The Business of Fashion Podcast

By The Business of Fashion

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The Business of Fashion has gained a global following as an essential daily resource for fashion creatives, executives and entrepreneurs in over 200 countries. It is frequently described as “indispensable,” “required reading” and “an addiction.”

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Episode Date
The Best of VOICES
27:39

Tim Blanks sits down with Ziad Ahmed, chief executive of JUV Consulting and Stephanie Simon, the former head of community at Clubhouse to reflect on VOICES.


Background


The first three sessions at BoF VOICES 2022 tackled issues inside the fashion industry and far beyond. Speakers explored the climate crisis and accusations of corporate greenwashing; the potential of artificial intelligence and the associated ethical implications; the war in Ukraine and growing economic uncertainty and inequality across the globe and Gen-Z’s rising anger over these issues and how to start to fix them.


“At this event, fashion is often quite marginal,” said BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks during the live recording of “The Best of VOICES With Tim Blanks.” “It’s in our minds, but what we’re talking about are the world’s big, definitive issues.


Blanks was joined by VOICES speaker Ziad Ahmed, chief executive of JUV Consulting and Stephanie Simon, the former head of community at Clubhouse, to reflect on the highlights from the first two days of talks and panel discussions.


Key Insights


  • The climate crisis is the cloud that hangs over everything, from technology to the economy. But rather than waiting on private companies to create change, widespread regulations are essential, said Simon. “It seems much more straightforward to mandate the targets that we’re going to need in order to ensure progress from a climate change perspective.”
  • The potential of artificial intelligence is limitless, but humans can help control how the world of AI unfolds. “We teach AI by example,” said Blanks. “By being ethical, kind human beings, AI learns to be ethical and kind.” 
  • While the younger generation is interested in new technologies, there’s also a trepidation about the companies and people creating these innovations and a desire to upend past practices. “There’s often an assumption that Gen-Z is leading the charge towards innovation,” said Ahmed. “Broadly speaking, that’s not really the case. A lot of young people are really sceptical and critical about our own relationships to technology.”
  • To see change, today’s stakeholders need to bring the next generation into the decision-making process — and begin to relinquish control. “The solutions to the problems that we are facing exist,” said Ahmed. “The question is if the people who currently have the reins will give them up.” 


Additional Resources


  • BoF VOICES 2022: Finding Optimism in an Unsteady World: From the Ukraine War to the climate crisis to the legacy of the pandemic, speakers including CNN’s Clarissa Ward, Mercy Corps’ Tjada D’Oyen McKenna, Goldman Sachs’ Tim Ingrassia and Google X’s former chief business officer Mo Gawdat discussed the uncertainty gripping the world — and why there’s cause for hope.




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Dec 02, 2022
How the Power of Storytelling Is Igniting the Iranian Protests
42:21

Moj Mahdara and Dina Nasser-Khadivi speak with BoF’s Imran Amed about how creative communities from the Iranian diaspora are participating in the largest civil rights movement in Iran since the revolution in 1979.


Background:


Protests erupted across Iran in September following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested in Tehran for “improperly” wearing her hijab and then killed at the hands of the so-called morality police. 


Those protests have now evolved into the largest civil rights movement in Iran since the revolution in 1979 uniting Iranians at home with those in the wider diaspora and igniting outcry around the world and across social media. 

 

Looking for a way to bring storytelling to fuel the movement, creative leaders Moj Mahdara and Dina Nasser-Khadivi utilised their network to establish The Iranian Diaspora Collective and @from____iran, an artist-led media collective that amplifies unheard Iranian voices, respectively. From Instagram to physical billboards, the collective has centred Iranian people and maintained the ongoing attention of the West by focusing on human rights.

 

“The only way to move culture is through storytelling,” Mahdara said. 

 

This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with Mahdara and Nasser-Khadivi to learn about the work they are doing to help people understand the intersectional solidarity of this movement and activate creative communities to share their stories. 


Key Insights:


  • Social media has helped spread the word globally of the protests in Iran, helping to unite the Iranian diaspora with Iranians at home, while educating people around the world about what is happening on the ground. “The social media aspect of this movement, the reason why it was so important for me, it was not just about raising awareness, it ended up helping us identify who our allies were,” Nasser-Khadivi said. “And that is what then created an even stronger network.”
  • In order for this movement to be supported internationally, Mahdara believes that recognition is critical. “[The international community] can recognise this,” says Mahdara. “This revolution.”
  • The movement has collectively transformed the once-conversative perception of Iran to include tolerance as motivating progression towards a secular community. “This whole movement preaches tolerance,” says Nasser-Khadivi. “There are covered girls next to girls who are uncovered hugging each other. That’s the message. It’s tolerance.”


Additional Resources: 



Music credits: Baraye by Shervin Hajipour



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Nov 25, 2022
Nick Knight on Why Creativity in the Metaverse is Fashion’s Next Frontier
36:14

Fashion image-maker Nick Knight speaks to BoF’s Imran Amed about why he believes in digital creativity and innovation in the metaverse.


Background:


The pandemic pushed the fashion industry to step out of its comfort zone and embrace new media for showcasing design and creativity. But while much of the industry has returned to in-person shoots and events once Covid restrictions were lifted, the respected image-maker believes this is only the beginning of the next great wave of digital innovation in the fashion industry. Virtual worlds, he added, will yet again bring digital innovation to the forefront of society. 


“So what are the possibilities? Let's talk about this. Let's actually look at this,” says Knight.


Knight has recently launched ikon-1 NFTs in collaboration with model and creator Jazzelle. By creating digital renders, which act as collectable works of art, Knight believes fashion creativity can shift to this new medium. Those who look to the past risk falling behind.


This week on The BoF Podcast, founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with Knight about the evolution of image creation and why digital fashion will remain important in the post-pandemic era. 


Key Insights:


  • Knight believes that collaborative creation in the digital world will allow more autonomy for models authorising their own looks as opposed to being a “blank canvas.” “I wanted to put [models] in the creative middle… so they are authorising, coming up with creating their own looks for me rather than just imposing on them,” says Knight. “It was important to change that relationship.”
  • The metaverse will require new ways of working rather than developing on existing methods of image creation in the physical world. “I think we are re-learning a whole bunch of things which you can’t just take exactly what we do in the real world,” he says. “And that is not necessarily the best thing to do in a space, which is a virtual space [where] so many more things are possible.”
  • Knight believes the idea of destabilisation is inherent to the fashion industry. “There is a natural feeling of destabilisation [with the metaverse], but surely that’s what fashion is about, it's about showing people things that they previously had not seen and previously had not desired, but actually do want,” says Knight.
  • Knight thinks now is the time for creatives to forge a new “civilisation step” and let creativity rule the metaverse. “I want artists to create the metaverse because I think we do have a chance, a utopian chance, to create a better civilisation in the metaverse, which isn’t shaped by power, greed and money.”


Additional Resources: 




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Nov 18, 2022
Why You Should Join Us for BoF VOICES 2022
18:27

Janaya Future Khan and Halima Aden joined BoF’s editor-at-large Tim Blanks to share their learnings and reflections after a packed day at BoF VOICES 2021. Sign up to join us for this year’s edition, free of charge.


Background:


From innovations changing fashion to navigating turmoil in the wider world, BoF VOICES, our annual gathering for big thinkers, is a platform to discussing the forces shaping the wider world. 


”It was stimulating, it was educational, it was absolutely inspiring,” said BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks, reflecting on the highlights from day one of BoF VOICES 2021, along with Janaya Future Khan and Halima Aden who shared their own learnings and reflections from the days talks. 

 

On this week’s episode of The BoF Podcast, we revisit Khan and Aden’s conversation with Blanks about the evolution of community in the metaverse and representation in the fashion industry.


Sign up to join the global livestream BoF VOICES 2022, free of charge here: https://businessoffashion.brandlive.com/VOICES-2022/en


Additional Resources: 





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Nov 11, 2022
The Genesis of the Modern Luxury Fashion Industry
47:33

Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui, the creators of a new docuseries speak to BoF’s Tim Blanks about their new series which traces the formation of LVMH and Kering, and how designers like John Galliano and Alexander McQueen helped them build a ‘Kingdom of Dreams.’


Background:


A new fashion docuseries, “Kingdom of Dreams,” explores the luxury fashion industry’s formation in the 1990s to the 2000s, examining some of fashion’s most recognisable designers of that period — John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford — as well as executives like Kering’s François Pinault and LVMH’s Bernard Arnault. 

 

Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui highlight the tension between commerce and creativity, as well as the rivalries between luxury groups and their designers. 

 

“At the end of the day, we never said anything that hasn’t been said or which is not sort of present,” said Bonhôte. “So the truth is very important. And we are… definitely not scandalous.”

 

This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s editor-at-large Tim Blanks speaks with Bonhôte and Ettedgui about understanding pressures of consumerism and what makes a fashion house business tick. 


Key Insights:

  • The creators highlighted the gap between creativity “wizards” and business “emperors” within some of fashion’s largest fashion houses, demonstrating the power of tycoons François Pinault and Bernard Arnault. “What we felt was the most interesting drama is there is this constant fight between commerce and creativity,” said Bonhôte.  
  • The series also highlights the pressures on designers to double the volume of collections and the impact of that growth on the planet. “It is disturbing to see the fallout and not just the fallout psychologically for the designers, but also for the planet as fashion speeds up,” said Ettedgui.
  • While examining the industry the creators wanted the audience to gain a new understanding of fashion rather than the gated community it can be perceived as. “It’s a very difficult industry for people to actually understand because I think the [understanding of] fashion is almost wrong,” said Bonhôte.


Additional Resources: 

  • How Fashion Went Corporate: Creativity, Commerce and Collateral Damage: Tim Blanks talks to the creators of ‘Kingdom of Dreams,’ a new documentary series on how the corporatisation of luxury fashion made superstars of designers John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs, and built gilded empires for bosses Bernard Arnault and François Pinault.


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Nov 04, 2022
Joy Howard on Community Fuelled Sustainability
37:18

BoF’s editor-in-chief Imran Amed spoke with the founder of degrowth brand Early Majority about the power of energised communities and what the future of token-gated commerce looks like.


Background:


The seed of inspiration for Early Majority has been growing in founder Joy Howard’s mind since her days at Patagonia in the early 2010s. Howard grew to understand the contradiction between fashion’s constant drive to sell more against the industry’s efforts to curb its environmental impact. This sparked the question in her: can a brand focus on selling timeless products rather than an endless array of new collections?


Early Majority sells “layered” outerwear, which it packages in “kits” that include everything from light windbreakers to cold weather puffers. It also offers a membership programme, where customers who mint an NFT gain access to lower prices, exclusive products and other benefits. 

 

“[Early Majority is] a different experience than ‘just buy this,’” she said. “These very transactional experiences that we have with brands are not that great for either side in the long-term.”


Since founding Early Majority, Howard has bet on paying members enabling the brand to meet its aim of creating the fewest number of products for the maximum possible number of uses and just as critically engaging a community well versed in the brand. Howard has her heart set on meeting customers’ needs while changing the way consumers think about product lifespan.

 

This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with Howard about why degrowth is the future for fashion business models and how she has progressed towards her goals.



Key Insights:


  • Coming from a background in marketing, Howard has led her business venture with intention and practicality. “I realised that you can have all the great intentions in the world, but if you don’t actually understand how to run a business, you’re not really going to be that effective,” she said.
  • Howard’s goal for de-growth consumption originates from her pursuit of consumer discovery. “We all want to always be growing. But the way that we grow is the question that we have to grapple with,” says Howard. “Anybody that comes into the brand has a sense that they’re participating in something that’s emergent and different and [has] a sense of discovery.”
  • The value of community has been at the forefront of Howard’s venture. Realising early on when transforming to a membership model, Howard has centred Early Majority’s community and intrinsically links it with tangible value. “I think it is actually very energising to connect with other people around a common vision and a common goal,” says Howard. “[Early Majority’s] token is kind of like the thing that you all hold in common. And as the community becomes more valuable, the token becomes more valuable.”


Additional Resources: 


  • Why Brands Are Betting on Membership: Swiss performance brand On is among the players betting the model can drive consumer engagement and help tackle tricky sustainability challenges.


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Oct 28, 2022
Halima Aden on Mapping Her Comeback
38:30

The Somali-American model joins Imran Amed to discuss her journey from a refugee camp in Kenya to the US to the top of the fashion industry — and what she’s learned since taking a step back.

Somali-American model Halima Aden nabbed an IMG contract and quickly shot the centre of the fashion world after she earned first attention as the first hijab-wearing Muslim to compete in Minnesota’s Miss USA pageant. She walked for Yeezy, Fenty, Dolce and Gabbana and Tommy Hilfiger, and posed in Vogue, Elle and Allure. Then, in November, she stepped away from it all, announcing her intention to leave the industry. In retrospect, she thinks the best thing she did for herself in her career was never just see herself as a model. 

“I found that some of the most fulfilling campaigns or photoshoots I got to be part of always tended to be when it wasn’t just about me. It wasn’t just Halima,” said Aden. “I was sharing stories that I brought from the refugee camp, sharing stories of other Muslim women in all different fields … I found that my work was more meaningful when it was tied to giving back.”

Key Insights:

  • Aden was born in a refugee camp in Kenya before moving to St. Louis, Mo. Eventually, her family resettled in St. Cloud, Minn, which is home to a large Somali immigrant community.
  • She went on to compete in Minnesota’s Miss USA pageant in search of a scholarship. She didn’t win the pageant, but got something arguably even better: A call from Rihanna’s team to shoot for Fenty Beauty.
  • Aden’s quick ascent meant she came into the industry at a more privileged vantage point. She didn’t have to go to casting calls and received private dressing rooms. However, that no one else received the same treatment started to bother her. 
  • The ex-model said her experiences of extreme poverty made her look at the fashion industry’s excess with a bit of disdain, and perhaps, fuelled some of her anger at it. 
  • After a journey of self-discovery, she’s realised she needs to turn that pain into power as she maps out her future in the industry. 


Additional Resources: 


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Oct 21, 2022
Tim Blanks and Imran Amed Recap The Season That Was
33:14

BoF’s editor-in-chief and editor-at-large walk through the highlights and unforgettable moments of fashion weeks in Milan and Paris. 

Background:

Fashion’s Spring/Summer 2023 season was jam-packed with debuts, returns and chatter-inducing moments. Alessandro Michele was inspired by his mother and identical twin sister for his “Twinsburg” Gucci presentation which featured 68 pairs of identical twins. Rick Owens drew a dress from a 700 million year-old jellyfish. Dior and Yves Saint Laurent crafted elaborate grotto and fountain backdrops for their collections, while Dries Van Noten staged his Paris comeback in lockstep with Japanese designers including Junya Watanabe, Noir Kei Ninomiya and Jun Takahashi for Undercover — BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks’ favourite of the season. 

“To me that felt like one of the best commentaries on the pandemic that we've had from fashion — of everything that's passed, everything that's lost, everything that's been lost,” said Blanks. “And then at the same time, the celebration with the fact that he's still there.”

Key Insights:

  • In Milan, four major houses — Ferragamo, Missoni, Etro and Bally — debuted the first collections from new designers, with hopes to replicate the success big names like Tom Ford and Alessando Michele have been able to create for Gucci, said Tim Blanks. 
  • For Balenciaga, Demna staged a mud-drenched show with battered and bruised, hoodie-clad models that provoked an intense emotional reaction from the crowd, while Nicolas Ghesquière showed an energetic and future-looking collection for Louis Vuitton. 
  • This fashion month, many catered to both in-person and online audiences to varying degrees of success. Valentino, for one, notably struggled with an element of the show just for cameras, another for people outside and an uber-long runway that saw a number of models take their shoes off. 
  • Fashion traditionally provides a sense of escape, said Blanks, but it’s increasingly harder to turn away from the real world. Economies are deteriorating, Russia’s assault on the Ukraine continues and the artist formerly known as Kanye West put a shirt emblazoned with “White Lives Matter,” a phrase deployed by hate groups, on the runway. 

