Skip to main content
Apparel, Fashion & Luxury
Back to How We Help Clients

Apparel, Fashion & Luxury

Our pioneering expertise and global network enable our Apparel, Fashion & Luxury clients to drive change and flourish in a fast-moving and unpredictable industry.

The combination of today’s volatility, changing growth areas, and new technologies disrupting the global economy have given way to a more connected and discernible global fashion consumer than
ever before. As the pace of industry change accelerates, having innovative and sustainable business models is increasingly important.

Who we are

Our global team of experts includes former product, merchandising, sales, and supply-chain managers from renowned apparel, fashion, and luxury companies.

Over the last 5 years, we have brought our expertise and industry insights to more than 1000 apparel, fashion, and luxury projects. Our clients range from medium-size companies to industry leaders—spanning across producers and brands, vertical fashion retailers, apparel multibrand retailers, department stores, and luxury-goods companies.

What we do

We advise across all functions along the value chain—consumer insights, value proposition, company strategy, product creation, supply chain, channels, and stores. Some specific examples include the following:

Digital strategy

We cocreate digital strategies with clients through workshops—tapping into our proprietary solutions and tools—that help to identify where the value is, design pilots, and build a digital road map for implementation.

International growth

We assess international growth potential through initial market screening, creation and selection of a value proposition, development of a detailed market-entry plan, and design of the regional country organization. Our global network of experts works with proprietary solutions and tools, such as McKinsey FashionScope—a city-level growth forecasting tool for the fashion industry—and Periscope Insight Solutions that generates in-depth consumer insights from both qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Pricing and promotions

Our pricing approach is grounded in both our extensive apparel experience along with our application of repeatable analytics. One example of how we do this is our proprietary solution, Periscope Price Advisor, that is used to guide apparel companies through the pricing, forecasting, promotion, and markdown decisions they need to make throughout a product's life cycle to maximize margin.

Speed

We help accelerate end-to-end product creation and increase in-season response by redesigning the product-creation calendars. This helps streamline processes and clarify roles and responsibilities within an organization. Through digitizing processes and consumer-data analysis, we apply insights to merchandising and right-sizing of assortments to ensure consumer centricity is top of mind.

Omnichannel supply chain

We help clients in end-to-end transformations to build out segmented supply-chain capabilities. This includes omnichannel readiness, inventory visibility, redesigning of the physical flow of goods from suppliers to consumers, demand forecasting, and order management. Our partnerships with leading IT companies help to optimize and accelerate clients’ processes from planning through distribution to better manage costs and inventory along the way.

Sourcing

We use a multiphased approach—from diagnosis to implementation—to help clients make their sourcing decisions, increase end-to-end productivity of value chains, build strategic supplier partnerships, and integrate sustainability into their practices. To do this, we tap into our network of global sourcing centers, international Design-to-Value labs, and our Digital Capability Center in Aachen that focuses on textile manufacturing.

Restructuring

We begin by setting the right strategy in place, targeting sources of commercial and operational value as well as nonfinancial drivers that serve as indicators of future performance. We then identify and capture value through our proprietary tools, such as our Periscope Assortment Advisor software that models demand transferability and Wave, our web-based program-management tool that tracks initiatives and quantifies impact from the transformation.

Postmerger management

Postmerger, we help clients identify and tap into the right synergies, build capabilities, shape new corporate cultures, and streamline integrations. With value creation always our primary goal, we tailor the integration approach and pace to each client’s unique needs, assessing and aligning organizational compatibility to minimize any potential pain points along the way.

Partnership

Business of Fashion (BoF)

Since 2017, we have partnered with the media company Business of Fashion to provide a comprehensive view of the forces shaping the fashion industry. Together, we publish the annual State of Fashion report that offers an in-depth look at the leading global trends for the coming year, provides an update on industry sentiment based on the BoF–McKinsey Global Fashion Survey, and contains the McKinsey Global Fashion Index—a metric that estimates industry sales and tracks operating profit and economic-value creation. Additionally, the McKinsey Apparel, Fashion & Luxury team is a knowledge partner for the BoF VOICES conference, one of the leading industry events.

Related Insights

Interview

A perfect storm for fashion marketplaces

– In this virtual roundtable, European fashion executives discuss digital acceleration and the role of marketplaces in light of... the COVID-19 crisis.
Article

Fashion’s digital transformation: Now or never

– Some apparel, fashion, and luxury companies won’t survive the current crisis; others will emerge better positioned for the future.... Much will depend on their digital and analytics capabilities.
Report

Time for change: How to use the crisis to make fashion sourcing more agile and sustainable

– COVID-19 has sent shockwaves through the fashion industry’s global sourcing and production operations. A survey of sourcing executives... reveals their immediate response to the crisis and details strategies to reshape sourcing for a demand-driven, sustainable future.
Article

Reimagining stores for retail’s next normal

– At some point, retail stores will reopen—but unless apparel and specialty retailers redefine the role of the store and revamp... store operations, they will be ill prepared for the post-COVID-19 future.
Report

It’s time to rewire the fashion system: State of Fashion coronavirus update

– Fashion executives are focusing on crisis management now but eventually must shift to reimagining the industry. How will changes... to the global economy and consumers’ behavior affect fashion in the postcoronavirus world?
Article

A perspective for the luxury-goods industry during—and after—coronavirus

– In these uncertain times, luxury-goods companies must take action to “navigate the now,” plan for the recovery, and shape the... future.
Article

Perspectives for North America’s fashion industry in a time of crisis

– Apparel retailers, department-store chains, and cosmetics stores employ millions of people. Industry leaders must take quick action... while also planning for postcrisis realities.
Article

Patterns for value creation in apparel, fashion, and luxury

– Performance in the fashion and luxury industries has turned lower, but leading companies haven’t been deterred. Here’s how they... excel.
Podcast

Uncovering the state of fashion

– With the global economy cooling and concerns about sustainability rising, the mood among fashion-industry executives is far from... exuberant.
Article

The fashion industry in 2020: Ten top themes from The State of Fashion

– Amid uncertainty, brands, retailers, and other fashion-industry players must act strategically to capitalize on digital opportunities,... boost earnings, and address sustainability.
Article

A closer look at the fashion industry in Gulf Cooperation Council markets

– Middle Eastern consumers are experienced and increasingly savvy, but the region is grappling with shifting economic currents and... the rise of digital. For brands, this implies risks but also opportunities.
Sorry, we couldn't find any results. Try removing some filters.

Connect with our Retail Practice