A Wonderful Analysis Under Armour’s Randy Harward’s AAPN Fireside Chat

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Devin Steele of eTextile Communications is a long time friend of AAPN and an industry expert whose knowledge of it is hard to match. This is his analysis of Randy Harward’s AAPN Fireside Chat, and it’s a great piece.

UA’s Harward: Constraints can be liberating for retail, fast fashion

In a sweeping, thought-provoking discussion of fast fashion and retailing, Randy Harward of Under Armour posited that limitations we think may be hindrances can be turned into core strengths if leveraged properly.

Harward’s talk came recently as he keynoted the Atlanta-based Americas Apparel Producers Network‘s (AAPN’s) second online “Fireside Chat,” part of the network’s new American Ingenuity Series. Under the title, “Hey, Einstein, We All Live in the Same Universe,” he called constraints the “mother of invention.”

“This idea that somehow planning in advance or aligning your manufacturing capacity with your partners and your color point of view and your material point of view somehow constrains your ability to respond to what consumers want is a really strange notion that has evolved,” said Harward, UA’s senior vice president of Material and Manufacturing Innovation. “And even at many design schools – and I interview a lot of young folks who come to work at Under Armour – students are taught to work without those constraints and not to consider those things. And I think that’s a real shame. There is opportunity conversely to use those constraints to be more relevant. It helps you create the most valuable thing a business can have and that’s a point of view in the marketplace. It’s a sea of sameness without it.”

During his opening remarks that he termed a “provocative poke,” he asserted that no absolutes exist, “but I am poking at the notion that ‘all we need to do is shorten supply lead times and everything will be better.’ ” Read More