 

Additional Resources: 

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Oct 11, 2022
Bollywood Superstar Deepika Padukone on the Power of Patience
1:00:15

BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with the BoF 500 cover star about the ups and downs of her personal and professional trajectory and what the West needs to understand about India and its rich, diverse culture. 

Background:

Deepika Padukone, one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actors, started her career as a former professional badminton player before appearing in her first film, “Om Shanti Om,” in 2007, for which she won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. In 2017, she crossed over to Hollywood with the action film “XXX: Return of Xander Cage.” More recently, she’s become a force in fashion as a global brand ambassador for Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Levi’s and Cartier.

Padukone grew up far from the limelight and was an outsider to both the film and fashion industries. Setting herself up on the global stage as a young Indian woman, she had to combat preconceptions at every corner, she said. 

“Of course, the hustle is much harder [as an outsider]. You've got to wait much longer for the right opportunities,” she says. “But also, from my perspective, the gratification is so much more.”

This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with the actor and BoF 500 cover star about the highs and lows of her career and why India needs more recognition from the West on the global stage.   

 Key Insights:

  • Padukone said her heritage is fundamental to who she is and how she represents herself on the global stage. “I just feel like India has so much to offer and I’ve been able to do everything that I do, just being Indian and being based out here,” she says. “In a way that feels authentic to me and to who I am.”
  • Padukone says Indians are still stereotyped — especially in Hollywood. “You are the scientist. You are the computer geek. You are the taxi driver. You are the therapist. You are the owner of a convenience store,” she says. “I’ve had my fans ask me why I’ve not done more [global] movies. But that’s not what I’m settling for, because I am — and we are — so much more than that.”
  • Padukone says fashion brands need to understand more about India’s rich heritage. . “It’s extremely diverse. It’s not one India, it’s many Indias,” she says. “And as Indians, we’re also extremely proud of our history, our culture and our heritage.”
  • After being diagnosed with clinical depression, Padukone felt the need to open up conversations about mental illness in India. “No one in India had spoken about it like this before, and it felt to me that there was this huge burden on our country’s shoulders that everyone was dealing with, but dealing with silently,” Padukone says.
  • Padukone advises having patience for people who want to achieve their dreams. “I think the one thing that isn’t given enough importance to me is the power of patience,” she says. “Everything is instant gratification, but if there’s one thing that has worked for me it has been to be patient.”

Additional Resources:

  • Deepika Padukone: The Bollywood Star That Fashion’s Megabrands Are Betting On: With India set to become the world’s third-largest fashion market, Bollywood’s most-popular actress has become a global brand ambassador for the likes of Levi’s, Adidas, Louis Vuitton and now, Cartier. In an exclusive interview with Imran Amed, she opens up about her global ambitions — and what the fashion world needs to understand about India.


To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link.



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Oct 07, 2022
Marine Serre Questions the Fashion Industry’s Practices
18:59

The French designer, known for her embrace of eco-futurism, speaks to BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed about the evolution of her namesake brand and explains its deeper purpose.

Background: 

Designer Marine Serre has long had an affinity for evoking the apocalyptic in her work, a tendency that became particularly resonant during the pandemic. Serre spent lockdown reflecting on her time in the fashion industry and asking how it can change. Now, she has pledged to use her brand and influence to break the fast fashion cycle and build sustainable supply chains.

On this week’s BoF Podcast, we revisit Serre’s conversation with BoF’s Imran Amed discussing the evolution of her eponymous sustainability-focused brand for the post-pandemic world. 

Key Insights:

  • Despite the limitations of the pandemic, Serre did not steer away from her goal to prioritise sustainability at the heart of her brand. “From now to four years ago, I'm just walking the same way. I never really disassociate creation from process,” she says. 
  • Serre believes that consumer needs have changed. When people go to buy her clothes they consider the brand’s supply chain as well as the aesthetic. “I'm trying to relinquish that part of what was carved out is a luxury and de-link myself with fast fashion and growth,” Serre explains. 
  • Known for her use of discarded and recycled fabrics, Serre says she has grown less shy about doing exactly what she wants to do in fashion, revising peoples’ ideas of preciousness and creating garments out of materials already imbued with meaning. “I think the goal of the company is to question the fashion industry,” Serre says. 

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Sep 30, 2022
The Debrief: How Big Brands Choose Their Creative Directors
23:43

Louis Vuitton is expected to name its Virgil Abloh successor within weeks. Lauren Sherman quizzes Imran Amed on what luxury labels think about when recruiting top designers.

Background:

Louis Vuitton has spent almost a year searching for a Virgil Abloh successor after the designer died in November 2021. According to sources, Martine Rose, Grace Wales Bonner and Telfar Clemens are among the names that were considered by owner LVMH, and the decision is expected to be announced within weeks. But how do brands like Louis Vuitton even go about finding a designer?

“Without the creative energy, without that kind of excitement, there’s nothing to sell,” said Imran Amed, BoF founder and editor-in-chief.

Key Insights:
  • While all brands have their own personality and the situations that necessitate finding a new creative director differ, the things most brands look for in a leader are similar.
  • Executives have to consider whether they’re looking for revolution, like when Gucci tapped Alessandro Michele for creative energy and new ideas, or evolution, like when Saint Laurent tapped Anthony Vaccarello to keep its aesthetic formula after Hedi Slimane departed.
  • A strong vision is the most important thing. But creative directors also need to have commercial sensibility and the ability to work in a corporate environment.
  • One of Abloh’s achievements was that he managed to build a community at Louis Vuitton, and engage consumers who had been traditionally excluded by the luxury industry.
Additional Resources:

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Sep 23, 2022
Queen Elizabeth II’s Leadership and Legacy
22:08

Royal expert Elizabeth Holmes speaks to BoF’s Imran Amed about Queen Elizabeth II’s life and legacy — in fashion, culture and society at large.

 

Background: 

Tributes to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch have flooded social media, television and even public parks in the days since her passing, memorialising the Queen’s steadfast leadership, but also her impeccable sense of style. 

This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with royal expert Elizabeth Holmes who reflects on the influence the Queen’s record-setting reign has had on the fashion industry and the wider culture.

 

Key Insights:

  • The Queen was known around the world for her monochromatic outfits, designed to help her stand out in the crowd. She also created a unique twist on a set formula of basics: hat, coat, bag and pearls. “I think she understood the power of clothes,” says Holmes. “She used things like the colour of her outfit, especially when she was travelling overseas to perhaps match the host country's flag.”
  • Holmes details how the Queen had a “tremendous sort of swing of the style pendulum” from her private life, where she’d wear headscarves and tartan skirts, to her public life, wearing tiaras and gowns. “It was very important to see all aspects of royal life,” says Holmes. “Both being worthy of the glamour of royalty, but then also sensible stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
  • Her influence also stretched outside of her sovereign powers, with the path she paved for other female leaders around the world. Being crowned Queen at just 25, she became one of the only women at the table of leadership, and she made it count. “I think the Queen sort of made it permissible to really stand out.”
  • As King Charles III takes to the throne commentators are looking to the future of the institution. “The conversation changes a little bit now that there is a King on the throne,” says Holmes. “Understanding that the whole spotlight shifts to him and with that, the good and perhaps the criticism, too.”

 

Additional Resources: 

  • Queen Elizabeth II’s Style Legacy: Britain’s longest reigning monarch has died. Her influence extended to the realm of fashion, where she invented the concept of “sartorial diplomacy.”
  • What the Queen Means to Designers: Queen Elizabeth was an inspiration for fashion designers from Vivienne Westwood to Alessandro Michele to Richard Quinn. Will any British royal have the same influence again?


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Sep 16, 2022
Casablanca’s Charaf Tajer on Designing for Impossible Possibilities
45:24

The designer speaks with BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed about building his own business, the power of aspiration and opening doors for people who want to break into fashion.

 

 

Background: 

 

 

French-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer is the French-Moroccan designer behind Casablanca, a business that he started with only €3,000 to tap into the growing demand for women’s resortwear, and which is now doing more than €45 million in annual revenue.

But Charaf’s rise in the Parisian fashion scene is also exceptional because of who Charaf is and where he is from. As one of the few people of colour working at the very top level of French luxury fashion, he has learned that no matter how high his star rises, he still faces discrimination related to his identity as he travels in these elite spaces. This only makes him want to work harder to break down barriers and become a role model.

On the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, designer Tajer joins BoF’s Imran Amed on The BoF Podcast to talk about building his own business, the power of aspiration and opening doors for people who want to break into fashion.

 

 

Key Insights:

 

 

  • Growing up in the outskirts of Paris, Tajer had an early appreciation for luxury, getting glimpses of wealth going with his mother to work as a cleaner in the 16th arrondissement. He channelled this sense of curiosity into the core of Casablanca and believes it lies in the industry itself. “I think this is what fashion does, is like it opens a certain option of dreaming of certain things,” says Tajer.
  • Tajer believes you must go outside of your comfort zone and explore new paths to achieve success. “There is nothing for you in the past, so you have to go to the future because when you look back, there’s nothing for you… There was no space for me to grow.”
  • Tajer’s background has at times led him to feel like a fashion outsider. That feeling inspired him to want to become a role model for others. “Beside the fact that I’m a North African Muslim guy, I also just want to represent the new face of France,” says Tajer. “It’s my duty to also accomplish the biggest thing in the world, to become an example.”
  • While entering the world of fashion, Tajer is careful to open doors for others and leave behind a legacy that any achievement is possible with effort. “For me I only want to go for the impossible possibilities,” Tajer says.

 

 

Additional Resources: 

 

 

  • Fashion’s Top M&A Targets: The market may be cooling, but a number of in-demand brands remain of interest to financial backers. BoF identifies the top targets.
  • Can Fashion Start-Ups Cash In on the Tennis Boom? For a new wave of tennis-inflected fashion start-ups, success may depend on balancing the energy of the sport’s increasingly inclusive present with the allure of its exclusive past.


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Sep 09, 2022
Rick Owens on Lessons Learned from the Pandemic
57:14

The designer speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about his first collection after 2020 and why he feels a sense of optimism following the pandemic. 

 

 

Background: 

 

 

At the start of 2021, Rick Owens wanted his next show to reflect the universal toll the pandemic had taken on the world. Held at Venice’s Tempio Votivo, a shrine to the fallen soldiers of the two world wars, Owens centred the show around the sombre themes of “anger and darkness.” Despite this ominous outlook, Owens told BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks in January 2021 that a pivot in political circumstances with the inauguration of Joe Biden gave him a sense of optimism.

 

 

On this week’s episode of the BoF Podcast, we revisit this thought provoking conversation with Owens about his Autumn/Winter 2021 collection, his reflections on lessons learned from the  pandemic and his renewed hope for society. 

 

 

Key Insights:

 

  • For Owens, constraints can create fertile ground for creativity. “It has been quiet change and I like the idea of working within small boundaries,” says Owen. “I like the idea of doing the best with what you have got.”
  • Owens created his collection when the world was facing  growing political uncertainty and instability but he  says “one of the most reassuring things [in this world] is that everything usually balances out. We have survived this long because there is just a tiny bit more of goodness than badness. Just enough to keep us surviving.”
  •  Owen’s men’s shows in particular are deeply personal. “My men’s runway shows are always about men’s flaws and men’s worst urges because they are auto-biographical,” he says. “When I am thinking about men I am thinking about my own experience and my own experience is very critical and I am always very conscious of my worst urges and where they are coming from.” 

 

 

Additional Resources: 

 

 



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Sep 02, 2022
Inside Yohji Yamamoto’s Fashion Philosophy
40:53

In a rare interview, the influential Japanese designer speaks with BoF’s Imran Amed about the philosophy that underpins his boundary-breaking career.

Background: 

After graduating from Keio University with a law degree, Yohji Yamamoto realised he wasn’t interested in the law.

“I didn’t want to join the ordinary society,” he says. “So I told my mother after graduation … ‘I want to help you.’” 

She agreed to let him work at her dressmaking shop in Kabukicho, an entertainment district in Tokyo’s Shinjuku ward, and learn from the sewing assistants if he enrolled at Bunka Fashion College, now famous for training designers such as Kenzo Takada, Junya Watanabe and Yamamoto himself.

After graduating, Yamamoto went on to set up a small ready-to-wear company that slowly acquired buyers in all of Japan’s major cities. This success eventually led him to Paris, where his signature tailoring and draping in oversized silhouettes created an aesthetic earthquake at Paris Fashion Week in 1981.

Since then, Yamamoto has developed a cult following of loyalists who swear by his avant-garde designs. “I’m not working in the mainstream,” he says. “I’m working in the side stream.”

This week on The BoF Podcast, we revisit Imran Amed’s rare interview with the legendary Japanese designer about his storied career — and the mindset designers need to succeed. 

Key Insights:

  • Yamamoto says the fashion industry’s increasingly fast-pace has come at the expense of true creativity. “For me the fashion business became a money business,” he said. “I felt I’ve been losing my competitors year by year.”
  • Yamamoto believes that modern technology can be a distraction. “When I speak with young designers, I [tell] them shut your computer,” he said. “If you really want to see real things, real beauty, you have to go there by walking.”
  • Yamamoto believes it’s a designer’s job to completely immerse themselves in design. “If you want to create something, keep resisting the mediocracy of ordinary things. It’s a life's work. Are you ready to sacrifice yourself to create something?”

Additional Resources: 

 



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Aug 26, 2022
The Debrief: Department Stores Make a Comeback
22:54

After a pandemic pivot to e-commerce, many brands are back to working with third-party retailers, this time, with better terms.

 

Background:

 

The wholesale model, while offering exposure and some upfront revenue, did not always have the best terms for vendors. Department store bankruptcies, pandemic-induced store closures and the boom in online shopping pushed brands further towards their direct-to-consumer and e-commerce businesses to drive revenue. 

 

But that’s beginning to change. As shoppers return to stores, brands are seeing value in ramping up their partnerships with multi-brand retailers — this time on better terms. “What I'm hearing across the board from both brands and retailers is that this vendor-retailer relationship is more collaborative than ever,” said BoF retail correspondent Cathaleen Chen. 

 

Key Insights: 

 

  • There are multiple factors pushing brands back to wholesale. Among them, the growth of e-commerce, which has slowed after spiking in 2020, and the growing consumer appetite for curated, in-person shopping experiences that allow them to stumble upon new designers. “That discovery is still so important, and now [shoppers are] relying on a cool third-party retailer to sort of facilitate that discovery,” said Chen.
  • “Wholesale is very American,” noted Chen, making it an attractive vehicle for international labels looking to enter the lucrative US market.
  • Brands are having more of a say over how their products are marketed through retailers, like sharing campaign assets or designing shop-in-shop setups.
  • Both parties are also increasingly open to exploring other models like concession, consignment — more typical to European department stores — and drop-shipping, where the brands themselves are responsible for fulfilling orders made through retailer’s websites.  
  • Brands are returning to wholesale, but not at the expense of their direct-to-consumer and retail offerings. “I think we're at a point where everybody has a more well-rounded business so that if things do go bad again in whichever channel, they can be agile and adapt very quickly,” said Chen. 

 

Additional resources:

 

 

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Aug 18, 2022
Serena Williams: "Pressure is a Privilege"
30:23

Revisiting a conversation with BoF’s Imran Amed from 2019, the 23 grand slam winning tennis champion, who announced her retirement this week, talks about how the mental toughness she has built on the court has prepared her for life as an entrepreneur.

 

 

Background: 

 

 

This week, tennis superstar Serena Williams announced her imminent retirement as part of a cover story with American Vogue. Known in fashion circles for her on-court style, which included catsuits and denim skirts and a collaboration with late designer Virgil Abloh’s Off-White, Williams will have more time to focus on as her burgeoning business empire, including her fashion label S by Serena and a venture fund, Serena Ventures. 

 

This week on The BoF Podcast, we revisit Williams’ 2019 conversation with BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed about how the mental toughness she has built on the court has prepared her for life as an entrepreneur. 

 

“It's really important for things not to come super easy for you, and to kind of accept that challenge, embrace it and then just roll with it,” said Williams.

