Kalyan Roy, Reetipal Singh and Nisha Arora

                 Department of Textile Engineering

  Punjab Technical University – Giani Zail Singh Campus,

Bathinda – 151001, Punjab.


            The apparel industry is undergoing an unprecedented transformation owing to change in lifestyle and introduction of computer and Internet technology. The manufacturing technology, management of apparel business and fashion trends are mutating at a very fast pace which are effecting a qualitative and quantitative transformation, even in the developing nations. An attempt is made to elucidate a few most important aspects of these changes like, introduction of Unit Production System, Laser Cutting, Quick Response, Agile Marketing and elements of fashion.

Key words: Unit Production System, PLM® software, Laser Cutting, Quick Response, Agile Marketing and Fashion Trends.

  1. INTRODUCTION: In recent world trade, developing countries have gained a significant market share in textiles and apparel exports. In the context of textiles and apparel manufacturing, developing nations have advantages in resources and abilities to produce the goods on a broader scale at low costs and respond quickly to fashion changes. Among many developing countries that actively participate in textiles and apparel trade, the Indian garment industry is exhibiting significant growth potential in the global market with its advantages in low production costs, abundant resources of raw material, and skilled labour forces. The textiles and apparel industry is India’s second largest industry, and India’s largest exporter of manufacturing goods. Therefore, it became crucial for garment manufacturers to respond to the new challenges. However, with an increased level of competition from low cost manufacturers around the world, the industry is under tremendous pressure to increase productivity, to improve performance, to enhance production quality and to advance the management systems with new strategies and solutions.
2.   TECHNOLOGICAL DEVLOPMENTS: Out of the numerous developments which have taken place in recent times, a few, very significant ones are highlighted here.

2.1 Unit Production System: As a mechanical system this has been in use for many years, but a major advance was introduced in 1983 when computers were first used to plan, control and direct the flow of work through the manufacturing system. The essential features of this type of system are:

  1. The unit of production is a single garment and not bundles. 2. The garment components are automatically transported from one workstation to another according to a pre-determined sequence. 3. The workstations are so constructed that the components are presented as close as possible to the operator’s left hand in order to reduce the amount of movement required to grasp and position the component to be sewn.

Processing begins at a staging area in the sewing room of garments. Cut parts for one unit of a single style are grouped and loaded directly from the staging area to a hanging carrier. Minimal handling is required to deliver garment parts in precisely the order and manner that they will be sewn. When possible, garment operations are completed without removing the parts from the carrier. Varied sizes and types of hanging carriers are available for different types of garment products. Automated garment handling replaces the traditional garment production system of bundling, tying and untying, and manually moving garment parts. Unit production systems eliminate most of the lifting and turning needed to handle bundles and garment parts.

The need for bundle tickets and processing operator coupons is also eliminated when an integrated computer system monitors the work of each garment operator. Individual bar codes or electronic devices are embedded in the carriers and read by a bar code scanner at each workstation. Any data that is needed for sorting and processing such as style number, colour shade, and lot can be included.

Integrated garment production systems have on-line terminals located at each workstation to collect data on each operation. Each garment operator may advance completed units, reroute units that need repair or processing to a different station of garments, and check their efficiencies and earnings.

A unit garment production system can control multiple routes and simultaneous production of multiple styles without restructuring production lines in garments. The control centres may perform routing and automatic balancing of workflow, which reduces bottlenecks and work stoppages. Each operator as well as the control centres is able to monitor individual work history. The system of garment production will calculate the earnings per hour, per day, and the efficiency rate of each garment operator.

2.2 Production system according to Lectra® : Another technological development which is pertinent to mention is production system developed by Lectra®, known as PLM. Integrated textile development and 3D prototyping solutions support the transformation of creative ideas into products. These highly visual communication tools facilitate collaboration between design, other teams, and suppliers to maintain creative vision throughout development. Easy-to-access visual libraries provide convenient centralized storage for collection elements and reduce repetitive administrative tasks that take time away from creative work. Core products and their components – such as embellishments, colourways, and construction details – are available for reuse the next season and can be shared easily with suppliers for quick replenishment.

Lectra® Fashion PLM gives fashion companies complete control over operations so that they can continuously anticipate and respond to consumer demands down to colour, size, style, and fit for each distribution channel, while at the same time making supply-side decisions and reacting quickly and intelligently to external factors, such as fluctuations in the price of raw materials.

Another feature of Lectra® PLM is to manage fabric to reduce costs. Embedded automated marker-making tools enable fast and effective prototyping, costing, and production. The material management solution can be used to optimize markers and increase material efficiency, generating fabric savings of up to 5%.

