Skip to main content
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 900 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

Report

How young Chinese consumers are reshaping global luxury

– Global brands face new opportunities as luxury represents a powerful form of social capital for young Chinese consumers.
Article

Self-disruption in the fashion industry

– To keep up with digital advancements and with consumers’ preference for novelty, brands must be willing to adapt.
Article

What radical transparency could mean for the fashion industry

– Consumers’ trust in brands has been eroding. This has implications across the value chain.
Article

The ‘digital land grab’ in fashion

– As e-commerce and platforms evolve, fashion companies could use them to realize higher margins and build scale.
Article

Now or never: Immediacy and customer experience in fashion retail

– To serve and inspire shoppers, retailers and brands need to think through how new technology has changed the customer decision... journey.
Article

The influence of ‘woke’ consumers on fashion

– Shoppers, particularly younger ones, have social and environmental issues on their minds. Here’s what the fashion industry... should know about the trend.
Article

The end of ownership for fashion products?

– Business models capitalizing on preowned, refurbished, or rented products have hit the fashion market. The industry needs to pay... attention as these models continue to evolve.
Article

The fashion market and ‘Trade 2.0’

– Companies should make contingency plans for a potential shake-up of global value chains. Here’s how the apparel trade could... be reshaped by new barriers, trade tensions, and uncertainty.
Article

How India’s ascent could change the fashion industry

– There’s great promise in India’s apparel market—but challenges as well. Here’s what brands need to know... about the country’s rise.
Article

Caution ahead: Global growth and the fashion industry

– Our State of Fashion 2019 report suggests dampening economic growth is one of ten important trends to watch for the year.... What will it mean for your company’s strategic agenda?
Article

Ten trends for the fashion industry to watch in 2019

– What issues matter for brands and retailers most in the coming months?
Sorry, we couldn't find any results. Try removing some filters.

Connect with our Retail Practice