 

 

Key Insights:

 

 

  • Rather than work with a partner, licence her name or sign another lucrative endorsement, Williams felt it was important to invest time, money and effort in herself and chase her own vision with S by Serena, a direct-to-consumer brand she has funded independently
  • Serena Ventures just raised $111 million and has invested in over 60 companies including personal care brand Lola, supply chain management firm Calico and razor-maker Billie. 
  • The fund was originally founded in 2014 when Williams noticed people of colour and women were not getting the investments they needed. 
  • Balancing all her pursuits and personal life can be tough. But, when she feels pinched, William is reminded of one of her favourite quotes from Billie Jean King: “pressure is a privilege.” 

 

 

Additional Resources: 

 



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Aug 12, 2022
Tracee Ellis Ross on Killing Perfectionism and Finding Self-Love
46:22

The multi-tasking actor, executive producer and beauty entrepreneur shares her personal journey with BoF’s Imran Amed and explains how she unlocked her full potential across a variety of pursuits.

 

 

Background: 

 

Tracee Ellis Ross is best known for her roles in Girlfriends and Black-ish, but she is also the founder and CEO of Pattern which she launched in 2019 after more than a decade of development to address the gap in the market for products designed specifically for curly, coily, textured hair.

 

The Golden Globe-winning, Emmy-nominated Ross joins BoF’s Imran Amed on The BoF Podcast to talk about managing the little voice in her head, killing perfectionism and cultivating self-love and acceptance. 

 

Finding purpose and unlocking potential starts by interrogating what you love, then finding ways to merge who you are with “what makes your heart sing,” said Ross. 

 

 

Key Insights: 

 

  • Pattern was born out of frustration. Ross couldn’t find the right tools or products to serve her needs, and never saw Black women being centred — despite sitting at the centre of culture.  
  • Ross took learnings from developing a clothing line with JCPenney to help get her business off the ground. From there, she sought out the right partners. Key to evaluating partners was learning to be present during conversation. 
  • In her work with Pattern and with companies like Ulta on diversity and inclusion, Ross hopes to dissolve the myth that Black hair care and beauty is a niche market.

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

  • Modernising the Black Hair Care Market: A new wave of start-ups shaking up the textured hair care space are catching the attention of major retailers and investors, grabbing more shelf space and venture capital.
  • Building the Glossier of the Black Hair Market: With her new DTC beauty brand, Radswan, blogger-turned-entrepreneur Freddie Harrel is pitching clip-in textured hair extensions and wigs to the digitally savvy black consumer.

 

 

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Aug 05, 2022
Ommy Akhe on How Augmented Reality Could Transform Fashion
15:43

The creative technologist believes that experimenting with new AR technologies could radically reshape products, experiences and habits. 

 

 

Background: 

When it comes to testing new technologies, there is always an element of the unknown for brands. While tech investments may not immediately translate to a revenue bump, willingness to experiment could radically transform the fashion industry, according to Ommy Akhe, a creative technologist specialising in experimental software and augmented reality prototypes, who spoke at The BoF Professional Summit: New Frontiers in Fashion and Technology. 

 

“Understanding your customers, the things they value, the challenges you can help them overcome and what gets them excited — it's essential to meet users where they are,” says Ahke. “The only constant is change. So why not join the journey and start enjoying the current future?” 

 

  • Consumers today are younger, spend more time online and are used to valuing arbitrary digital assets like follower counts and verified check marks. This means they are also more apt to spend money on digital items that hold value in the real world. 
  • The tools that will build the metaverse — including 5G, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, for example — are well established and consumers are used to interacting with them. 
  • Ahke’s digital skins projects overlay dynamic imagery on bags, clothes and shoes through a phone lens. Brands can implement this sort of technology to drive loyalty and give buyers more avenues for expression. 

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

 

 

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Jul 29, 2022
The Debrief: Why Chanel Is Opening Private Boutiques
20:28

BoF’s luxury editor Robert Williams offers insight into the surprising news that the mega-label plans to open stores dedicated to serving top customers.

Background: 

As traffic to stores soars, Chanel’s chief financial officer Philippe Blondiaux said the brand plans to open dedicated boutiques for top-spending clients starting in key Asian cities. It's a strategy that emphasises the importance of big-spenders to the in-demand French luxury brand’s future amid whispers of an impending recession — but one that risks alienating first time and occasional shoppers who are still dropping upwards of $10,000 for bags.

“Brands like Chanel, they’ve lived through lots of cycles of boom and bust in the economy… When there’s an economic crisis, they need to be ready to have a real focus on repeat business,” said BoF’s luxury editor Robert Williams. 

Key Insights: 

  • Chanel sells many items in-store only, and limits locations to the most luxurious places in the world’s most luxury cities — operating just around 250 stores compared with Louis Vuitton’s over 400 doors. 
  • Chanel is not the first brand to open special stores for private clients; Brunello Cucinelli deployed a similar concept last December. Other brands like Zegna have dedicated spaces in-store for special items. 
  • In 2021, the company’s profits have tripled and revenue jumped 50 percent year over year.
  • The brand’s growth in fashion, watches and jewellery last year was driven by its decision to raise prices and a flood of new clients and first-time buyers to luxury. 
  • In addition to focusing on its physical footprint, Chanel is pushing its beauty business, which has been historically driven by department stores and beauty retailers like Sephora and Marionnaud, toward majority direct-to-consumer. 

 

Additional Resources:  

 

Follow The Debrief wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout. 

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Jul 22, 2022
Ross Bailey on Building a Business From Humble Beginnings
54:47

The founder and CEO of retail pop-up marketplace Appear Here shares his entrepreneurial journey and advice for young founders looking to break through. 

 

 

Background: 

 

Ross Bailey’s love of entrepreneurship didn’t start  in business school or a corporate job, but at the hair salon his parents owned in London. 

 

“I watched my parents take this little shop and it became their livelihood,” he says to BoF’s founder and editor in chief, Imran Amed, describing himself as a “busybody” who rearranged furniture and conducted customer satisfaction surveys from a young age. “To me, entrepreneurship was a game. It was about ‘how do I get people involved and have a bit of fun?’”

 

That mindset eventually led him to found Appear Here, “the Airbnb of retail,” in 2014. “The story of the world … was that the high street is dead, nobody wants it. And we had a contrarian view on that. When you have small high street stores and streets, people want to be on them … our data has always backed it up.”

 

By 2019, Appear Here was a global business with 250,000 entrepreneurs signed up to the platform and 30,000 stores launched. The company has facilitated pop-ups for fashion giants like Louis Vuitton, Loewe and Supreme, a bookstore for Michelle Obama’s autobiography, as well as Harry’s House for pop superstar Harry Styles. 

 

Then the pandemic hit. Appear Here went from having its best year ever and closing a funding round with a nine-figure valuation, to losing 95 percent of revenue with just months’ worth of cash left.

 

On this week’s episode of The BoF Podcast, Bailey shares his lessons and advice from the early days of founding a business and the role leaders play in leading employees and stakeholders through challenging times. 

 

 

 

Key Insights: 

 

  • The traditional world of commercial real estate and retail is inaccessible and opaque, creating systemic barriers for entrepreneurs from marginalised backgrounds. But small independent stores are also the backbone of entrepreneurship for immigrants and other communities. “Whether it's the local takeaway restaurant, whether it's the local shop, all of those places… were people who were entrepreneurial, who were doing something, who were trying to build a livelihood.”
  • Despite Covid’s impact on retail, Bailey doubled down on Appear Here’s mission. Seeing people returning to streets, even when non-essential retail was curbed, and queuing for coffees highlighted the human desire for in-person community. “I just felt that this wasn't the time to pivot, this wasn't the time to relax on our idea or rein it in. Actually, Appear Here would make more sense coming out of this than ever before.” 
  • The future of retail is hyper-local, says Bailey, citing examples of global brands playing into cultural niches, like Adidas and Gucci’s takeover of a working men’s social club in Peckham. “It's no longer about Fifth Avenue and Regent Street or the Champs-Élysées, it's about neighbourhoods and interesting places.”

 

 

 

Additional Resources: 

How Temporary Pop-Ups Became a Permanent Strategy

What Happens When the E-Commerce Boom Ends  

How to Open a Store in 2022 | BoF

 

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Jul 15, 2022
Ian Rogers on the Inevitability of Virtual Fashion
44:54

Ian Rogers moved from Silicon Valley to Paris in 2015 when he was appointed chief digital officer of LVMH. There, Rogers, a veteran of Apple Music and Beats, was tasked with building out the luxury conglomerate’s e-commerce and data strategy and serving as a digital whisperer to executives.  

Background:

Now, he’s chief experience officer of Ledger, a security system that provides protection for digital currencies. Given his experience at the cutting edge of both tech and fashion, he is uniquely positioned to speak to the opportunities being created as crypto technologies, gaming and fashion converge. In his mind, one day, virtual fashion will be ubiquitous. 

His insights were originally featured in the fourth episode of The BoF Show, “Dematerialisation: Why the Metaverse Is Fashion’s Next Goldmine,” streaming on Bloomberg Quicktake. 

 

Key Insights 

  • Rogers’ background in the music industry has helped inform the way he perceives’ luxury’s need to take control of digital channels. Record labels lost out big on recorded music because they were in denial of consumers' desire to listen to music online. 
  • Having goods that are both digital and physical, or, “phygital” is the gateway to the existence of purely virtual goods. In order for virtual goods to have real value and meaning, there need to be marketplaces and venues for using them. 
  • People have a desire to collect things. With the rise of NFTs, there’s a way to create scarcity digitally — which gives fashion brands an opportunity to create virtual goods based on the principles and hype and rarity that drive the industry today. 
  • The biggest misconceptions people have is that there’s a distinction between the physical and digital worlds, according to Rogers. The blurring of realities in the metaverse will ultimately change our perceptions of what’s real — and valuable.
  • Most technology surrounding digital goods, NFTs, crypto and the metaverse is still nascent, and storytelling about its potential has been ahead of reality. 

Additional Resources

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Jul 08, 2022
Jens Grede on Building Skims, Frame and the Future of Fashion
45:07

The multitasking entrepreneur joins BoF founder and chief executive Imran Amed to discuss the personal and professional journey that led him to co-create the category-disrupting brand Skims with Kim Kardashian. 

 

Background: 

 

Jens Grede has built some of the most successful direct-to-consumer brands in American fashion. Alongside his wife Emma, he launched Brady with Tom Brady, Good American with Khloe Kardashian, and, of course, Kim Kardashian’s category-disrupting Skims. This week on the BoF Podcast, the Swedish-born former ad man joins BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed to discuss his journey through the fashion industry — from realising one of his early dreams of creating an ad for Calvin Klein to to elevating Skims into a once-in-a generation brand in the vein of Lululemon or Nike’s Jordan brand. 

 

“I've waited my whole career to be part of a moment like this, and I'm very scared of messing it up,” says Grede. “At the same time, I know that if we stop experimenting, if we stop innovating, that is the fastest way to mess it up.”

 

Key Insights: 

 

  • Cultivating a sense of community is one of the only ways to scale a brand now, according to Grede. Great community starts with creating for yourself: products you like, want to buy and can afford. 
  • Grede describes one of his biggest mistakes — attempting to trademark the brand name “Kimono” with Kardashian — as one of the most important moments of his career because of what he learned about community and partnership. He said the Skims team listened, owned the mistake and pivoted. 
  • Fashion is at the cusp of a huge change in distribution due to pivots in culture, algorithms and the outsized role of social media. Grede thinks every major fashion brand that has scaled successfully was born in the cracks of a major distribution change.  

 

 

Additional Resources: 

 

 

 

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Jul 01, 2022
The Debrief: The Decline of the Skinny Jean
17:02

After years of analyst anticipation that the leg-squeezing silhouette would soon go out of style, market research firm NPD Group found sales for the skinny jeans fell behind straight leg jeans in 2021. Skinny jeans are far from dead though — still accounting for 30 percent of sales. Retailers have already felt the effects of the shift: Pacsun pulled the style from its stores because no one was buying it. 

“It really just speaks to the changing of the times and how styles are evolving within fashion,” said BoF correspondent Chavie Leiber.  

 

Key Insights: 

  • Skinny jeans are no longer the most popular denim silhouette, according to data from NPD Group. But, that doesn’t mean no one is buying them. 
  • As consumers come out of the pandemic, they don’t just want comfort. Shoppers are either skewing toward raw denim with no stretch or athleisure and leggings — but jegging and stretch denim styles occupying the in-between have started to fall to the wayside. 
  • The world is in the midst of a “denim Renaissance,” says Marie Pearson, senior vice president of denim at Madewell, who added she’s never seen so many different types of fits and shapes selling.

 

 

Additional Resources: 

 

 

Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout. 

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Jun 24, 2022
A Crash Course on The BoF Sustainability Index 2022
37:11

On the heels of releasing the second, expanded edition of The BoF Sustainability Index — which assesses companies’ progress toward ambitious 2030 goals across categories such as emissions and worker’s rights — Kent and Diana Lee, director of research and analysis at BoF Insights, join Imran Amed, BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief to unpack their findings, answer questions and lay out what needs to happen next. 

Key Insights:

  • Progress on sustainability has been slow. But, a few shifts are coming that may push fashion forward — including EU regulation aimed at the textile industry, and emergence of new models like resale and rental. 
  • Plenty of companies have set ambitious sustainability goals. What is important now is that they move beyond target setting to real action. 
  • Given that most brands don’t own their own factories, to make real progress, companies have to take charge of their whole value chains, not just their own supply chains. 
  • While growing revenue and sales are often at odds with promoting less waste and consumption, there are ways to generate financial gain through reuse, especially as new technologies emerge and fashion moves to be more about community and less about peddling things. 
  • Though it can’t wait for full transparency to act, fashion needs better data to understand where opportunities for improvement are.

Additional Resources:

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Jun 17, 2022
The Secrets to Sustained Success on TikTok
32:47

At the BoF Professional Summit, viral TikTok creators Nic Kauffman and Wisdom Kaye explained what drives success on the platform, while communications executiveChristopher Bugg and talent agent Pranav Mandavia discussed the critical elements of a compelling TikTok strategy for brands.Background:

 

TikTok has become one of the world’s largest and buzziest social media platforms, with over a billion active monthly users. But while fashion brands are eager to experiment with the platform, they’re still figuring out what strategies work best to effectively engage creators like Nic Kauffman and Wisdom Kaye, who took the stage at last month’s BoF Professional Summit alongside Christopher Bugg, communication director of Prada Group and Pranav Mandavia, a talent agent from United Talent Agency and BoF senior editorial associate Alexandra Mondalek. 

 

Successful campaigns on TikTok tend to cast a wide net, allowing creators to do what they want with a hashtag or product. Both Kaye and Kaufmann underscored the need for brands to relinquish creative control to creators to yield the best results. For creators, “the key to sustained viral success as a creator is “differentiation [of your content], as well as being a multifaceted creative,” according to Kaye.

 

“What defines success on TikTok is the requirement for authenticity,” Kaufmann said, explaining how his best videos — that is, those that have attracted the most viewers — are the result of brand collaborations in which he was given a wide berth to style, produce and direct his content, free of interference. 

 

Meanwhile, for brands, “understanding that TikTok creators are multi-hyphenates” is the key to getting the best out of partnerships,” according to Mandavia.

 

“When a brand partners with a TikTok creator, they need to remember that they’re essentially hiring a cameraman, a stylist, a model, all in one — we cover every single aspect of that,” said Kaye, a content creator with over eight million followers, who has partnered with brands such as Dior, Zegna and Fendi. 

 

Key Insights:

  • Between them, viral content creators Nic Kaufmann and Wisdom Kaye have a collective 26 million followers on TikTok and have partnered with brands such as Dior, Prada, Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss. 
  • For brands, relinquishing creative control to creators will yield authentic content and drive organic engagement, as seen with Prada’s bucket hat challenge.
  • Brands looking to partner with talent on the platform must understand that TikTok creators are multi-hyphenates — their roles encompass styling, modelling and production.

 

Additional Resources:

 

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Jun 10, 2022
How Fashion Can Use Digital IDs
20:19

Imaginary Ventures’ Natalie Massenet, and Natasha Franck, founder of digital ID-maker Eon join BoF technology correspondent Marc Bain to discuss Eon, how the technology works and highlight the opportunities digital IDs could create for fashion.