2.3 Laser Cutting in Apparel Production: This high precision and high quality cutting results into high added value for garment cut by laser. And the high precision one-time cutting can help garment manufacturers save fabric, production time as well as labour cost by great measures. Besides, data for every pattern can be saved in computer for future use. The need to draw graphics/sketch, cut and keep cardboard for each size of each style by hand is eliminated. That is why it is so good for made-to-measure garment and to make pattern/sample clothes.

Figure 1: Clothing laser cutting machine

  1. DEVELOPMENTS IN MANAGEMENT: SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT through Quick Response & Agile Marketing: “Managing the Supply Chain to meet Consumer Demand”. Quick Response Management emphasizes the beneficial effect of reducing internal and external lead times. Shorter lead times improve quality, reduce cost and eliminate non-value-added waste within the organization while simultaneously increasing the organization’s competitiveness and market share by serving customers better and faster.

Quick response (QR) is widely accepted and implemented by retailers of department store type merchandise. QR is also described as a state of responsiveness and flexibility in which an organization seeks to provide a highly diverse range of products and services to customer/consumer in the exact quantity. Many retailers have found that they can serve customers better by implementing QR without reducing profits. A QR strategy is reported to result in efficiencies, such as quicker deliveries, faster inventory turns, fewer stock-outs, fewer markdowns and lower inventory investment. Most companies that have implemented QR have got positive impacts on their financial and operating data by increasing profits and/or imparting better pricing to consumers. The introduction and implementation of QR are gradually increasing.

Implementation of QR strategies provides a lot of advantages. It is evident from the previous research that all of the below economic benefits and advantages to both the retailers and to the supply chain members have been obtained because of QR implementation. The benefits of QR implementation can be tabulated as follows:

Table 1: Advantages of QR implementation

The typical disadvantages of implementing QR systems for the suppliers are:

  • Installing of IT systems increases the cost.
  • Increased retailer demands may erode the margin.
  1. FASHION TRENDS AND ITS DEVELOPMENTS: The meaning of latest trends and fashion technology gives an explanation of fashion as a sign system of cultural change and ethnic belonging. New trends development depends on the climate, culture, weather and the textile materials. There are different fashion trends in different states at different times. Outfits can be made from different types of textiles to suit different occasions and climate. Mostly, traditional Indian preference is using cottons and silk apparels, although, lately the fashion trend in India is diverting towards western culture and people prefer to wear western style outfits.

Fashion is a very broad word, fashion never remains the same and over the years fashion changes periodically and also repeats with new sensibilities. It is exciting, stylish and very graceful.

The art and work related with the designers is not only restricted with the designing of clothes but also broadens to fashion accessories like shoes, bags, jewellery and many more. The interest in fashion apparel is on endless rise; accordingly the concerned opportunities and competition exists. A few of the current trends for Spring Summer collection are highlighted here to elucidate these facts. Spring/Summer fashion is all about bright colours and bold prints. So, it’s right time to ditch the dark and heavy winter clothes and go for something colourful and trendy, must-have pieces of the season. This season, women fashion trends feature dazzling prints, eye-popping colours, and overall, new styles.
Figure 2: Colour Block Trend

The trend that is popping out everywhere this season is colour block fashion trend. Fun and playful dresses in striking combinations are in. A mix of hot pink, emerald green, tangerine, lemon yellow, turquoise and many more vibrant shades are seen on red carpet and street. Colour blocking effects on clothes are complimented by accessories like shoes and handbags for a fun-edgy look.





Figure 3:  Floral Jeans Trend

Spring/Summer 2012 season was all about floral prints. Floral print trend has dominated most runways and now floral jeans trend became one of the season’s biggest trends.

Figure 4: Neon Colour Trend

The spring spirit is embraced in a loud neon coloured dress. From dresses to shoes, handbags to hair or nails; everything was going neon. The key to stay true to trend was not to wear many neon pieces at the same time. Neon coloured shoes, bags, jewellery etc adds to fresh and fun look



Figure 5: Maxi Dress Trend

Feminine and elegant maxi dress was the centre of attention for many. Summery maxi dress is an essential piece of every woman’s wardrobe. These long flowing dresses were flattering, comfortable and very smart. There was an array of styles to choose from. These dresses were worn with flats and chunky jewellery pieces for a gorgeous look.




CONCLUSION: The fast changing scenario apparel production requires enormous expertise, both technological and managerial, to manage the business. A few developments and trends are mentioned in this article to understand these transformations. It is expected that this write-up will generate further interest in the reader to obtain a comprehensive idea on the subject.


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  2. https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/664358/
  3. www.lectra.com
  4. www.lectra.com/en/fashion_apparel/products
  5. Barnes, L and Leegreenwood, G, ‘Fast fashioning and supply chain shaping the research agenda’, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 10, Issue 3, 2006, pp-259