Driving digital transformation in fashion.
For nearly 50 years, WhichPLM’s Mark Harrop has helped brands, retailers, and manufacturers make intelligent investments in technology and smart choices for process change. Ask us what your future looks like.
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Looking for fashion technology editorial? All PLM, 3D, and other extended technology content is now at The Interline

A fashion technology pioneer with an extensive global network.

Mark Started his career in fashion manufacturing in 1974 and has been a fashion technology evangelist and process expert since 1985. He blends decades of direct experience in manufacturing with a long history of introducing new technologies and new processes to the apparel and footwear industries. Today he is trusted by the biggest brands, the most recognisable retailers, the most innovative manufacturers, and the most exciting technology companies on the global stage to spearhead change.

Expertise spans the full spectrum of fashion technology, with a particular focus on influencing the digital-native future of design, development, and manufacturing. His career has seen him pioneer the use of 3D footwear and apparel systems, brought
the first PDM solution to market, and built the blueprint for PLM in 1999.

Working with leaders across every segment of the fashion industry to challenge their digital transformation strategies, and to visualise the “art of the possible”. His engagements with leading brands, retailers, manufacturers, and textile mills have helped world-leading businesses introduce new processes and build digital-first solutions to meet a changing world. He also directs and advises technology companies of all shapes and sizes.

Prior to focusing on advisory projects, he founded and ran leading fashion PLM magazine WhichPLM. He also founded, and continues to provide strategic direction to, The Interline, which now includes PLM as a key part of its full-spectrum fashion technology coverage. 

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How We Operate

WhichPLM is comfortable operating at all levels of your business, from C-level to the process champions, and down to the operator levels throughout the supply-chain. We support visioning, strategy and tactical requirements of the business digital journey. We operate across the entire digital value-chain from Tier 0 to Tier 4, supporting design, development, manufacturing best-practices, environmental & sustainability ‘impact use cases’ and datatypes.

Advisory Services

Fashion is being reshaped by post-pandemic changes in consumer behaviour, sourcing and logistics challenges, rapidly shrinking trend windows, and greater scrutiny and enforcement around sustainability. To respond to disruption and deliver digital transformation, brands, retailers, and manufacturers are looking to remodel their end-to-end technology ecosystems.

From trend analysis and storyboarding, through sizing, 2D and 3D pattern development, costing, sourcing, workflow collaboration, and more, WhichPLM’s strategic services are aimed at unlocking and supporting fundamental changes to the way fashion works.

Digital strategy and process benchmarking

Deeper than any off-the-shelf process evaluation, we examine process, technology, and people across more than 20 strategic areas – and sub-processes under each – to measure our clients’ digital maturity states against their their near and long-term strategic visions. Our detailed, fully-bespoke findings become handbooks for technology initiatives, cornerstones for digital transformation up and downstream, and roadmaps for creating business cases and delivering return on investment.

PLM landscaping and business case support

WhichPLM has a proven track record of working at the cutting edge of both big enterprise and agile, multi-tenant cloud PLM to make sure our clients get the best possible results from the latest PLM solutions. Based on a library of PLM solution evaluations, we examine what our clients want to achieve with PLM, which solution will be fit their needs, when they should implement, upgrade or replace, who should form the implementation team, what the budget should be, and where their PLM journey will take them.

Expert extended-PLM assessment and arbitration

We work with global brands, retailers, and manufacturers to benchmark their current PLM and extended-PLM technology ecosystems, and the processes built around them, against industry best practices. These engagements deliver an unbiased, expert perspective on how far PLM and other technologies have come towards realising their original vision, how well-integrated they are to the business’s strategic roadmap, and what future possibilities they could unlock. We also audit PLM vendors to challenge and validate their capabilities, and we can act as arbitrators to get PLM implementations back on track.