Each interaction a brand has with a consumer typically ends when a product is sold. Digital IDs have the potential to extend that exchange, integrating digital initiatives with products’ physical lives. A a flock of start-ups and fashion power brokers want every item of clothing, watch or handbag to have a digital twin, meaning, QR code-enabled garments that lead to a website packed with information such as an item’s material breakdown or suggestions on how to style it. It's a concept that is well-established in the automobile industry and a few other sectors, but has yet to gain traction in fashion. Proponents believe it could unlock enormous potential for consumers and brands. 

“It's moving from this very transactional relationship that brands have with customers into this service-based continuous relationship between brands and customers,” said Natasha Franck, founder and chief executive of Imaginary Ventures-backed digital ID-maker Eon at BoF’s Technology Summit.

Key Insights:

  • Eon makes digital twins of physical products in the cloud based on information embedded in items using a NFC chip, RFID tag or QR code for partners including H&M, Gabriela Hearst and Zalando. 
  • Massenet compares Eon’s work to building railroads at the beginning of the industrial revolution. The tracks are still being laid, but she says digital IDs have the potential to drive more connections and commerce. 
  • Digital IDs represent a first step toward connecting consumers with web3 initiatives like the metaverse, could enable more seamless reselling and re-ordering as well as allow brands and influencers to collect royalties on sales.

Additional Resources:

  • The Year Ahead: What Product Passports Will Do for Brands: Brands are adopting new technologies that store and share product information to improve authentication, provide transparency and boost consumer trust. However, for “product passports” to truly gain traction, businesses must coalesce around common standards and engage with pilot projects at scale.
  • What Digital IDs Can Do for Fashion: Proponents of the effort to give every item its own digital identity say they’ll unlock numerous benefits for brands and shoppers alike. But for these IDs to work it will require overcoming some big obstacles first.
  • Is Fashion Ready to Put Its Supply Chain on the Blockchain?: H&M and Kering are among the fashion players that have recently launched pilot programmes to trace their supply chains using blockchain technology.

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Jun 03, 2022
The Debrief: How Vacation Clothes Became Big Business
18:03

BoF’s Tamison O’Connor explains how the fashion industry is betting on resortwear as consumers return to their pre-pandemic lifestyles and travel rebounds. 

Background: 

Every spring, top fashion clients, influencers and insiders are whisked away to lush destinations like Monte Carlo and Capri to indulge in fabulous dinners and cocktail parties — and sneak a peek at brands’ resort collections. Resortwear, which began as a way for luxury houses to cater to wealthy, travelling clients halfway through the main season, now represents so much more as a meaningful driver of sales for retailers. 

 

“It's really attractive for the true luxury customer who sees these items as a fun way to accessorise a holiday, but it's also an entry point for more aspirational and younger consumers,” said luxury correspondent Tamison O’Connor.

 

Key Insights: 

  • As consumers start travelling and treating themselves again, luxury is betting big on vacation dressing. 
  • Resortwear stands apart with more casual designs, lighter fabrics and lower prices. Brands aren’t just using these collections to attract travellers and true luxury consumers, but also to snag wealthy domestic clients and appeal to aspirational buyers.
  • Retailers are picking up on opportunities to engage wealthy consumers by building buzz with events and activations surrounding resortwear online and in stores.
  • Big brands are opening more stores and pop-up markets in vacation towns. 
  • Luxury doesn’t expect growth in the segment to slow, even amid global economic turbulence, travel restrictions in China and skyrocketing inflation.

 

Additional Resources: 

 

 

Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout. 

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May 27, 2022
How to Fix the Loneliness Epidemic | BoF VOICES 2021
13:30

To mark Mental Health Awareness Month, Intimacy expert and podcast host Lila lays out a formula for creating intimacy to combat loneliness.

 

“We are simultaneously the most connected and the loneliest we have ever been,” said intimacy expert Lila at BoF VOICES 2021, just before the Omicron wave extended further restrictions and social distancing amid the pandemic. 

 

Indeed, social distancing caused a complete breakdown in contact among family, friends, and entire communities. But the epidemic of loneliness predates the Covid-19 crisis, and has only worsened since the pandemic began

 

On this week’s episode of The BoF Podcast Lila explains why intimacy is the cure for loneliness, and lays out a formula for creating authentic connections.

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May 20, 2022
Inside the Unauthorised Biography of Anna Wintour
31:55
BoF’s Imran Amed quizzes Amy Odell on how she went about biographing the fashion media icon, and the surprising things she learned on the way.   

Background: 

Anna Wintour is arguably the most recognisable name in fashion media. In her new biography of Wintour author Amy Odell sets out to paint a nuanced and meticulously researched picture of Wintour’s life based on hundreds of interviews and sweeping archival research. 

This week on The BoF Podcast, Odell joins BoF’s Imran Amed to talk about the process of biographing the complicated fashion titan, and provides some insight as to what she learned about Wintour’s life and career, as well as what the future holds for Vogue in a post-Anna Wintour era. 

 

Key Insights: 

  • Even amid a number of industry shifts, including the decline of print media, Wintour has maintained her power in part because of the strong network of people — in fashion and beyond — who value her advice and her ability to bridge the  business and creative sides of fashion.
  • Former colleagues and friends  have described Wintour as future-focused and hungry; she hasn’t stopped working because she enjoys the work. 
  • Whoever succeeds Wintour as editor-in-chief will inherit lots of sway that comes with the role. Odell theorises that a Vogue veteran will be tapped next as has always been the case in the past. 

 

Additional Resources: 

  • What Anna Wintour’s Big Promotion Means for Condé Nast: As the publisher focuses on returning to profitability, a new unified content strategy under Anna Wintour, more powerful at the publisher than ever, aims to make its strategy more efficient and intertwined.
  • Org Chart: Vogue’s New Global Editorial Structure: The heavyweight international Vogue editors who once filled the front rows at Paris Fashion Week were gone this season, a stark sign of the restructuring that has consolidated power in the hands of global editor Anna Wintour and her regional deputies.

 

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May 13, 2022
Benoit Pagotto: Fashion Brands Are Getting Community Building Wrong
22:07

At the BoF Professional Summit, RTFKT’s co-founder explained why he agreed to sell to Nike in 2021, and unpacked how brands can leverage web3 and associated technologies to grow  their communities.

“A lot of brands are getting it wrong — they need to stop thinking about their business and ask instead: ‘what can I do for my community?’” said Benoit Pagotto, co-founder of virtual fashion start-up RTFKT Studios. 

Pagotto added that fashion brands need to invest in incentivising individuals to build an engaged community in the long run. 

Giving people access to digital assets or tokens such as NFTs, which can increase in value over time, helps customers feel they are contributing to a brand’s growth story, he explained, but adding that brands also need a new mindset.

“The word ‘consumer’ is over,” he said, noting how the democratising nature of the web3. “has shifted power to the individual, and now brands’ communities will define their value.”

 

Key Insights: 

  • Co-founded by Benoit Pagotto at the beginning of the pandemic as a virtual fashion platform, RTFKT was acquired by Nike in December 2021, marking the sportswear giant’s most significant push into the metaverse. 
  • In late April, the two companies revealed their first product: a pair of virtual Nike Dunk sneakers, whose look owners can change with different digital skins.
  • Pagotto believes that building and engaging communities is a long-term endeavour that requires customer incentivisation, rather than social media strategies.

 

Additional Resources:

  • How Brands Are Using NFTs to Keep Customers Hooked: Brands like Adidas, Gucci and The Hundreds are finding the tokens are a great way to reward their superfans. But maintaining that loyalty can be hard work.
  • Op-Ed | Notes From an NFT Sceptic: Nike, Adidas and other big brands have plunged headlong into the latest crypto craze. But companies and their customers may soon discover converting virtual fashion into real-world profits isn’t so easy. Caveat emptor, warns The NPD Group’s Matt Powell.

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May 06, 2022
Richard Christiansen on Fantasy, Creativity and Resilience | BoF VOICES 2021
17:02

Richard Christiansen pursued a career in fashion as an escape from his upbringing in rural Australia, where his parents worked as beekeepers and sugar cane farmers. In 2005, he founded global creative agency Chandelier Creative, which worked  with clients like Hermès, Cartier and Calvin Klein. But when the pandemic hit, everything spun out: work evaporated, he lost his New York office and was forced to let some employees go. 

 

Even amid those challenges, new opportunities emerged. Christiansen ended up revamping a dilapidated Los Angeles garden and found himself embedded in the local farming community. Soon, these new connections, with everyone from wine makers to olive growers, led to the creation of Flamingo Estate, a brand which generated about $6 million in sales in 2021 and has developed over 150 products, such as olive oils, vinegars, candles and soaps.

 

This week on the BoF Podcast, Christiansen talks about creativity and resilience and how the two helped him build Flamingo Estate. 

 

“Spending my whole career trying to get excited about make believe and luxury goods, It’s funny that the thing I love the most was right under my nose the whole time,” Christiansen said last year at BoF VOICES. His dream is to support more farms and businesses to move to regenerative agricultural practices. 

 

“To me, that would be a fantasy that it’s really worth fighting for,” he said.

To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link.

 

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Apr 29, 2022
The Debrief: Why Shein Is Valued at $100 Billion
18:39

Fast fashion upstart Shein set the industry ablaze this month after reports it was seeking to raise $1 billion in funding at a $100 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg. Shein has upended fast fashion by making apparel at jaw-droppingly low price points and gaining market share, attracting major investors. But is it profitable?

 

“Even if Shein isn’t profitable now, the thesis is that if enough people shop from the brand it would be able to leverage some of its operational costs … It could become a very lucrative business,” said Chen. 

 

Key Insights

  • While it is unknown whether Shein is profitable, the retailer drives ultra-high sales volume and razor-thin margins 
  • Shein is powered by a nimble, AI-driven supply chain, which allows it to produce a plethora of trendy items for an internet-obsessed young fashion audience almost instantaneously. 
  • The retailer’s app uses casino-like tactics and rewards to draw shoppers in and keep them buying, sharing and engaging. 
  • Despite its murky manufacturing process and reputation for amplifying rates of consumption, Shein is popular among young consumers — who purport to care about sustainability.

 

 

Additional Resources

  • The $100 Billion Shein Phenomenon Explained: Reports revealed that Shein is seeking over $1 billion in funding at a $100 billion valuation. BoF breaks down how the fast-fashion disruptor has built a global business that now rivals Zara and H&M.
  • How to Compete With Shein: The Chinese fast fashion giant built an empire on unmatched speed-to-market and unbelievably low prices. To compete, others must play a different game.

 

 

Search for 'The Debrief' and make sure to follow wherever you get your podcasts to never miss an episode.

 

Join BoF Professional today with our exclusive podcast listener discount of 25% off an annual membership, follow the link here and enter the coupon code ‘debrief’ at checkout. 

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Apr 22, 2022
What Consumers Will Buy | Retail Reborn Season 2
40:19

In the final episode, professor of psychology Sheldon Solomon, Depop’s head of sustainability Justine Porterie, The Fabricant’s head of content and strategy Michaela Larosse and Chloé's chief sustainability officer Aude Vergne join retail futurist Doug Stephens to explore how evolving consumer preferences are shaping purchasing decisions. In this final episode of Retail Reborn, we explore the future consumer’s preferences and needs, and how this is shaping their purchasing decisions, from the V-shaped recovery of the personal luxury goods industry in 2021 to the renewed verve in, and take on, the experiential economy as the world reopened post-global lockdowns.

“It’s worthwhile to question the extent to which some of the changes we are witnessing are truly indicative of longer-term shifts in behaviour, or an almost primally motivated response to the profound medical threat of the pandemic, not to mention the social, political and economic unrest that it has unleashed,” says podcast host and retail futurist Doug Stephens.

The conversation examines human behaviour and the effects the pandemic might have played in the mindsets of young consumers, before discussing evolving attitudes towards ownership, the rise of responsible goods and sustainability in a luxury fashion house and the resale market — an industry expected to nearly triple by 2025.

Finally, we explore virtual technology’s presence in consumption preferences, from the evolution of sampling processes to the increased interest in digital products. Indeed, the metaverse is projected to provide a $50 billion revenue opportunity for luxury by 2030, according to Morgan Stanley, and the first Metaverse Virtual Fashion Week took place last month.

To break down what consumers will buy, four global experts share their insights and expertise with host Doug Stephens.

Listen to all episodes of Retail Reborn Season 2 on the BoF Podcast, to discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges the consumer of tomorrow will bring.

Brookfield Properties is building marketplaces of the future that meet the needs of the modern shopper. Discover more.



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Apr 18, 2022
An Antidote to Cultural Appropriation | BoF VOICES 2021
22:06

Teacher, farmer and indigenous women’s rights activist Seno Tsuha travelled over 40 hours from her home in Nagaland, northeast India, to reach Soho Farmhouse in time for BoF VOICES 2021 because she had an important message to share with the global fashion community. 

“When it comes to textiles we use, it’s not just a piece of cloth, it has cultural meaning,” said Tsuha. “When we talk about respect, especially in fashion, it’s very important to understand the local context or historical context and also the social meanings, the cultural meanings attached to the piece of cloth. If you understand that, and if you acknowledge that, that’s where respect comes in.”

Alongside Rebecca Hui, the founder of indigenous arts organisation Roots Studio, Tsuha led a compelling conversation on why cultural inspiration doesn’t always have to be problematic. Together, they suggested a framework for more mindful cross-cultural borrowing rooted in respect, reciprocity and remuneration.

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Apr 15, 2022
Introducing ‘The Debrief,’ a New Podcast hosted by Lauren Sherman
1:23

In this weekly series,  BoF’s chief correspondent will go behind the scenes of the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry. 

Fashion has the ability to move markets, shake up cultural norms and even transform society. But who — and what — are the forces driving major change?

We’re answering that question on The Debrief, a new weekly podcast series from The Business of Fashion, where we go beyond the industry’s glossy veneer to understand how the fashion business is evolving, from the inside out.

Hosted by BoF’s chief correspondent Lauren Sherman, The Debrief will be your guide into the megalablels, indie upstarts and unforgettable personalities shaping the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry. Each week, Lauren will take you through BoF Professional story —  in conversation with our correspondents and industry experts — to unpack the analysis and insights you need to know to navigate an industry undergoing rapid change.From the rise of direct-to-consumer disruptors, to the rapid consolidation of the luxury industry, to cultural shifts turning beauty upside down.

BoF covers it all.

 

Search for 'The Debrief' and make sure to follow wherever you get your podcasts to never miss an episode.

Join BoF Professional today with an exclusive 25% discount on an annual membership, follow the link here.

Email Lauren with your feedback, ideas and tips at lauren.sherman@businessoffashion.com 



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Apr 13, 2022
How Consumers Will Buy | Retail Reborn Season 2
38:38

Adjunct professor in global digital economy Winston Ma, design and blockchain expert Marjorie Hernandez de Vogelsteller, and fashion tech lawyer Gina Bibby join founder of Retail Prophet, Doug Stephens, to assess the evolving payment space and behaviour.

This episode tackles how consumers will shop, deep diving into the transaction processes themselves and how methods of payment are changing, from biometric payment to the Replenishment Economy, as well as innovative paths-to-purchase and how brands and retailers are engaging with them, including the gamification of sales and products.

In 2020, Epic Games reported over $1 billion in microtransaction sales from the mobile version of the Fortnite game alone, across in-game upgrades, costumes and player capabilities. Seeing the potential in this space, brands across the value spectrum have embraced the world of gaming, from Nikeland on Roblox to Balenciaga’s Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow to showcase the brand’s Autumn Winter 2021 collection.

“Both gaming and livestreaming are part of a broader move toward [...] ambient retail — a state where retail is everywhere, woven into every social or entertainment experience. [It is] an evolution that may spell the end of the centralised and search-driven web shopping convention we’ve lived with for the past 30 years,” says podcast host and founder of Retail Prophet, Doug Stephens.

