This month, Behind the Seams is focusing on women in the sewn products industry. So, naturally, we turned to one of our own fearless leaders, SPESA Board Member Daniella Ambrogi, to ask a few questions about the role of women and the future of the sewn products industry. Read below to learn more about Daniella and her role as the newly appointed Global Product Marketing Director of CGS.
First off, congratulations on your new position at CGS! Can you tell us a little about your new role and the career path that got you there?
Daniella Ambrogi: Thank you. It is a great honor to be part of this innovative company. I’m super excited about joining CGS as the Global Marketing Director for its Applications division that includes BlueCherry® enterprise suite of solutions. With a great product offering and story to share with the industries we serve, my job is to bridge CGS with those target audiences by reinforcing the relevance of a digital end-to-end solution that addresses the needs and challenges of fashion brands, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers.
I started my career in fashion, initially in fashion design, and throughout the years I’ve worked in different areas of fashion, including education, retail, buying offices, trend services and technology. I’ve had the opportunity to work for global companies, giving me an international perspective of the industry and adding to my holistic view of the business, which has contributed to my career path.
How were you first introduced to the sewn products industry? And what attracted you to it?
DA: I always loved the manufacturing part of the fashion Industry. I started my career working for a brand at the California Mart in Los Angeles as an assistant designer and the highlight of my day was when I got to visit the manufacturers. From that experience, now when I shop, I look at garments from the inside to make sure they were manufactured correctly.
In full transparency for our readers, you are one of only two women currently serving on the SPESA Board of Directors. It’s something we hope to improve in the future. But we imagine there have been several occasions over the course of your career during which you were one of only a few women included on a team, project, or meeting. What is that like?
DA: I’m honored to be on the SPESA Board of Directors and look forward to increased diversity in the future. Unlike when I began my career, I think that young people just joining the industry today will see themselves and their future possibilities differently. Yes, there have been times when I was the only woman on a team, but I’ve always felt confident in my own skills to get the job done.
Based on your experience, what obstacles do women face when it comes to breaking into or moving up within the sewn products industry?
DA: Firstly, you have to believe in your own self and skill set. But, equally important, you have to be working with a company that sees you as equal and believes in you as well.
Where do you see the most industry opportunities for women now? In the future?
DA: I think Covid accelerated the transformation of the industry and now more than ever it will continue to open up to women. As we come out of the pandemic, we’ve learned many things. There have been more flexible work schedules and remote work has helped those members of the workforce who have been tied to their families and home. In the past that would have limited their ability to advance their careers and companies would not have been able to tap into the best resources; instead they would hire the most available ones.
CGS provides technology solutions to streamline processes on the factory floor (among the other places). How has the implementation of technology changed sewn product manufacturing and its workforce?
DA: CGS provides an end-to-end solution for fashion, apparel, footwear and consumer products, from concept to consumer. Specifically, for manufacturers, CGS has been the leader for over 35 years in factory control system, which helps manufacturers identify risks and vulnerabilities in the shop floor environment, including technology and machine issues as well as employee-related and labor concerns.
In today’s socially aware climate, a light has been shed on many regrettable factory conditions around the globe. Even manufacturers that are diligent about going above and beyond all regulations and compliance are keenly aware of the concerns. The CGS BlueCherry Shop Floor Control solution is uniquely able to help address these concerns within a plant, ensuring that all social and labor compliance issues are met.
The sustainability movement has been expanding in fashion, among other businesses. A recent survey found that the majority of consumers are seeking, and willing to pay more for, products that are sustainably produced.
With shop floor control software, manufacturing supervisors can monitor the full breadth of shop floor control activities and make better, more-informed decisions immediately – while there’s still time to correct problems and improve the operations that drive bottom line results.
What do you think the next generation of sewn products industry workers will look like?
DA: The next generation of sewn products industry players will be tasked with having to mitigate future supply-chain disruptions. As such, they will need to develop deeper partnerships with brands and suppliers and be proficient in digital technology.
What advice would you give to women looking to follow in your footsteps with a career in the sewn products industry?
DA: Never stop learning and be flexible. Like most things in life, the industry continues to evolve, and we need to react quickly to those changes.
Behind the Seams extends a big thank you to Daniella for sharing her experience with our readers! For more insights from CGS, be sure to check out the 2021 Supply Chain Trends and Technology Annual Report.