In the opening chapter of “Fixing Fashion: Rethinking the Way We Make, Market and Buy Our Clothes,” author Michael Lavergne describes the current state of the global fashion business. He laments: “The fashion supply chain is fractured, and the people who make our clothes have become faceless.” Lavergne, a long-time sourcing executive with various apparel companies, should know as he worked in the vanguard of global sourcing beginning in the 1990s and the genesis of the fast fashion phenomenon.
A spate of books published over the past few years explores various aspects of the global garment business. Examples include "Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy," a perspective of global supply chains; "Fugitive Denim," an examination of the ugly aspects of global denim production; and, "Over-Dressed," an exploration into the morass of the global sourcing business. All good books, but all written by industry outsiders (an academic and two journalists).
However, it is Lavergne’s experience as an industry executive that sets his account apart from the others. Well-written and insightful, “Fixing Fashion” should be required reading for any new hire in the industry. Part industrial history, part personal memoir, and part call-to-action, “Fixing Fashion” is an insider’s look at the global garment business.
As Lavergne explains, with supply chains spanning the globe, today’s apparel business is typified by hyperactive global sourcing, quick turn inventories, and rapid product replenishment -- all supported by a seemingly insatiable consumer demand for ever-changing, inexpensive apparel. Greasing the pathways of global sourcing is a series of regional and multilateral free trade agreements to expedite trade in the name of lower costs and higher margins.