The conversation also considers the evolution of currency, from crypto and blockchain to Bitcoin and Ethereum, detailing their distinct qualities, entrance into the mainstream payment space and popularity among next-gen consumers. Indeed, more than half of Millennial millionaires have at least 50 percent of their wealth in crypto, while nearly 60 percent of Gen-Z believe wealth is achievable through investments in cryptocurrency, according to Business Insider.

To deep dive into how the next-gen consumer will buy products and experiences in the future, BoF gathers three global authorities to share insights with host Doug Stephens.

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges the consumer of tomorrow will bring, and how retail’s transformation will impact your business.

Brookfield Properties is building marketplaces of the future that meet the needs of the modern shopper. Discover more.



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Apr 11, 2022
Mohsin Zaidi on The Four Pieces of a Life | BoF VOICES 2021
15:48

The former barrister and author of “A Dutiful Boy” examines intersectionality and identity at BoF VOICES. 

Just before the pandemic hit, Mohsin Zaidi, former barrister and author of the memoir “A Dutiful Boy,” was preparing for his wedding. When he tried on his sherwani, a traditional garment for South Asian grooms, he didn’t feel excited. Zaidi spent his whole life battling between his Muslim faith and his identity as a gay man. 

In his inspiring talk from BoF VOICES 2021, Zaidi examined the thorny topic of intersectionality and identity. On the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Zaidi shares his experience of finding peace with multiplicity, cultivating bravery and pushing through fear. 

“We are all born whole. We are born one thing, but quickly broken into parts because of societal expectations and cultural norms,” he said. 

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Apr 08, 2022
Which Consumers Will Buy | Retail Reborn Season 2
38:23

McKinsey’s head of retail practises in Central and South America Tracy Francis, luxury analyst Erwan Rambourg and Warby Parker’s SVP of retail Sandy Gilsenan join Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet, to examine the global forces redefining consumer behaviour and circumstances, and the implications on retail habits.

BoF assesses how the climate crisis and economic downturns are impacting consumer behaviour and retail practices, before addressing the new centres of wealth and income polarisation on a global scale. In the US, for example, more than 50 percent of American wealth in 2020 was held by Baby Boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, while Millennials held less than 10 percent, according to Harvard Business Review. In contrast, young consumers in China are powering an unprecedented level of spending as the first generation to come of age during China’s economic revolution — almost 80 percent of luxury spending in China today is by those under the age of 40.

The conversation goes on to analyse younger consumers’ relationship with luxury, and the industry’s evolution in democratising access for such consumers, before considering the strategy behind one direct-to-consumer brand’s post-pandemic brick-and-mortar expansion plan, attuned to the next-gen consumer whose expectations far exceed those of previous generations.

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges the consumer of tomorrow will bring, and how retail’s transformation will impact your business.

Brookfield Properties is building marketplaces of the future that meet the needs of the modern shopper. Discover more.



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Apr 04, 2022
Sinéad Burke on Making Change a Movement, Not a Moment | BoF VOICES 2021
15:55
Four years ago, writer and activist Sinéad Burke made her debut at BoF VOICES, when she implored the fashion community to start designing for disability, noting that the global spending power of disabled people is more than $1.9 trillion.  Following a series of high-profile appearances after VOICES 2017 — from Davos to the Met Gala — Burke has been honing her sense of mission and purpose, and has come to the conclusion that creating products for disabled people is not enough. 

In her return to the BoF VOICES stage in 2021, she said: “If change is only embedded in the present, change will be a moment, not a movement.” 

Burke lays out a path for removing abelism from our society. Systemic change, she said, has to happen based around four pillars: people, places, product and promotions, and be jump-started with awareness, allyship and advocacy. 

In short this means “nothing about us, without us.”



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Apr 01, 2022
Where Consumers Will Buy | Retail Reborn Season 2
37:55

Associate professor Thomas J. Campanella, ‘Godmother of the Metaverse’ Cathy Hackl and Stôur Group co-founders Sonny Gindi and Eden Melloul join Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet, to discuss how physical and virtual consumer landscapes are evolving to meet next-gen consumer demands. 

Presented by Brookfield Properties, BoF investigates the consumer of tomorrow — how new fundamentals will shape the lives and behaviours of the next-generation consumer, and the impact on the retail industry today.

We begin by examining the redrawing of city life as new lifestyle patterns have propelled a seismic shift in the urban landscape. Globally, cities experienced a mass exodus of residents and commuters as the pandemic popularised remote living and working. 

The episode goes on to discuss how retailers are exploring innovative methods and use-cases for physical retail to better engage consumers in-store, such as New York’s Allure Store and its focus on media as the store’s metric for success. 

The conversation also illuminates the fast-emerging retail opportunities within the metaverse, discussing luxury fashion and beauty’s initial steps into this space, and the potential in leveraging the likes of NFTs, skins and blockchain technologies. Indeed, BoF and McKinsey & Co.’s State of Fashion Report 2022 cites estimates that the total addressable market for digital fashion is $31 billion.

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges the consumer of tomorrow will bring, and how retail’s transformation will impact your business.

Brookfield Properties is building marketplaces of the future that meet the needs of the modern shopper. Discover more.



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Mar 28, 2022
Ukrainian Fashion Professionals Remain Resilient In the Face of War
39:46

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine just four weeks ago, thousands of people have been killed and  more than 10 million people have been displaced. Among those impacted are Julie Pelipas, former fashion director of Vogue Ukraine and founder of fashion upcycling platform Bettter; Lilia Litkovskaya, designer and founder of her namesake brand and Vadim Rogovskiy, chief executive and founder of virtual try-on company 3DLook. 

On the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Pelipas, Litkovskaya and Rogovskiy spoke to BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed to share their personal reflections and experiences, and examined what's next for the Ukrainian fashion industry.

Resources to Support the Ukrainian Fashion Community:

 



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Mar 25, 2022
Welcome to Retail Reborn Season 2
3:16

Podcast host and founder of Retail Prophet, Doug Stephens, is joined by 14 global authorities and thought leaders, from fashion and retail executives to futurists and academics, in this second series of Retail Reborn. Guests will share insights on the changing consumer lifestyles and expectations shaping the retail ecosystem, discussing generational expectations as shaped by the pandemic, climate crisis and economic downturns, as well as examining where, how and what next-gen consumers will buy.

Retail Reborn Season 2 launches on 28th March 2022. Subscribe now to never miss an episode.

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

For comments, questions, or speaker ideas, please e-mail: podcast@businessoffashion.com

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com



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Mar 21, 2022
Vanessa Kingori: Conformity is the “enemy of progress, creativity and business.” | BoF VOICES 2021
21:00
In 2018, Vanessa Kingori joined British Vogue as its first female publisher. Since then, she has become a mother, received an MBE, and stepped into the role of Chief Business Officer of Condé Nast Britain.  At BoF VOICES 2021, Kingori shared her experience and lessons in leadership with purpose coach and founder of 822 Group Mory Fontanez, underscoring the importance of leveraging gut instinct to support data-driven decisions and challenging conformity as the “enemy of progress, creativity and business.” 

“Everywhere I've been, I have had to get comfortable with being a bit of an outsider, which often means the decisions I come to — are different to the normal consensus,” said Kingori. “It's OK to be intuitive. It's actually great to lean into your differences rather than try to push to assimilate too much.”

Discover leadership opportunities on BoF Careers across more than 300 of the fashion industry’s leading brands, businesses, retailers and media companies.



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Mar 18, 2022
Reflections on Fashion Week in the Shadow of War
30:20
This week on The BoF Podcast, founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed sat down with editor-at-large Tim Blanks to reflect on the fashion month gone by. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began the day Prada showed in Milan, raised questions about whether it was appropriate for fashion week to go on amid the horror and how the industry should respond to the unfolding tragedy and loss of human life.

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Mar 11, 2022
What Kind of Leaders Do We Need to Be Now? | BoF VOICES 2021
15:52
While the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic manifested in workplaces through budget cuts, layoffs and furlough schemes, the crisis also inspired a widespread re-evaluation of our relationship with work. Amid the so-called “Great Resignation,” Business Insider estimated over 38 million workers quit their jobs in 2021, with many seeking a better balance between life and work, and greater meaning in the work they do.

These evolving expectations are having a profound impact on how leaders have to run their businesses. At BoF VOICES 2021, Kevin J. Delaney, co-founder and CEO of media and Charter and former editor-in-chief of Quartz, examined the qualities leaders need to assimilate today.

On this week’s episode of The BoF Podcast, Delaney says: “One question I hear often from leaders is how do they find the right balance between a focus on operational performance of their business and these new expectations of their employees?”

Explore employment opportunities across more than 350 businesses on BoF Careers,The Global Marketplace for Fashion Talent.



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Mar 04, 2022
How Can Fashion Become Truly Circular? | BoF VOICES 2021
18:50
The traditional fashion value chain is linear: fibres are grown, harvested, spun into fabric and stitched into garments, which are then distributed to retailers, sold, worn and discarded. 

“The way we make and use things accounts for 45 percent of greenhouse gases and 90 percent of biodiversity loss,” said Dame Ellen MacArthur at BoF VOICES 2021.  

In this conversation with BoF’s Sarah Kent,  MacArthur lays  out a vision for an alternate “circular” economy where the lifecycle of garments is extended through better design, including the use of more resilient, recyclable materials, and using systems throughout the manufacturing and sales process to facilitate items’ repair, reuse, and eventual transformation into something new. 

But this kind of systemic change will require a collective and coordinated push from suppliers, designers, brands and retailers across fashion’s value chain.

“We need to work together to make this happen. You need the entire value chain in the room,” said MacArthur, adding that though such comprehensive change is a challenge, it's also an opportunity. Circular business models, including resale and rental, are on track to become a $700 billion market representing 23 percent of the fashion industry by 2030. 

“Business as usual doesn't work,” said MacArthur. “It's not the solution.”



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Feb 25, 2022
How ‘The Age of Acceleration’ Will Transform Business | BoF VOICES 2021
18:53
At BoF VOICES 2021, Futurists Martin Raymond and Christopher Sanderson examined  the series of fast-paced changes that will dominate the wider world in the coming decade — and advised on how brands must adapt.  The world is at the beginning of an era defined by the emergence of fast-paced change at a never-before-seen scale, Martin Raymond and Christopher Sanderson, futurists and founders of The Future Laboratory consultancy said to a rapt audience at BoF VOICES 2021. They dubbed this moment the “Transformative Twenties.”  The pandemic’s shock and subsequent shifts are just the beginning. A series of radical resets driven by new technologies, climate change and shifting demographics will require businesses to become more agile and flexible to keep up with the pace of change. Individuals will demand more sustainable, equitable and decentralised societies.  Amid all this change, the dynamic between brands and their customers has already moved away from being purely transactional to focusing on collaboration and candour as the key tenets of a business model in flux.

“We are moving through a decade in which we are proactively looking for the businesses, the brands, the products, the goods and the services that will help us on our journey to become healthier, wealthier and happier,” said Sanderson.


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Feb 18, 2022
Lessons in Fashion Business-Building from Proenza Schouler | The BoF Podcast
32:05

Designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez speak to BoF’s Lauren Sherman about their journey from one-time fashion wunderkinds to seasoned entrepreneurs, navigating a series of ups and downs.

Fresh out of fashion school — armed with approval from then Barneys New York fashion director Julie Gilhart, who bought their Parsons senior thesis collection in 2002, and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who helped them stage their first show in 2003 — Proenza Schouler designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez followed early 2000s American fashion’s script for success. They took investment quickly, produced buzzy runway shows and an ‘it’ item in the form of the PS1 bag, and began launching new categories and distribution deals — but struggled to achieve sustained commercial success.

“By 2018, the board of directors was quite large and in charge and we weren’t. That’s when, I guess, shit hit the fan,” said Hernandez. 

So, 15 years after its 2002 launch and on the brink of bankruptcy, McCollough and Hernandez bought Proenza Schouler back from private equity firm Castanea Partners, installed fashion turnaround veteran Kay Hong as chief executive, and positioned the brand for growth in 2020, just before the pandemic hit. It appears their strategy is working: Proenza Schouler broke even in 2021 and is on a path to profitability in 2022. 

On the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, McCullough and Hernandez join BoF’s chief correspondent Lauren Sherman following her feature, “The Nine Lives of Proenza Schouler,” to chat about their experience so far — and the brand’s next chapter.

Join BoF Professional for the analysis and advice you need. Get 30 days for just $1 or explore group subscriptions for your business.



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Feb 11, 2022
Understanding the Power of Mycelium and the Mushroom Movement | BoF VOICES 2021
27:09
An oft-overlooked natural asset, mushrooms are not just infiltrating the fashion industry, but also have the potential to unlock new ways of thinking and healing.

One of the planet’s oldest lifeforms was the centrepiece of some of last year’s biggest stories in material innovation in fashion. But beyond fungi’s potential for shaping the future of materials, its ability to build things and create networks can provoke our imaginations and make us question the way we organise our lives, according to Merlin Sheldrake, biologist and author of “Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures.”

Download our latest Case Study: ‘Fashion’s Race for New Materials’ here



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Feb 04, 2022
Christian Louboutin on Balancing Personal Identity and Public Brand | BoF VOICES 2021
20:09
On the heels of selling a 24 percent stake in his namesake label, valuing it at $2.7 billion, Louboutin spoke with Rozan Ahmed at BoF VOICES 2021 about how his identity and upbringing have shaped his approach to business and life.

Join BoF Professional for the analysis and advice you need. Get 30 days for just $1 or explore group subscriptions for your business.



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Jan 28, 2022
Jay Shetty on Finding Your Purpose in a Chaotic World | BoF VOICES 2021
19:49
The best-selling author and podcaster shares a powerful equation for defining your purpose and a guided meditation to help you discover it. 

At BoF VOICES 2021, Jay Shetty spoke about how his experiences as a monk taught him not only how to find purpose, but how to live with it.

Join BoF Professional for the analysis and advice you need. Get 30 days for just $1 or explore group subscriptions for your business.



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Jan 21, 2022
The Jonathan Anderson Experiment
32:50

Up until a week ago, Jonathan Anderson was set to show his J.W. Anderson show in Milan, but Omicron has put paid to that, and Jonathan had to quickly change his plans and instead film a presentation at the Scala in Kings Cross London. BoF's editor at large, Tim Blanks, sat down with Jonathan to discuss his responses to the challenges presented by the pandemic. Jonathan has done everything from a show in a box to a show on a wall, and this time he has continued his optimism and enthusiasm in the face of the pandemic. 

Read Tim Blanks' full article here

Join BoF Professional for the analysis and advice you need. Get 30 days for just $1 or explore group subscriptions for your business.



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Jan 15, 2022
Dame Vivian Hunt on The Case for Stakeholder Capitalism| BoF VOICES 2021
10:41
The pandemic has upped pressure on brands and corporations to take action on issues from climate change to social justice. More and more investors are asking for it and more customers are demanding it.  So what role do businesses need to play in creating the kind of society we want to live in? 

Dame Vivian Hunt is  one of the most important voices in British business. During her talk at VOICES 2021, she made the case for stakeholder capitalism.


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Jan 14, 2022
Harris Reed and Alok Vaid-Menon: “The Future of Fashion Is Gender Free” | BoFVOICES 2021
20:47
At this year's edition of VOICES, performance artist Alok Vaid-Menon sat down with Harris Reed, a recent Central Saint Martins graduate who has emerged as one of the industry’s brightest rising stars and is vocal about pushing gender-fluid fashion to the mainstream.  Reed and Alok spoke about concrete opportunities for industry stakeholders to de-gender fashion. While many fashion companies want to be seen working with gender non-binary people, few are baking their gender-free principles into their businesses beyond one-off collaborations.

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Jan 07, 2022
Cédric Charbit: "Balenciaga: From Hype to Timelessness" | VOICES 2021
21:47

We often think of hype as the antithesis of timelessness, especially in fashion. Chunky dad sneakers and sweatshirts emblazoned with logos, versus little black dresses and classic tailoring. But how can one brand straddle both?

At BoF VOICES 2021, CEO of Balenciaga Cédric Charbit, discusses the brand's business vision, and how a soon-to-be 103 year old luxury house continues to shape the discourse.

