How a label can change the apparel industry | Avery Dennison

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How a label can change the apparel industry

The apparel industry is fast-changing. When you look at the global economy, there is an increased amount of unpredictability and brands are expected to react faster in order to meet consumer demands. Customization is at the heart of the industry shift with consumers craving an experience that is personal and also engages them at multiple touchpoints. Not only does it need to be customizable, it needs to happen faster and there is a level of transparency that brands must provide about how a garment is sourced and made. The traditional supply chain model has made it difficult for brands to adapt, but digital innovation is going to be the game-changer in order to stay competitive and drive change.

Recently, Michael Colarossi, vice president, innovation, product line management and sustainability at Avery Dennison RBIS, presented to a group of graduate students at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan, NY, about the apparel industry and the increased focus on sustainability. The students were comprised of  industry professionals enrolled in FIT's Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Global Fashion Management, which prepares emerging fashion executives for top managerial positions in the burgeoning international fashion industry. Offered by FIT in collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong and Institut Français de la Mode in Paris, the program draws upon an international faculty and the facilities and industry contacts of three major institutions on three continents.

The discussion, held at FIT’s annual symposium, focused on how the “humble label” is poised to drive change in the apparel industry, with a specific focus on sustainability, personalization/customization, and digitization. A label, while seemingly simple, provides a larger opportunity to tell a story and engage a consumer on a garment’s journey.

The apparel industry will always be dynamic, and we are currently seeing trends in sustainability, speed, digitization and customization/personalization driving a need for new solutions

Michael Colarossi
Vice President, Innovation, Product Line Management and Sustainability



Key takeaways from this discussion included:

  • Sustainability: Consumers want transparency around how a garment is made and they want to understand its life cycle up to the point of purchase. This is where the label comes into play as one of the easiest ways to communicate this information.

  • Personalization and Customization: Customization continues to be a growing-trend in the industry because consumers want something unique to their experience. The analog supply chain process makes the interaction with the consumer difficult  and it is challenging to make the “story” fast and efficient for the scale required on a global level. In going digital, there’s an opportunity to demonstrate the possibilities.

  • Embracing Digital: Digital innovation gives us the opportunity to create experiences that will transform how consumers interact within the traditional retail cycle. Through a combination of products being “born digital” and an interconnected, digital development and supply chain process, the apparel industry has the opportunity to become radically more efficient and sustainable, and faster.The level of consumer engagement expands every step of the way from the moment clothing is purchased in-store to the second it’s added to a consumer’s closet. The possibilities are endless with multi-channel touchpoints.

Avery Dennison is focused on driving innovation, enhancing agility, and providing more transparency as we adapt to the industry shifts. We are committed to using less virgin materials and/or more sustainable components, increasing reuse and recycling, and finding ways to improve the circularity of garments. With our ambitious set of 2025 sustainability goals driving our actions, we will continue to accelerate our sustainability efforts and serve as a force for good.


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