Fashion Industry Is Going Lean

The famous saying in software development of “build and they’ll come” have hit hard on once-iconic American retailers across the country. J. Crew, Gap, Macy’s, Sears, JC Penney have seen a huge decline in sales in the last 15 months according to a Business Insider article.

You know the guy who said “build and they’ll come”? It turns out he’s broke.

The reason, you might ask, is largely attributed to how they’ve been developing products for the past few years. Gap, who’s seen a high-record decline in sales, has been developing products with the “build it and they’ll come” mindset for years, which has proven to be a disaster in software development, specially for start-ups. (typically, it hurts any business but large corporations have millions of cash to burn at their disposal.)

We’re seeing the same mistakes in other industries, so the need to be lean and fast to market is becoming even more apparent in other industries as well.

I’m no fashion expert, nor I’m claiming to understand the fashion business model, but the companies, known as fast-fashion retailers, that are succeeding are adopting new and lean ways of building products by accelerating the feedback loop — build, measure, learn.

Although the lean methodology was introduced by a car producer, Toyota, the Lean Startup movement has really gained a lot of momentum in the past few years and have saved a lot of companies from going out of business too soon.

It’s been fascinating to see industries change how they build products. First, car industry, then software, now fashion. Who’s next?

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