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Dec 17, 2021
Janaya Future Khan: "What Activism Really Means" | VOICES 2021
12:17

"Everybody is born into a script they didn’t write for themselves. But activists defy that script to rewrite the narrative, non-binary activist, storyteller and former international ambassador for Black Lives Matter, Janaya Future Khan, said in a powerful talk that wove together theory with raw personal experiences, including a racist encounter on a plane.

Khan was careful to differentiate real activism that drives change from the crescendo of surface-level proclamations, from individuals and brands alike, that have filled social media in recent years.

“If we’re talking about what the work of activism really is, it’s about seeing the world as it is, not as we’re told,” they said. “Our job is to imagine change and make it true.”

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Dec 10, 2021
Kim Jones Drops a New Beat for Dior Men
31:27

The last time Kim Jones showed in his hometown was 2003, the year after he graduated from Central Saint Martins. London didn’t really host many menswear presentations in those days. Besides, Kim already had his eye on the bigger picture, so he hightailed to Paris. His homecoming on Thursday, with the launch of his Pre-Fall 2022 collection for Dior Men at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, was, in one way, an appropriately spectacular reflection of everything that’s happened to him since. But it also illuminated the way Jones has managed to weave his own story into the brands — from Dunhill through Louis Vuitton to Dior and Fendi — that he has shaped.    

His latest Dior collection is infused with the spirit of the Beat Generation, especially Jack Kerouac and his watershed On the Road. Over the past few years, Jones has been building an extraordinary library of rare books and literary ephemera, and Kerouac features strongly. This boho prince might seem unlikely in the context of a French couture house, but Kerouac was writing while Christian Dior was still working. And the rebel spirit of the Beats inspired the Left Bank of Paris, which sparked Yves Saint Laurent who succeeded Dior at the house. So, it wasn’t so tricky for Jones to winkle out a connection. His ability to do so reminds me of Karl Lagerfeld’s knack for joining the dots between eras, people and places.  

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Dec 09, 2021
Max Bittner on the rise — and rise — of fashion resale
38:00

Vestiaire Collective is one of the leaders in the fast-growing fashion resale segment. Earlier this year, in its latest round of funding, the luxury resale platform achieved a valuation of $1.7 billion.

Max Bittner, Vestiaire Collective’s CEO, attributes this success to a number of factors, including ease of transactions, pandemic-driven closet clean-outs and shifting consumer values. But he also acknowledges the challenges that lie ahead as Vestiaire Collective scales, particularly when it comes to verifying the authenticity of products in the face of ever-more sophisticated counterfeits. 

Bittner’s insights are featured in the fifth episode of The BoF Show, now streaming on Bloomberg Quicktake. 

Here, we share the full interview with Bittner, exclusively on The BoF Podcast.

Watch the fifth episode of The BoF Show, “Resale: Inside the $130 Billion Secondhand Fashion Market”

Explore the new report from BoF Insights, “The Future of Fashion Resale” here.



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Nov 27, 2021
Maria Raga on why community is central to Depop’s success
35:12

The CEO of the online peer-to-peer marketplace believes the platform’s ability to connect people sets it apart from typical fashion e-commerce. 

In June 2021, online marketplace Etsy announced plans to acquire Depop for $1.6 billion. The move was yet another sign of growing interest in the burgeoning fashion resale market, which according to BoF Insights, is now worth $130 billion globally.

CEO Maria Raga describes Depop as “combining elements from Instagram and eBay”. The platform is skewed towards lower-priced product exchange between younger traders, almost all of them 26 and under. Raga believes that it’s Depop’s community aspect — facilitating not just online transactions, but also person to person interactions — that attracts these all-important Gen-Z shoppers. 

Raga’s insights are featured in the fifth episode of The BoF Show, now streaming on Bloomberg Quicktake. 

Watch the fifth episode of The BoF Show here.



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Nov 26, 2021
The Dematerialised on the Rise of Virtual Fashion
30:49

Marjorie Hernandez and Karinna Nobbs are the co-founders of The Dematerialised — a Web 3.0 marketplace for authenticated virtual goods, which they describe as “the digital department store of your dreams.”

They’re part of a new wave of pioneering entrepreneurs challenging the luxury status quo and creating a new reality for fashion. 

In the fourth episode of The BoF Show, now streaming on Bloomberg Quicktake, they share their thoughts on gaming culture and the metaverse — and explain why they believe virtual fashion will revolutionise the industry as we know it. 

Here, we share the full interview, exclusively on The BoF Podcast.

Watch the fourth episode of The BoF Show, “Dematerialisation: Why the Metaverse Is Fashion’s Next Goldmine”

Explore the new report from BoF Insights, “The Opportunities in Digital Fashion and Avatars” here.



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Nov 19, 2021
Ian Rogers: “Five years from now, we will have closets where we share our digital collections”
45:18

Ledger’s Chief Experience Officer explains how — and when — fashion should tap into the NFT gold rush, as featured in the fourth episode of The BoF Show, now streaming on Bloomberg Quicktake. 

Ian Rogers moved to Paris from Silicon Valley in 2015 when he was appointed Chief Digital Officer of LVMH, acting as a digital whisperer to C-suite luxury executives. 

Today, as Chief Experience Officer of Ledger — a security system that provides protection for digital currencies — he is uniquely positioned to speak to the opportunities being created as crypto technologies, gaming and fashion converge.

His insights are featured in the fourth episode of The BoF Show, now streaming on Bloomberg Quicktake. 

Here, we share the full interview with Rogers, exclusively on The BoF Podcast.

Explore the new report from BoF Insights, “The Opportunities in Digital Fashion and Avatars” here.

Watch episode 4, 'Why the Metaverse Is Fashion's Next Goldmine' here.



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Nov 12, 2021
Sinead Burke: ‘Fashion has the power to change how society views people.’
22:34

Sinéad Burke refuses to be excluded, despite fashion’s poor record on welcoming people  with disabilities. 

In a wide-ranging interview, featured in the third episode of The BoF Show, Sinéad reminisces on her fashion journey — from calling out the industry for entrenched behaviours, at BoF VOICES in 2017; to advising luxury brands as Founder & CEO of consultancy “Tilt the Lens”.

Here, we share the full interview exclusively on The BoF Podcast.

Watch the third episode of The BoF Show, “Belonging: The Business Case for Diversity in Fashion”



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Nov 05, 2021
Samira Nasr: “Real inclusion means anyone can follow their dreams”
22:05

In 2020, Samira Nasr became Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, the first-ever woman of colour to hold the position in the magazine’s 154 year history.

The appointment, whilst joyful, also prompted tough reflection about racism and responsibility. How can a business based on exclusivity throw its doors open to all? 

Nasr’s insights on what real inclusion looks like in fashion — and her hopes for the industry as it emerges from the pandemic — are featured in the third episode of The BoF Show, now streaming on Bloomberg QuickTake.

Here, we share the full interview with Nasr exclusively on The BoF Podcast.

Watch the episode three of The BoF Show, “Belonging: The Business Case for Diversity”



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Oct 29, 2021
Angelica Cheung: Chinese Customers Will “Expect to See Something Different” When They Travel Again
52:25

“We’ve been expecting you…”

In Paris, everything is prepared for the return of big-spending tourists. Stores are open, mirrors shined, brand leaders bullish that the global capital city of luxury remains irresistible.

But when BoF founder and CEO, Imran Amed connects to Angelica Cheung in Beijing, she sounds a caution.

For 16 years, Angelica was Vogue China’s Editor-in-Chief. Today, she’s a venture partner at investment leader, Sequoia Capital China. She tells Imran that Chinese customers used to travel to Paris for choice — which they can now find at home; for price — yet prices are now balanced around the world; for “Made in France” — yet they’re increasingly proud of “Made in China”.

Her insights on what it’s going to take to lure the Chinese back to the City of Light are featured in the second episode of The BoF Show, now streaming on Bloomberg QuickTake.

Here, we share the full interview with Cheung exclusively on The BoF Podcast.

Watch the second episode of The BoF Show, “Re-Invention: How Fashion’s Megabrands Will Adapt to Post-Pandemic Customer Behaviour”



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Oct 22, 2021
Could Luxury Become Responsible? | Transforming Luxury
50:40

Over the Transforming Luxury podcast series, as we discussed market dynamics, product strategies, customer experiences, emerging technologies, new retail channels and our imminent entry into the metaverse, the pressing need and increasing demand for systemic change to create a more sustainable industry was a consistent theme.

In this final episode of Transforming Luxury, a special six-episode series presented by Klarna, we confront the distinct uncertainty and disruption facing the luxury industry and us all, as a result of the climate crisis.

In 2020, BoF reported that the fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions range from an estimated 4 percent to 10 percent of the global total. Without significant intervention, the industry will not align with global goals to limit global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. Failure to do so is predicted to have catastrophic consequences for civilisation, outlined in the UN’s IPCC report 2021.

However, if bold enough leadership is willing to reimagine how the industry operates, equipped with the deep pockets of market leaders and further enforcing the existing, rigorous quality controls already in place, luxury would be " uniquely positioned to transform itself,” as stated by SVP of supply chain innovation at the Savory Institute, Megan Meiklejohn.

To hear more about the role sustainability must play throughout the luxury goods industry, BoF gathered four global authorities to discuss how luxury can become more responsible with host Robin Mellery-Pratt.

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges a redefined industry will bring and how luxury’s transformation will impact your business.

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

For comments, questions, or speaker ideas, please e-mail: podcast@businessoffashion.com.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.



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Oct 18, 2021
Manfred Thierry Mugler: Fashion’s Original Radical
40:27

For fashion aficionados of a certain age, the name “Thierry Mugler” throbs with memories of showgirl spectacles cast with extraordinary beauties and weirdos, garbed in looks of an other-worldly glamour. Such was their alien dazzle that there are times in this more prosaic era when I wonder if they ever really happened. Fortunately, there is now ample proof of their existence at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, where Thierry Mugler: Couturissime is on display until April next year. It’s been on a world tour since it first opened in Montreal in 2019, but its homecoming was significant enough that Mugler sat down to talk about it, and everything else, for The BoF Podcast. And, being one of those fashion aficionados of a certain age, I was slightly awestruck.

Mugler turned his back on fashion at the millennium, reclaiming his first name Manfred and devoting himself to costume design for the likes of Cirque du Soleil. He dressed Beyoncé's 2009 world tour. But the only fashion outfit he has designed in the past two decades was the “wet look” dress Kim Kardashian wore to the Met Gala in 2019. It apparently took eight months to make. Mugler had never seen her TV show, but when she walked into the room — not a word to anyone else, never a smile or a handshake — he said, “It was love at first sight.” He saw her body as that of “the original female, an antique goddess.”

It’s clear what kind of woman has always attracted and inspired Mugler. In his fashion heyday, it was Iman and Jerry Hall who embodied his very particular aesthetic. “Fashion needs a great animal to wear it,” he told me. He photographed his clothes on those women, draped over the Art Deco eagles on the Chrysler Building in New York, posed against massive Saharan sand dunes and Arctic icebergs. They were dressed like superheroines but Mugler made them small against the monumental backdrops. “It looks like they’ve been dropped from another planet,” he says now. “That was the idea.”

He claimed he wanted to help people find something strong in themselves that they could bring into their real lives. That’s why he loved photographing the acrobats and circus people he worked with after his fashion life. And, talking to Mugler, I sensed that struck a chord for him too. Metamorphosis was always a theme. The natural world was an obsession. “When you look up close, the gorgeous creatures on our planet are so out of this world.” In his couture, he never used fur, or rare feathers, or exotic skins. “I don’t want to torture animals for that,” Mugler said.


That sensibility made him an outlier in fashion at the time. He was often criticised. Now, it simply looks like his radicalism was ahead of its time. Mugler embraced queer culture, showed men and women in exactly the same clothes, was open to experiment of all kinds. His queer peer Jean Paul Gaultier offered a similarly idiosyncratic humanist vision, couched in the most extreme style fashion could offer. Look back at their work now and I defy you to deny their status as totems of a golden age in fashion.

Obviously, Manfred and I had a very busy podcast. Reeling out of the exhibition, head spinning with extreme visions of accomplishment (memorably celebrated in a bizarre, funny Iman-Bowie video), I had questions. Hopefully, you’ll find the answers when you listen. But one thing that stood out was Mugler’s obsession with technique. He tracked it back to his early days, when his ambition was to be a ballet dancer. “I learned at the barre how you can do nothing without technique,” he said. And his greatest points of pride related to that: personally, the body he has built for himself; professionally, his perfume Angel, a battle he waged for years with fragrance industry orthodoxy. It’s still a global top-five seller. There is supreme vindication in that, as there is in Couturissimeand clothes which will boggle minds for centuries to come.



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Oct 15, 2021
Can Luxury Maintain Its Relevance in the Metaverse? | Transforming Luxury
34:44

The metaverse — a term originally coined by the author Neal Stephenson in his sci-fi novel ‘Snow Crash’ — is now widely used to describe how our physical realities will be augmented and overlaid by ambient and accessible digital experiences and services.

Luxury’s entrance into the metaverse was expedited by many brands’ leverage of new technologies to speak to consumers when lockdowns removed physical interactions in bricks-and-mortar stores and in-person events. But the impact of virtual and augmented reality on consumer behaviour preceded 2020: Forbes reported in 2019 that 40 percent of consumers were willing to spend more on a product they can experience through augmented reality technology first.

From stores that guide you from the street to luxury items designed exclusively for the smart glasses that every major tech platform is working on, the future of luxury is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed.

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges a redefined industry will bring and how luxury’s transformation will impact your business.

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

For comments, questions, or speaker ideas, please e-mail: podcast@businessoffashion.com.

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Oct 11, 2021
Tim Blanks and Imran Amed on The Season That Was
30:34

After the conclusion of Paris Fashion Week — the first in-person version of the event since the pandemic took hold in early 2020 — BoF’s editor at large Tim Blanks sat down with BoF founder and CEO Imran Amed to discuss his reflections on fashion’s return to the runway.

Designers appeared to come out of lockdown with renewed energy, breathing new life and ideas into their collections. Highlights included Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe collection, Extinction Rebellion’s talked-about moment during Louis Vuitton and the week’s finale, a tribute to the late Alber Elbaz.

Still, Blanks said that he doesn’t believe fashion has seen the full effects of the pandemic just yet. “I think in a sense everything changed and we haven’t processed it yet,” he said. “It’s going to take a long time.”

On the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Amed and Blanks explore what fashion learned from its break.

  • Jonathan Anderson’s Loewe show leaned on the surreal to expand upon the designer’s previous pandemic-era collections and experimented with new themes. It also marked a departure from previous runway show set ups; this year’s show was staged in a bare-bones space that highlighted Anderson’s sculptural silhouettes. “Of all the designers that we’ve followed so closely, his response to the pandemic was perhaps the most creative,” said Blanks. “I think it was maybe his best show for Loewe.”

  • The Simpsons’ surprise appearance at Balenciaga also provided some levity to the week, with an abbreviated episode of the hit cartoon featuring characters walking in a Balenciaga show. Demna Gvasalia also explored themes of distance with a screening replacing a traditional runway show. Even without the Simpsons’ star power, Demna showed a collection that excited buyers and critics alike, particularly in bags and accessories.

  • Climate activist group Extinction Rebellion brought about what was perhaps the most talked-about moment of fashion week. During Louis Vuitton’s runway show, an activist stormed the runway carrying a banner that read “Overconsumption = Extinction”, prompting a discussion on if the industry has changed at all during the pandemic. “Maybe the system hasn’t changed, but the people who work in the system have been changed, and that’s maybe going to change the way the industry interacts,” said Amed.

Related Articles:

In Paris, Back to Normal or Not?

Demna Gvasalia: ‘Couture Is The Most Sustainable Way of Consuming’

Fashion’s Favourite-Ever Collaboration: Balenciaga and ‘The Simpsons’

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Oct 08, 2021
What Is Driving the Transformation of Luxury Retail Channels? | Transforming Luxury
42:43

Today, the channels that consumers can now use to connect with brands to elicit a range of interactions have multiplied, dramatically. With major new platforms emerging all over the world, the retail networks utilised by luxury brands are evolving at an unprecedented pace to include a huge number of customer touch points — each a distinct opportunity for growth but requiring an idiosyncratic strategy for success.

