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 Perisope Insights 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, Perisope 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 to 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 Perisope 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.
  • Partnerships

    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.

    Women’s Wear Daily (WWD)

    Since 2012, McKinsey has been the exclusive consulting-firm knowledge partner of the annual WWD Apparel and Retail CEO Summit. Bringing together 250-plus apparel- and retail company presidents and CEOs, these summits serve as core platforms for global apparel-, fashion-, and luxury-industry leaders to meet and discuss the most cutting-edge topics facing their businesses.

Featured experts

Achim Berg

Senior Partner, Frankfurt

Aimee Kim

Senior Partner, Seoul

Jennifer Spaulding Schmidt

Senior Partner, Minneapolis

Related Insights

Interview

The journey to an agile organization at Zalando

– Europe’s leading online fashion platform embraced purpose, autonomy, and mastery to build agility, explains VP Engineering... Eric Bowman.
Article

The need for speed: Capturing today’s fashion consumer

– Top performers are using data analytics and consumer insights to stay ahead of the pack.
Report

Luxury in the age of digital Darwinism

– To survive and prosper, luxury players need to enhance the customer experience and transform their businesses for the digital... era.
Article

How the mall business can reinvent itself for the digital age

– The digital shopping revolution offers new opportunities to mall operators agile enough to seize them.
Report

Renewed optimism for the fashion industry

– After a challenging stretch, has fashion turned the corner? Things are looking up, but the rebound may be uneven, says this year’s... The State of Fashion report.

Powerful pricing: The next frontier in apparel and fashion advanced analytics

The competitive landscape in apparel is shifting rapidly as new price leaders capture market share. Our pricing solutions optimize... pricing in a fast-changing market environment.
Article

A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future

– The clothing industry’s take-make-dispose model has large economic, environmental, and social costs. A transformation based... on circular-economy principles could lead to better outcomes.
Article

Changing the channels landscape to satisfy Japanese luxury consumers’ appetite for novelty

– What’s shifting in the world’s second-largest luxury market? To keep up, brands will need to confront challenges and... explore new strategies.
Article

What shoppers really want from personalized marketing

– What customers want and what businesses think they want are often two different things. Here’s what customers are looking... for.
Report

Digitization: The next stop for the apparel-sourcing caravan

– Stepping up digital efforts in purchasing could help apparel companies transform. A survey of sourcing executives highlights trends... and opportunities.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

The two faces of fashion-industry performance

– Top-quintile companies are the engines of value creation. Digitization and better in-store experiences will drive future gains.