Today's fashion supply chain is multi-continental and intertwined with diverse elements scattered in all over of the world. The best option, probably the only option, to make it truly transparent, sustainable, and effectively manageable is to digitalise it seamlessly.

While industrial and social digitalisation gained pace during the covid-19 pandemic and more and more digital solutions for industry 4.0 applications are appearing on the market, the digitalisation along the global fashion supply chain is not happening at same level at same depth and speed. Specially at the manufacturers’ side in the countries like Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Vietnam and others, it is far behind the situation at retailers’ side in Europe and America. As a result, designers, fashion buyers/merchandisers and sustainability professionals at the European and American retailers’ side struggle to implement and manage digital solutions while working with their Asian counterparts and the transparency and sustainability about the products from the fashion companies including the big names like Marks & Spencer, NEXT, NIKE, adidas, Primark etc. are always in question. On the other hand, digital fashion is not just limited to computer-aided design (CAD) and manufacturing (CAM), but rather runs throughout the fashion business, from product life cycle management and developing new business models that promote sustainability to connecting virtual and augmenting reality with fashion to enhance consumers’ experience through smart solutions. It has emerged as a multidisciplinary field of knowledge that attracts overlapping interests from the academics, researchers and professionals coming from fashion design, business and technology; computer science, software engineering, animation and gaming, anthropometrics, supply chain management and industry 4.0, big data and artificial intelligence, and industrial sustainability. Realising the complexity of the issue, an action is deemed required to bring all parties of digital fashion together to streamline the adoption and development of innovative solutions along the global fashion supply chain. This is to be done through the proposed digital fashion network (DFN).

The Network

The Network will be formed with members from industry and academia covering diverse disciplines and geographical locations related to the digital fashion and be expanded throughout the project life-time. It will organise several hybrid events including four workshops, one of which will be hosted by iCo-I in Bangladesh to better connect with the fashion manufacturers, six online webinars (one in every three months) on the latest innovations in digital fashion, an international conference on “Digital Fashion Innovation”, a research paper competition for PGRs, one 3D design and illustration competition for students and an online exhibition. An edited book titled “Advances in Digital Fashion Innovations” through Textile Institute’s Professional series (CRC Press and Taylor & Francis) will be produced with chapter contributions by the shortlisted speakers of the aforesaid conference. It also aimed to deliver an international research group for post-project collaboration in research and bidding activities.

DFN will be unique in its kind as no such network focusing specially on digital fashion exists at present. The network will echo the ethos of the multiple United Nation’s sustainable development goals (SGDs). It will contribute towards the achievement of the target 9.5 of SDG 9 through promotion of scientific research and upgradation of the technological capabilities of textile and fashion industrial sectors in developing countries in particular Bangladesh.

It will also complement the target 12.a of SDG 12 by promoting digital fashion innovations in developing countries, e.g. Bangladesh, and catalysing towards the strengthening of their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of textile and fashion production.

Project Lead- (PL):

Dr. Abu Sadat Muhammad Sayem

Manchester Fashion Institute,

Manchester Metropolitan University

Project co-lead (international) (PcL (I)):

Professor Ayub Nabi Khan

Pro Vice-Chancellor, 

BGMEA University of Fashion & Technology

Members of the Steering Committee

  • Ms Stephanie Dick, The Textile Institute
  • Mr. Jason Kent, British Textile Machinery Association
  • Professor Fiona Hackney, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Professor Susan Postlethwaite, Manchester Metropolitan University 
  • Professor Deepti Gupta, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
  • Professor Parikshit Goswami, University of Huddersfield
  • Professor Stephen J. Russell, University of Leeds
  • Dr Tracy MOK, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University 
  • Professor Kirsty Fairclough, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Professor Alhussein Albarbar, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Professor Rudrajeet Pal, Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås
  • Mr. Adam Mansell, UK Fashion and Textile Association
  • Mr. Sajjad Khan, Chair, Apparel & Textiles Manufacturers Federation