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The Role of Networks in Fashion Designing

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The Role of Networks in Fashion Designing: The disconnect between designers and manufacturers in London





This paper is an empirical study of the role of networks in fashion designing in
London. There is evidence that the relationship between new, small, fashion
design firms and apparel manufacturing is one of the weakest points in the
fashion production chain. Analysis is based on our interview data as well as a
critical review of the relevant literature. We propose that these problems
have two main causes: a) designers are locked-in to the retail-led, Londonbased
networks, which are dominated by strong links with the design colleges
and industry-related institutions; b) as a consequence of this, their
relationships with manufacturers lack trust, reciprocity and knowledge
exchange for successful prototyping and scaling up of production to be
achieved. Negotiation of constraints and specificities of designs are made
more difficult because of personal, cultural, linguistic, physical and
organizational differences, which create cognitive distance and
incompatibility between the fields of fashion design and apparel


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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