building sustainability in sourcing and manufacture across the international textile industry

February 12th, 2016

Paul Smith – adapt and survive

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I enjoyed reading Andrew Barker’s article in the BOF on Paul Smith’s plans to re-organise his business and calendar around the changing world we live in.

“I think the world has gone mad” he says “There’s this absolute horrendous disease of greed and over expansion and unnecessary, massive over supply of product”

I want it NOW…

We’ve read a lot of things in recent times about the shifting dynamics of the fashion sector; big names changing their strategies and time tables to adapt to a society that wants things ‘now’.

Paul Smith has been very open in his assessment of the challenges. He sees the seismic shifts taking place, and he is ready to make the sort of major changes that his people believe are needed.

He’s following a definite plan with a clear rationale and purpose.

The challenges to his wholesale model are evidenced and he needs to restructure and re-organise.

“We are completely aware of what we are doing. It’s not scary it’s just a readjustment…” he says this, in reference to brands out there locked into a formula that’s not appropriate now.

His internal management and communication must be very powerful, as he describes the commitment to change and his policy of downsizing by natural attrition.

I remember when Paul opened his first stores in the 1970’s, he stood apart from the rest in so many ways. I was building my career in manufacture of clothing for M&S back then.

His energy, enthusiasm and confidence still comes through 40 years later as I read this article.

No panic measures, just simply common sense and proof that his policy of keeping his company private was a smart move. I’ve worked for the big PLCs who have to grind out each quarter for growth.

I hope more companies will follow his lead and take calm rational action in the face of the ‘world that’s gone mad’.

It’s important to remember that the winners will be the great leaders, and in particular the ones who listen to and collaborate with their manufacturers and supply chains for mutual benefit.

There’s so much opportunity.

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