This issue of Textile Progress provides a critical literature review and reflection relating to academic research in the field of fashion buying and merchandising, with a specific focus on the fashion product development process. As the topic has not been reviewed before in Textile Progress, the paper follows the process of fashion product development, a key task that forms one of the many responsibilities of fashion buyers and merchandisers and explores the literature from its origins to the present day, capturing the significant elements that have changed and shaped the process over time. Establishing the challenges and changes in contemporary fashion retailing enables the development of an understanding of how and why these fundamental factors impact not only the process of getting products from idea to concept, but also the roles and responsibilities of the buyers and merchandisers; added to this, the review provides a critical overview of the Buying Cycle. The review further explores the external and internal components and participants influencing the fashion product development process, thereby updating what can be found in the existing product development literature to reflect the current state-of-play in the industry. By illustrating and reviewing the process models of new product development and fashion product development from their original and early forms to the present day, the review establishes the links, connections, and differences across both the more-general and specific areas of research. Subsequently, there is a review of the roles and responsibilities of the fashion buyer and merchandiser, alongside a discussion of how the developments, advancements and transformation of the industry have changed the nature of the involvement of these crucial personnel in the fashion product development process over time. This aspect of the review provides a base upon which to analyse the contemporary fashion-retail buying cycle, establishing its early connection to organisational decision-making process models and the implications and challenges that product assortment planning, development, and retailing pose on the cycle. The last two chapters of this review are dedicated to two crucial areas of the contemporary fashion industry, namely sustainability and technology and address how they have become key drivers in determining the roles of the fashion buyer and merchandiser and how the fashion product development process is now addressed.
- Product development