The Conference dedicated to Digitalisation in fashion business within R2B - SMAU was held with a successful participation.
The meeting was held on June 9, 2017 in Research to Business – SMAU. A large number of participants attended the event, it was also the occasion for the first European match-making event between companies and research on the theme of Fashion promoted by The European RegioTex initiative.
In short, the world of fashion had a whole day dedicated to its topics and also the opportunity to meet the regional companies and actors from various European countries mobilized by the RegioTex network.
It should be emphasized that this day was born from the joint effort of several regional and European actors:
ENEA contributed technically supporting ASTER and Emilia-Romagna Region in RegioTex initiative, co-organizing face-to-face meetings at Innovat & Match as a Simpler Consortium partner and bringing its research and innovation experience (eBIZ 4.0 and Visage projects) through its regional CROSS-TEC research laboratory (www.cross-tec.enea.it).
Following Barbara Busi (ASTER) and Eleonora Zoboli (Watify) introduction, the Regional Ministry for to the Productive Activities of Emilia-Romagna Region, Palma Costi, brought greeting to participants giving the signal of how the Region is engaged in the strengthening and revitalizing of the fashion industry, an industry that has more than 20,000 companies and 90,000 employees in the region.
Looking at what already done, ministry Costi focused on: the Fashion Valley project, which was born to enhance the cultural heritage and creativity of the region's businesses; the recent creation of CLUST-ER associations to implements S3 strategy (Regional Strategic Specialization Strategies) bringing research and industry together on some priority areas (including the Cultural and Creative Industries, that also includes the fashion industry, along with tourism, Multimedia, etc.); and the efforts made to attract investment and students from around the world to study the region's excellence in fashion.
The recently constituted CLUST-ER on Cultural and Creative Industries is a theme that will take-over in the next months, since this structure collects all public and private laboratories (for example from ENEA, CNR, Universities of Bologna, Modena and Reggio Emilia, Ferrara and Parma) who worked for the definition of strategies and projects for innovation and industrial research in the region. Within this framework, there are several Value Chains, thematic working groups, one of which is explicitly addressing the Fashion-er Valley value chain.
As this first initiative witnesses, the effort of the Region, ASTER and of all the CLUST-ER associations is the promotion of initiatives in the regional area, strongly incorporated into the research and innovation European networks.
Lutz Walter (Euratex) highlighted the great opportunities, but also the threats from the transformation in distribution and into the organization of distribution and production chains. An example is the halving of Mall's and large distribution sales in the Anglo-Saxon countries in a few years. He strongly invited to innovate in order not to die since there are no niches that can survive without innovation. So the Fashion sector appears to be an indispensable sector for jobs and sales in Europe, mainly in Italy. A sector subject to big changes but also, for the first time, a solid growth.
Following three European projects, currently in progress, were presented related to different aspects of digitalization of fashion.
The theme of interoperability between IT systems of fashion chains is a precondition for pushing companies in the direction of industry 4.0, when factories and chains will have all their systems interconnected and exchanging information.
The supply chains theme is particularly delicate for the fashion system and for the regional fashion system in particular.
On this theme Piero De Sabbata (ENEA) presented eBIZ 4.0 (www.ebiz-tcf.eu/ and also http://www.moda-ml.org/), the third step in the process of creating and disseminating an European standard for data exchange in fashion supply chains launched by Euratex and technically supported by ENEA.
The project includes three pilots, one in Italy, one in France and one in Spain for a total of 60 companies that will focus the application of eBIZ on topics like traceability and preferential origin certification.
The product virtualization, especially yarn and fabric, is another very important issue for a true fashion supply chains breakthrough.
Although it’s a long time that eCommerce sites show off 'realistic' representations of garments and textiles, the theme of a very high-fidelity representation of the fabric's appearance, especially in correlation with the various Finishing treatments available to the designer, is still unsolved.
This is the theme of VISAGE (www.visage-project.eu), a project presented by Silvia Salvetti from Biella (Domina), who aims to realize a virtual chain, from the yarn to the to the fabric manufacturer and clothing designer.
Not less important than digitalization are other issues as the access to the end consumer market, eCommerce platforms and the customization of the garment industry integrated with new innovative production cycles.
This was the theme presented by Rafael H. Stark (Alugroup) speaking about the MyShopNet project (www.myshopnet.eu) whose partners are AluGroup (Spain), Bivolino.com (Belgium), Change of Paradigm (UK) And ATC (Greece).
The subject of the project is the implementation (market uptake), on a group of 15 different pilots, of an on-line sale platform for customised fashion products (eyewear, shoe or clothing), integrating Internet sales channels with production chains .
Stark reported data supporting the 'urgency' of adopting efficient and useful solutions by producers: two-thirds of population buy on the Internet in United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and Germany. On the opposite in Romania' 'only' a tenth. In the middle we find countries like Italy (5 out of 10), with a big growing trend.
At the end of the conference, concluded in the morning, started the face-to-face and multilateral meetings dedicated to fashion. Mainly they involved potential partners from different countries.
Now the speeches are available on line at watify-bologna.b2match.io/