3D and DPC benchmarking and roadmap development

WhichPLM has been driving forward the adoption of 3D tools across footwear and apparel for decades. Our expert knowledge of software, hardware, file formats, digital materials, and detailed best practices extends across every process areas that digital product creation (DPC) touches – from design and development all the way downstream. We have carefully developed an evaluation framework covering problems, possibilities, processes, people and integrations – all with the goal of helping our clients to build a DPC ecosystem that’s fit for the future, and that delivers a return on investment today.

Why Choose WhichPLM?

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WhichPLM has a proven history of success in helping global fashion leaders in every sector to digitally transform their businesses, take advantage of emerging technologies, and transition from home-grown processes to best-practice workflows. Our services have helped our clients to stay ahead of their competitors, to remain in tune with the ever changing demands of their consumers, and to deal with historic disruption and uncertainty.

We have been spearheading fashion technology since the 1970s, and are trusted for our objective approach to innovation – making sure that the “art of the possible” gets grounded in reality. From designing open APIs and educating the next generation of talent, to running PLM customer surveys and building roadmaps to 3D working, we understand what brands, retailers, and manufacturers want from technology, and we have an unmatched breadth and depth of experience tailored to delivering digital transformation across the fashion value chain.

Testimonials & References

We are proud to have been trusted by both the biggest brands and the most exciting emerging companies, as well as world-renowned retailers and the technology vendors who support them. Below is a curated list of some of our most recent success stories; click the link below any of them to open our complete reference pack.

SCOT KLOCKE, SENIOR IT MANAGER

I would like to take the opportunity to offer a formal recommendation for Mark Harrop and his outstanding team at WhichPLM. As the Senior T Manager of Go-To-Market Applications at Columbia Sportswear, have had direct responsibility for the global, enterprise-wide applications that Support our Sales, Marketing, and Production Creation departments of this 1.7 billion dollar Apparel and Footwear Corporation. Read more
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NOEMI MOLTO, PLM PROJECT DIRECTOR

Mark Harrop, as a PLM expert, can give an objective and based- experience feedback of each of the PLM solutions available in the market. His experience and knowledge can be really helpful. His really objective feedback, doing a wide benchmark on all possible solutions can help a lot in order to get to the last short list on a PLM selection project. Read more
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DONALD BROWNE, PRODUCTION DIRECTOR

As the Production Director at Ted Baker I am always looking to make our processes more efficient, and through reading many articles I believed we needed a PLM system. In my quest to find the right one we sat through many presentations ending up more confused than when we started. Read more
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TANYA FRASER, PROJECT MANAGER

Black Mik Clothing is an online retailer and a manufacturer, so we cover a lot of the supply chain within our business. We were looking at our options for improving Our general business management, stock management and manufacturing processes through good software. Read more
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FREDRIK ANDERSON, SOURCING MANAGER

I have known Mark and the WhichPLM team since we started Out on our PLM search back in 2007. Initially, we got to know the WhichPLM business from their PDP & WhichPLM websites. Since meeting the PDP team, I can confim that the WhichPLM team have a very deep understanding of the Apparel & Retail market and of the PLM suppliers that serve the industry, to the extent that they continually cary out evaluations of PLM suppliers software. Read more
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JEFF FEDOR CEO

As a newcomer to the industry, I was looking for market insight and began working with Mark Harrop. He quickly brought me up to speed on the market, its segments and trends, and the competitive landscape. Mark's encyclopedic knowledge and razor-sharp analysis have benefited not only me but the rest of the Backbone team. Read more
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PLM ‘How to’ Guides

New to PLM? Looking to scale or optimise an existing implementation? Ready to integrate your PLM solution to your broader technology ecosystem to unlock digital-native ways of working? Our PLM toolkit contains 9 PDF packs, all free to download, that cover the complete PLM journey in an educational, engaging way. Once you’ve finished reading them, get in touch with us to take the next step on your PLM journey.