Due to mobile-commerce and social-commerce, when, how and why a consumer transacts with a brand has been reimagined entirely. The linear paths to purchase with which we are so familiar are being replaced by new conduits that combine digital content with customer-centric retail strategies to make transacting as engaging, enjoyable and instantaneous as possible.

There is one region responsible for the lion’s share of retail innovation: China. The engine of the luxury industry’s growth for decades is now the epicentre of the most significant retail innovation in the market.

From buy now, to swipe up, unboxing to bounce houses, KOLs, KOCs, shoppable video, live streaming, digital clienteling, resale sites, marketplaces, macro and micro influencers — luxury’s retail channels have been reimagined at scale. Now, that innovation is beginning to shape global retail strategy.

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges a redefined industry will bring and how luxury’s transformation will impact your business.



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Oct 04, 2021
Demna Gvasalia: “Couture Is The Most Sustainable Way of Consuming”
43:29

The revival of Balenciaga’s long-dormant couture collection was the most anticipated event of the July 2021 haute couture season, and the first since the house’s namesake, Cristóbal Balenciaga, shuttered his salon in 1968.

BoF’s founder and CEO Imran Amed was granted exclusive pre-show access and sat down with Gvasalia for a wide-ranging interview which is featured in the first episode of The BoF Show, now streaming on Bloomberg QuickTake.

Here, we share the full interview with Gvasalia exclusively on The BoF Podcast.

Watch the first episode of The BoF Show, “Disruption: Is Luxury Fashion ready to Change?”

Related Articles:

Disruption: Is Luxury Fashion Ready To Change?

The Fate of the Physical Runway Show

Chanel’s Last Virtual Fashion Show?

Why Big Brands Are Skipping Fashion Week

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Oct 01, 2021
How Is Luxury Customer Service Evolving? | Transforming Luxury
36:53

In recent decades, the race to attract and retain customers saw dizzying amounts of money spent on clienteling — the industry term for building a 1 on 1 relationship with customers. Today, for major players of scale with the resources to invest in it, successfully digitising personalised in store service, which generates much high conversion rates through recommendations and experience, is being looked to as a key driver of future competitive advantage.

Indeed, the luxury service revolution is now rooted in creating a single customer view, enabling businesses to guide an individual consumer to the products and services it offers that match their specific needs. An opportunity that stems from significant shifts in generational attitudes towards data sharing and its use.

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges a redefined industry will bring and how luxury’s transformation will impact your business.

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

For comments, questions, or speaker ideas, please e-mail: podcast@businessoffashion.com.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.



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Sep 27, 2021
How Is Luxury Customer Service Evolving? | Transforming Luxury
36:53

In recent decades, the race to attract and retain customers saw dizzying amounts of money spent on clienteling — the industry term for building a 1 on 1 relationship with customers. Today, for major players of scale with the resources to invest in it, successfully digitising personalised in store service, which generates much high conversion rates through recommendations and experience, is being looked to as a key driver of future competitive advantage.

Indeed, the luxury service revolution is now rooted in creating a single customer view, enabling businesses to guide an individual consumer to the products and services it offers that match their specific needs. An opportunity that stems from significant shifts in generational attitudes towards data sharing and its use.

To discover what this means for the future of the luxury goods industry, BoF spoke with three global authorities to share their insights.

Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the CEO and co-founder of Klarna. In 15 years, Siemiatkowski has grown Klarna into one of Europe’s largest financial institutions, which provides alternative payment services to over 90 million shoppers, partnering with over 250,000 retailers globally and its own direct-to-consumer shopping app.

“The whole purpose of digitalisation is utilising data to create value. It’s the information that allows us to create richer experiences. If you sit down and have a [...] conversation with a consumer and you say, ‘yes, you are in control of what data is being shared and you have full transparency, and if you then would be willing to share some specific aspects of your data in order to get a better experience, a better price, a better whatever it might be,’ then the answer is always going to be yes.”

Holli Rogers is chair of renowned concept store Browns and chief brand officer of its parent company, Farfetch. Rogers quadrupled Browns’ business while CEO between 2015 and 2021. Previously, Rogers held roles at Chanel and Neiman Marcus before joining Net-a-Porter as a founding member in 2002.

“In the past as everything has been separate and disparate in terms of the different technologies. When you speak to different businesses everyone talks about, ‘yeah, I’ve got a client telling app. We use WhatsApp.’ But actually if you break it down, none of them are connected one to the other. So you don’t get a single customer view. It’s this idea of how do you pull all of these pieces together in one space, collecting all of these hundreds of data points that allow you to give the customer what they want when they want.”

Melissa Morris is the founder and designer of Métier, an independent leather maison best known for its logo-free handbags, travel bags and accessories. Prior to launching Métier in 2017, Morris studied sculpture and business at Emory University before working for Armani, Helmut Lang and Belstaff.

“The bespoke aspect of our business is such a great way for us to deepen our relationships with our clients and also get a really clear understanding of what’s missing in the assortment and gives me a clear direction on what to make next. What I’ve found is when I’ve gotten one bespoke request, what’s good for one is good for everyone. So a lot of our bespoke requests that I’ve been brought into the line have turned out to be big successes.”

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges a redefined industry will bring and how luxury’s transformation will impact your business.

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

For comments, questions, or speaker ideas, please e-mail: podcast@businessoffashion.com.

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Sep 27, 2021
Li Edelkoort’s ‘Anti-Fashion’ Manifesto
22:37
The fashion system has been broken for some time, said trend forecaster Li Edelkoort at VOICES 2016. But, it can still regain its cultural cachet, and fix its exploitative practices.

When trend forecaster Li Edelkoort first published a manifesto called “Anti-Fashion” in 2015, people across the fashion industry told her that her critique had finally put how they felt into words.

“Fashion is old-fashioned,” said Edelkoort. But she believes the system can evolve to fit today’s reality and regain the cultural value it has lost over the years.

On the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, we revisit Edelkoort’s talk on the BoF VOICES stage in 2016. Her prescient ideas have only become more urgent and applicable in 2021 as the world emerges from a pandemic that forced the industry to further reevaluate its systems, values and place in society.

  • Fashion’s tendency towards individualism, which sees the industry place near-exclusive focus on the creator, doesn’t fit with today’s society, which is “hungry for consensus and altruism,” said Edelkoort. The problem stems in part from fashion schools, which, for the most part, have not updated their curriculum to reflect the current issues plaguing the industry.

  • The race to the bottom regarding prices is destroying fashion’s cultural value as well as harming garment workers. “How can a product that needs to be sewn, grown, harvested, combed, spun, knitted, cut and stitched, finished, printed, labeled, packaged and transported cost a couple of euros? It’s impossible,” said Edelkoort. As a starting point, she suggested implementing legislation on minimum prices.

  • The retail experience also needs to be reinvented to be more focused and better presented to consumers. Edelkoort points to Dover Street Market, whose curated approach sets it apart from traditional department stores. “Everything we do is from the 20th century. Even concept stores and online commerce were from the last moments of the 20th century,” said Edelkoort.

Related Articles:

Chasing the Holy Grail of Circularity

Brands Face New Pressure on Labour Rights

The Green Global Age of the Information Revolution

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Sep 24, 2021
What Defines a Luxury Product Today? | Transforming Luxury
37:50

In Episode 2 of Transforming Luxury, BoF’s new podcast presented by Klarna, we investigate what will inform the luxury product mix of the future.

Indeed, the definition of a luxury good has expanded dramatically in recent years to now include a host of disruptive new categories, from the luxury sneakerhead culture that dominated the past decade, to collectibles, curios, NFTs and even some mass produced products capturing attention in the luxury market.

Evolving consumer sentiment is also increasingly influencing luxury’s manufacturing process. Today, customers demand brands and businesses authentically represent global cultures in a way that serves the communities themselves and not the industry’s shareholders. They also hold brands accountable for the impact of their supply chains and production processes. Yet, workers’ rights was among the worst-performing categories in BoF’s Sustainability Index.

To discover what this means for the future of the luxury goods industry, BoF assembled four global authorities to share their insight.

Aaron Levant is an entrepreneur working at the intersection of fashion, culture, events and media. Levant co-founded streetwear and music festival ComplexCon, and streetwear trade show Agenda Today, Levant is CEO of NTWRK, a mobile-first video shopping platform — backed by Drake and LeBron James — that hosts events and exclusive, limited-edition product drops available to purchase immediately within its app.

“For the last hundred years, luxury was easily defined as European couture — fashion houses who own the luxury space — and now, seemingly newer brands not only create luxury in their own right, but then collaborate with true luxury brands. I think the definition around luxury is ever evolving as for who fits in that category.”

Zerina Akers is an American fashion stylist and costume designer. She is the founder of the self-funded e-commerce site Black Owned Everything and has worked as Beyoncé Knowles Carter‘s stylist, as well as costume designing the 2020 visual album, Black Is King, for which she won an Emmy in 2021.

“Generally, many of these companies have benefitted from rap culture and imagery that we’ve created for them. We’ve created so much marketing for these companies and I’m just hoping that there continues to be real, sustainable change for them in the way that they shine light on our community.”

Bethany Williams is a UK-based menswear designer with a focus on affecting social change. She founded her namesake label in 2017, won the Queen Elizabeth II Award in 2019 and the British Fashion Council and British Vogue Designer Fashion Fund in 2021.

“For me, luxury is about having a product that you don’t feel guilty owning. Luxury is about beautiful craftsmanship and the slowing down of the manufacturing process, working with artisans and supporting local community projects.”

Fewocious is the youngest artist ever to be featured by Christie’s — and the first to crash its site. He is one of the most successful and visible members of a growing community of crypto artists finding success in the NFT market, launching a shoe collaboration with design studio RTFKT earlier this year, with more than 600 pairs selling out in seven minutes and netting around $3.1 million.

“With the NFT space, art can move. You can interact with art. There’s programmable art, you can programme layers so that someone can change how your art looks [...]. There’s so much I probably don’t even know about yet, just because you can kind of do anything and figure out a way to attach an NFT to it, which I think is so rad and the future.”

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Sep 20, 2021
The Green Global Age of the Information Revolution
19:30

The world is in the middle of an information revolution, and it’s a situation, economist Carlota Perez says, we’ve been in before. Capitalism resets every few decades, and follows a familiar pattern: An investment frenzy boosts new technologies that change how people live and interact, but when that craze eventually collapses, it leaves behind social upheaval and resentment.

To stop that cycle, this time, Perez says on the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, we need to deliberately disassemble society’s most harmful systems and ingrained beliefs so that every country and every person is included in the sustainable future of the earth.

“We can shape the Information Revolution into a green golden age,” said Perez. She added that the fashion industry has a huge role to play, saying, “It’s up to you to reinvent what we understand by fashion… and it’s up to you to rethink, reinvent, redesign.”

That reinvention and redesigning means interrogating what wealth, well-being, and pleasure are — and untethering those ideas from physical things. Perez joined Imran Amed last year at VOICES, BoF’s annual gathering for big thinkers, to discuss what needs to happen to harness the information revolution to become more sustainable and inclusive.

  • Globalisation is happening, but it needs to be reworked to include all people and nations. Until now, globalisation has seen businesses chasing lower costs, and has been concentrated in Asia. “We need to discover what each area of the world, what each country can do, and re-invent, but with consensus — not just with government deciding but working together with business to re-conceptualise each bit of territory, each city,” says Perez.
  • Both individual lifestyle changes as well as government action are required to create a greener, more sustainable future — which benefits businesses and the whole of society, not just the one percent. “We need to work together… Every golden age has been a win-win... with the government staging the game,” says Perez.
  • The fashion industry needs to stop perpetuating a cycle of waste and instead focus on creating high-quality, long-lasting products that can be reused and redesigned. That requires completely rethinking the clothing industry — a daunting but feasible and necessary task. “If you put your brilliant heads to solving this problem and making money along the way, you will succeed,” concludes Perez. “But you’ve got to recognise the obstacles. If you deny it, you’re going to die, and you can’t die — we need you.”

To learn more about BoF VOICES 2021, to be held from Dec 1-3, 2021, please click here.

Related Articles:

The Definitive Guide: How to Build a Sustainable Fashion Brand

Fashion’s Greenwashing Problem Begins with Bad Data

How to Avoid the Greenwashing Trap

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Sep 17, 2021
How Did 2020 Impact Luxury? | Transforming Luxury
28:30

Critic Robin Givhan, analyst Luca Solca, author Dana Thomas and Métier founder Melissa Morris discuss how luxury became a winners-take-all market and how growing consumer scrutiny is driving change.

BoF is investigating how market disruption, new technology and increasing consumer scrutiny are driving transformative change in the $300 billion luxury goods market, in an exclusive new podcast series presented by Klarna.

As the extraordinary events of 2020 — from the global pandemic, lockdowns and economic downturns to the accelerating climate crisis and social justice movements — impacted the luxury industry, scale-driven advantages widened the performance gap between the industry’s super winners and the rest of the market. In 2020, BoF reported that 75 percent of companies did not generate enough economic profit to cover the cost of their capital. Yet, the leading mega brands and conglomerates reported record sales.

However, a growing dissonance is emerging between luxury’s traditional values of scarcity and exclusivity, and the emergence of a more inclusive, egalitarian and sustainable global consumer culture, making the luxury industry vulnerable to shifting consumer sentiment. Today, businesses must respond to growing consumer scrutiny around the sociological and ecological impact of how they operate and what they produce.

Follow the series to ensure you never miss an episode and discover actionable insights into the opportunities and challenges a redefined industry will bring and how luxury’s transformation will impact your business.

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For comments, questions, or speaker ideas, please e-mail: podcast@businessoffashion.com.

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Sep 13, 2021
Chasing the Holy Grail of Circularity
25:54

The modern, fast-paced fashion industry feeds a culture of waste that results in millions of tonnes of textiles burned or sent to landfill every year. Brands are acknowledging the problem, increasingly labelling products with buzzwords like “circular” and marketing bags made from recycled fishing nets or shoes crafted from plastic bottles. But the industry still needs to find scalable solutions to its waste problem.

This week on The BoF Podcast, chief correspondent Lauren Sherman speaks with chief executive of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA), Edwin Keh, about ways fashion can tackle the waste challenge.

  • Recycling innovations that could turn old clothes back into new materials are on the horizon. But alongside investments to scale up new technologies, fashion must rethink its approach to design, Keh said. “We make stuff, we use it and we want it to go away, and we take new material and we repeat that process,” says Keh. “But not built into that process is circularity and the design intent for it to be recycled.”

  • New recycling technologies must also have a compelling business case to be able to compete with established ways of doing business, says Keh. “If you solve the science problem and you don’t make the business case for it or you don’t create the logistics for it, then you have sort of like a half-baked solution that makes you feel good, works well in the lab, but doesn’t have a real-world application.”

  • The fashion industry also needs to get smarter about data analytics to understand consumer trends and manage production accordingly, Keh says. “There’s a lot of opportunity to work on more intelligent ways to do analytics and… not to make [overproduction mistakes] in the first place,” he adds.

Related Articles:

The Waste Opportunity: How Fashion Could Turn Trash to Treasure

Chasing The Holy Grail of Circular Fashion

A More Circular Fashion Industry Will Require a Collective Effort



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Sep 10, 2021
Welcome to Transforming Luxury
2:58
In a new series from The Business of Fashion, BoF speaks to 22 experts from the worlds of business, technology and science, creative leaders and renowned ecologists, to investigate the forces driving transformative change in the luxury goods market. The six-part series, created in partnership with Klarna, explores the future of the $300 billion industry, from new consumer behaviour to the next-gen technology and the urgent need to create a more sustainable industry. Subscribe now to never miss an episode.

The Transforming Luxury Podcast launches on 13th September. Subscribe now to never miss an episode.

Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter.

For comments, questions, or speaker ideas, please e-mail: podcast@businessoffashion.com.

For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.


