Vietnam's garment and textile industry needs to invest in modern technology if it is to beat the competitive pressures created by the growth of fast fashion, an industry association has warned.

The rise of fast fashion – including a presence in Vietnam, with brands like Zara, H&M and Topshop in Ho Chi Minh City – has created new challenges for domestic garment enterprises, according to Nguyen Thi Tuyet Mai, deputy general secretary of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association.

The speed of design and development for some of these brands is making the competition dizzy, Mai says, with the average lead time seven to ten days from design to shop floor. "Every stage is fast, creating a fast and extremely flexible supply chain," he says.

The fast fashion trend has, however, created opportunities and has become a driving force for Vietnam's garment businesses.

Yet Mai adds: "In the face of the increasing trend of fast fashion, domestic enterprises need to change the direction of their production and business to keep up with the times. It has to abandon the traditional production method (mainly processing) for foreign invested enterprises (FDI), switch to self-design and the production of finished products. 

"The domestic garment industry needs to invest in modern technology, build high quality human resources, and be sensitive to the market. Technology investment will help businesses ensure accuracy, fast orders, and reduce input costs."

In order to support Vietnam's garment enterprises, the Association says it will research and disseminate the latest information on textile and garment development trends.