Fashion Market Segmentation

There is no single, universal approach to fashion technology. Whether you produce sportswear or specialise in sustainability, the challenges you face - and the benefits technology can provide - will be different. We have worked with organisations across every market segment, and we’ve helped design workflows, best practices, and evaluations for each of them.

Luxury

Brands that target exquisite customer service, uncompromising quality and fit, innovative digital experiences, and a broad product and material mix, have similarly complex demands from technology. From core product data and close collaboration with the craftspeople that make up their supply chains, to 3D prototyping and blockchain-backed authenticity and sustainability credentials, the luxury sector has high demands for its technology. We’re accustomed to helping it meet them.

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Premium and lifestyle brands

Juggling overlapping calendars, high-performance, high-durability technical components, and an ever-evolving consumer base driven by a shrinking hype cycle, premium lifestyle brands need to maximise the value of technology across their design, development, and industrial manufacturing lifecycle stages - from Tier 1 to Tier 3. Their ecosystems include everything from 2D to supply chain risk management, with integration between those technologies being a key focus area that we continue to work with our clients to optimise.

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Mass market

The mass market is where fashion technology is really put to the test, at scale. High street brands and retailers address a wide range of price points, operate based on both seasonless volume and a firm understanding of their consumers, and must capitalise on new trend opportunities more quickly than ever. Many businesses in this market segment are behind the technology curve; we work with them to meet the pace the market demands, across strategic and tactical technology and process innovation.

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Manufacturing and textile mills

After being hard-hit by the disruption of the pandemic, both manufacturers and textile mills have begun to deploy new digital processes at dramatic scale. From digitising materials and elevating their own in-house 3D capabilities, to opening their operations up to provide the first-party data that underpins new 4D-ready sustainable material sourcing, these essential cogs in the apparel and footwear value chain are now working to build digital processes, automations, and levels of visibility that will be essential to delivering the vision of a fully connected fashion value chain in the near future. With our hands-on experience of production, we understand what it’s going to take for this vision to be realised.

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WhichPLM Blog Feed

For more than a decade, WhichPLM operated as a digital magazine dedicated to pioneering thought leadership, advice, and unbiased guidance on maximising the value of technology. That journey continues on The Interline, just as Mark continues to provide his advisor’s perspective on key technology trends here at WhichPLM.

The textile, footwear and apparel industry continues to race toward a virtual world driven by digital inputs and virtual
I spent 11 years in fashion manufacturing – first as a cutting room manager, and eventually as a production director. 
3D body scanning and body data platforms create the opportunity to use virtual twins of people as well as

WhichPLM Reports

Over the last twelve years, WhichPLM has produced yearly downloadable reports that document the progress of fashion PLM, evaluate the evolution of the global market, and provide thought leadership perspectives on the direction that both core and extended PLM are heading. These annual reports have been called the “PLM bible,” and they are read by CEOs, creative designers, sourcing managers, and everyone in between.

The first PLM guide published across both WhichPLM and The Interline, capturing the PLM industry in post-pandemic mode. Contains vendor profiles, editorial, and market analysis.
Fashion PLM begins to recover from COVID, and our analysis showcases an industry in recovery. Contains vendor profiles, editorial, and market analysis.
PLM became a lifeline for brands and retailers during the pandemic, and while the industry scaled back, digital transformation was more important than ever. Contains vendor profiles, editorial, and market analysis.
The second in our rebranded series of PLM Buyer’s Guides, focusing on the core insights, vendor profiles, and sales data that allows brands and retailers to make informed investments in PLM.

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Whatever stage of the technology journey you have reached, and whether your focus is on core PLM or extended ecosystem technologies, we want to hear about your challenges, your vision, and where you feel technology has (or has not) delivered value for you. 

Planning to scale digital product creation? Looking to eliminate supply chain risk? Working towards an ambitious sustainability target? Interested in how your PLM solutions compares to the best the industry has to offer?

Reach out to us using the contact form, or contact Mark via email or LinkedIn using the buttons below.