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Sep 06, 2021
Misa Hylton’s Enduring Impact On Fashion
43:46

American stylist and fashion designer Misa Hylton rose to prominence in the ‘90s for her work with hip-hop and R&B legends such as Lil’ Kim and Mary J. Blige. She played a major role in bridging fashion and hip-hop. But in the past, Hylton didn’t received due credit for her lasting impact on fashion trends — and even contributing to the financial success of select fashion companies — according to BoF columnist Jason Campbell. This week on The BoF Podcast, Campbell is joined by Hylton and Nick Nelson, an adjunct professor at The New School who teaches a course on fashion styling, to discuss Hylton’s life and work, as well as the enduring significance of hip-hop culture in fashion.

  • Hylton’s family emphasised traditional academic subjects, like science and math, during her childhood. Style was a way for her to channel her more creative side; she changed up to five times a day based on her mood at the moment. “That was the first place that I got to work with image … the energy would change, and I’m like, ‘OK, time to change my clothes — wardrobe change,’” says Hylton.

  • In styling, Hylton ditched the ball gowns to dress her clients in looks that were true to who they were, increasing representation for a group that had been left out of pop-culture conversations. “So many young girls related to it in the inner city and in the hoods. And it was really powerful because of that, because we were now able to see ourselves and see our style in the forefront on TV,” says Hylton.

  • When the looks Hylton styled for the likes of Blige and Lil’ Kim gained popularity, brands quickly followed, replicating them for the mainstream and leaving Hylton, and the other originators out. “I was not ever asked until recently to come into any luxury fashion house and create, or any photo shoot that was in a high end fashion magazine,” she says. “I wasn’t invited to style it, but our style was being emulated.” Nelson adds that “to know the history was behind that ... is incredibly important for this new generation of creators.”

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Sep 03, 2021
Building Loyalty through Brick-and-Mortar Retail
28:12

A panel of experts discussed strategies for making physical retail a strong service touchpoint that builds brand loyalty.

Shopping is evolving. Consumers now experience brands across channels: they may be introduced to a brand on social media, try on its products at a store, and then make a purchase online. Or, they may browse online and then pick-up an item in-person. For retailers, that means a sale can happen anywhere, at any time.

This week on The BoF Podcast, our retail correspondent Cathaleen Chen is joined by Adam Levene, founder of digital customer service platform Hero; Elyse Walker, boutique and concept store owner; and Dan Schoening, Nordstrom’s vice president of business strategy and operations to discuss how retailers can service customers in a way that creates a seamless, individualised experience across retail channels.

  • Beyond conversions, a strong digital strategy can serve as a way to get customers into a store and foster further engagement, according to Levene. “It’s all about giving that customer that comfort, and that desire and reason to actually head into store, having that confidence knowing the item will be there, it’s going to be in their size, and they can be greeted by the stylists they connected with online,” says Levene.

  • Convenience can actually drive business efficiency. Nordstrom links inventory across all markets, so that “customers have access to all that product, way more choice, and way more control around how they get it,” says Schoening. Then, the company provides easy access points for pick-up and returns, which, in turn, allows Nordstrom to get merchandise back into its ecosystem to sell again.

  • Building a lasting relationship with customers is essential to success. To do so, retailers should have store associates focus on building trust with kindness and authenticity. “If you pressure your sales team to hit certain numbers and it’s not authentic and it’s not organic, you might have a good day, but that hurts the long-term potential of your business,” says Walker.

Related Articles:

How to Build Customer Loyalty

5 Ways to Boost Customer Loyalty

How to Build a One-on-One Relationship With Your Customer

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Aug 27, 2021
Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing on Authentic Representation
44:49
The designer speaks with Tim Blanks about his journey to find his birth parents and the power of breaking boundaries in fashion.  

Olivier Rousteing was named Balmain’s creative director ten years ago, when he was still only in his mid-twenties. But Rousteing — who was adopted as a child and grew up believing he was of mixed-race parentage — says he always felt like he was performing a role to fit in amongst the French fashion elite. Recently, he decided to try and find his birth parents to give him a greater understanding of his identity, and allowed a documentary crew to film the process. In the process, Rousteing discovered his Somalian and Ethiopian heritage. The resulting film, “Wonder Boy,” came out last year, and arrived on Netflix in June.

The experience has made him want to be more open about his identity. “You knew the designer for many years and now you are going to know the human being behind that,” he says.

This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s editor-at-large Tim Blanks speaks with Rousteing about connecting with his personal history, the power of community and why timelessness in fashion is vital today.

  • Rousteing said he hopes his personal journey will help provide inspiration for young creatives from diverse backgrounds hoping to make it in fashion. “I think I am the new France,” says Rousteing. “I think this is the message that I am delivering to people… This is my mission to give some hope in breaking boundaries.”

  • In his decade at the helm, Rousting has brought a new approach to Balmain’s customers, too. “What I wanted to do during this decade is to make sure that there was awareness of the brand,” said Rousteing. “So, my first step was to create a strong community of people listening to the name of Balmain.”

  • The pandemic has made Rousteing rethink his approach to design. “I think what is trendy is not cool anymore,” said Rousteing. “You want to buy values and you want to buy timeless [products] and you want to feel that what you get is something that will stay in time.”

Related Articles:

Olivier Rousteing Brings His Maximalism to Couture at Balmain

At Balmain, Does a New Logo Signal New Opportunity?

Balmain’s High-Visibility Mega Mix

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Aug 20, 2021
Unpacking Fashion’s Role in Slowing Global Warming
28:35

The fashion industry is one of the world’s worst polluters, and this week’s grim report from the UN’s IPCC made clear that change needs to come quickly.

 

This week, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a new report from the world’s top climate scientists, warning that global temperatures will rise 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040 and underscoring that human influence is “unequivocally” responsible for global warming since the late 19th century.

The fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be between 4 and 10 percent of the global total. “In the last two years, many of the industry’s biggest brands have taken steps to address emissions within their own supply chains,” says BoF deputy editor Brian Baskin. “It can be hard to tell how effective the industry’s efforts have been and what else needs to be done to address climate change.”

On this week’s BoF Podcast, Baskin is joined by Michael Sadowski, a sustainability advisor and former vice president of sustainability at Nike; Laila Petrie, chief executive of sustainability consultancy 2050, which works with the Fashion Pact; and Hannah Phang, head of marketing and advocacy at sustainability consultancy Futerra to unpack fashion’s role in slowing global warming.

  • Real action on emissions will require collaboration across the industry and cooperation with investors, financial institutions and policymakers. “Fundamentally, this is a problem which no individual company can solve on its own,” says Petrie. “We have all sorts of intractable issues around infrastructure, around incentives, around policy and no one actor can really operate within that system without being affected by it.”

  • The industry often offers carbon offsets as a climate change solution. But according to Sadowski, planting a tree or donating a dollar is not a path to achieving meaningful change. “The focus should be on reducing emissions. That’s what the science says, that’s what the NGOs work in the science-based target initiatives [say] — we must decarbonise all sectors, at a much more ambitious pace,” says Sadowski.

  • A brand’s messaging about sustainability is important, too. Providing accessible information on progress — and missteps — goes a long way. Beyond just being honest, “the other thing that consumers are interested in is: how are you helping them be more sustainable? How are you helping them be more climate friendly?” says Phang.

Related Articles:

A Crash Course on The BoF Sustainability Index

The Climate Fix: Addressing Fashion’s Emissions Problem

The Sustainability Regulations That Could Reshape Fashion

 

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Aug 13, 2021
How Retailers Can Use Data to Improve Customer Experience
31:07

Retail futurist Doug Stephens is joined by a panel of experts to tackle the tricky business of collecting, understanding and using data to improve retail.

 

In retail, data can be a powerful tool to help brands understand their customers and how they engage with products. But just as retail itself has changed dramatically over the past few years, so have a retailer’s most important metrics of success — it’s no longer just about sales. As highlighted in the BoF Professional Summit: What’s a Store For?, it’s not sufficient for retailers to solely measure variables related to purchase — such as sales per square foot, or average footfall. But while there is no shortage of data that retailers can capture (and hundreds of ways to do it), not all data is worth paying attention to. Knowing what data is worth paying attention to can be tricky.

“Simply because you can measure something, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should or it doesn’t necessarily make it important,” said Doug Stephens, retail futurist and BoF columnist.

This week on the BoF Podcast, Stephens is joined by Brittany Hicks and Jessica Couch of Fayetteville Road, a consulting firm which helps retailers understand niche markets and women of colour, as well as Alexei Agratchev, co-founder and chief executive of in-store analytics firm RetailNext to discuss how retailers should be using retail data.

  • Retailers have access to an overwhelming amount of information: what percentage of passersby enter a store, how much time those visitors spend inside, what merchandise they interact with and how many times they return to the space, as well as demographic details like age and gender. “The most important thing that stores can do to be great is to constantly invest in tools and processes to listen and respond to their customers,” said Agratchev.

  • Retailers need to be agile and translate the information they gather into actionable strategies for trying out new formats, layouts and sales associate engagement tactics. “It’s not not just a matter of implementing the technology to gather data but potentially using it as a means of experimentation and testing as well,” said Stephens.

  • Couch says retailers also need to dig deeper to understand some of the more complicated attributes about their consumers, like where they come from, what communities they belong to, and what their sentiments are about the brand. “There is a disconnect,” said Couch. “A lot of brands don’t understand how people feel about their products or experience.”

Related Articles:

The BoF Professional Summit: What’s a Store For?

What’s a Store For?

Selfridges’ Andrew Keith on Post-Pandemic Retail

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Aug 06, 2021
Marni's Francesco Risso on Fashion After Isolation
50:32

Marni’s creative director reflects on the changes that must endure post-pandemic and the importance of emotion.

 

In retrospect, Francesco Risso’s January 2020 menswear show for Marni seems prophetic. The collection took inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” which tells a story of plague and societal excess. These themes continue to resonate with the designer after 16 months living with the pandemic.

On this week’s episode of the BoF Podcast, Risso tells BoF’s editor-at-large Tim Blanks why fashion’s habits of over-production and lavish runways are now “redundant” and where he believes the industry should go from here.

  • Risso has always looked back at brand archives for inspiration, but now he sees an opportunity to extend that habit to create more timeless designs. “Every season we take stuff from the old archives… and it’s become Marni’s prerogative, so every collection we have those heirlooms,” says Risso. “I’m very a big fan of trying to be responsible with design in that sense.”

  • Risso reflects on the importance of simplicity. Refocusing on creating connections and celebrating the small things over the past year has been a key focus at Marni. “I think it really forced us to focus on the authenticity of our ideas and also to celebrate them at a certain point… we [celebrated] in a very light and primitive kind of way,” he says.

  • Changes to runway shows during the pandemic must not be overturned, according to Risso, who calls for more permanent change to the industry’s schedule by reducing the number of collections in a year. “I would love that whatever we have learnt right now is not just thrown off,” says Risso.

Related Articles:

The End of the (Fashion) World as We Know It

At Marni, Hybrids of the Past

A New Urgency at Marni

 

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Jul 30, 2021
How to Integrate Immersive Experiences into Physical Stores
25:26

Ssense’s Krishna Nikhil and 2PM’s Web Smith talk strategies for making physical retail exciting at The BoF Professional Summit: What’s a Store For?

 

The role of physical retail has changed drastically over the past few years — particularly amid the pandemic — as customers turned to digital channels and brands sharpened their focus on e-commerce. But, physical stores remain an important touchpoint. During this month’s BoF Professional Summit “What’s a Store For?” Krishna Nikhil, chief merchandising officer & chief marketing officer of Ssense, and Web Smith, founder of 2PM, unpacked the different ways brands are transforming their stores to be more than just a place to conduct transactions. That means thinking about a physical retail space as a means to provide experiences and entertainment that are relevant to their audiences and continue to prioritise service.

“It’s so important to think about how you create something that is meaningful for the customer,” says Nikhil. “For us, that really started with this idea of ‘how do we reinvent how commerce takes place in the store?’”

Nikhil and Web Smith, founder of retail media company 2PM, join BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed for a discussion about making stores a grounds for immersive experiences without diluting their purpose of obtaining customers.

  • Ssense has streamlined the trying-and-buying process to be more efficient by introducing an appointment service so that customers can spend their time in-store engaging with the cultural programming and the “big moments” the retailer orchestrates — like Virgil Abloh’s 2018 “Cutting Room Floor” exhibition, which recreated his studio in the space. “What we are doing is giving both a great experience with product, but also giving time back to that customer… That time back, is about immersion in all the other experiences that we create in the store,” said Nikhil.
  • Pointing to direct-to-consumer start-up Rowing Blazers, which used only about 30 to 40 percent of the space in its flagship for actual merchandise, Smith says product doesn’t need to dominate a store. “What are the associated things: the moments, the history, the accessories that you were merchandising with — the history of the industry itself?” he said. “What are those things that you would associate with the sale of those products?”
  • As the line between media and commerce increasingly intersects, brands need to present a specific vision of their point of view to the audience they want to attract. “Products are almost commoditised at this point: anyone can make anything. What makes a product unique right now is the person that’s selling it and the audience that they’re selling it to,” said Smith.

Related Articles:

Tapping Into the Future of Physical Retail — Download the Case Study

You Can’t Predict the Future of Retail, but You Can Prepare for It

10 Retail Archetypes for the Post-Pandemic Era




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Jul 23, 2021
Photographer Mert Alas’ New Venture
27:07

BoF’s Tim Blanks speaks with one half of the renowned duo Mert and Marcus about finding new creative avenues.

 

Renowned fashion photographer Mert Alas — one half of the renowned duo Mert and Marcus — has spent the last four years immersed in the world of gin. While pandemic pivots to new creative ventures have become commonplace, Alas was looking for a new creative outlet long before the current crisis. In crafting his new aromatic gin — named Seventy One after the number of nights it takes to rest the spirit in oak casks — he found many parallels with fashion’s creative challenges. Just like in fashion, gin making has suffered from a focus on speed over quality. True craft requires patience and time, Alas says.

On this week’s BoF Podcast, Alas speaks with Tim Blanks about finding new creative avenues and resisting the pressure to produce more and more and more stuff.

  • Alas approached his new gin like any other creative project as a “relentless journey for perfection.” He immersed himself in the process, learning about every step, from the drink’s perfume basis to how many days were required to settle the alcohol. “It became this like a domino effect of ideas and in reality, an experience,” he says.

  • As Alas thought about how he wanted to position his new brand, he spent a lot of time reflecting on the “selfish” nature of the fashion industry. During lockdown, he wanted to create “some kind of an artistic give back,” using Instagram to connect with young creative followers and give them feedback.

  • Creatives should hold on to the time they had during the pandemic to focus on their craft, Alas says. “I was very much on a go, go, go [mentality] for the past 30 years… What I realised [during] the pandemic was that we also never stopped... I was doing a lot of quantity, but now I realise I missed craft.”

Related Articles:

Christopher Kane’s Pandemic Pivot

The Art of the Crisis Pivot – and the Brands Getting it Right

How to Pivot Your Skill Set During Covid-19

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Jul 16, 2021
Selfridges’ Andrew Keith on Post-Pandemic Retail
28:09

Andrew Keith, managing director of Selfridges, discusses the future of the British department store at The BoF Professional Summit: What’s a Store For?

The purpose of the store has shifted dramatically in the past few years. But while other department stores struggle to keep up with these changes, Selfridges has established itself as an outlier by doubling down on its physical retail strategy, as highlighted in BoF’s newest Case Study, “Can Selfridges Future-Proof the Department Store?” The British chain has transformed its storefronts into experiential hubs, decked out with pop-ups, restaurants, art installations and even a skateboarding bowl, to try to get as many consumers as possible to spend as much time as possible within store walls.

“What we’re creating within the Selfridges stores is a destination,” said Andrew Keith, managing director of Selfridges.”It’s about being able to create a space people want to go to for the day.”

On this week’s BoF Podcast, Keith joins BoF’s Imran Amed at Selfridges’ Oxford Street flagship during The BoF Professional Summit “What’s a Store For?” The two chat about how the pandemic has affected the retailer’s face-to-face focus, how the company — rumoured to be in discussions about a £4 billion ($5.6 billion) sale to an unknown buyer — is shoring up its e-commerce channels and what he sees for the fused future of digital and physical retail.

  • The pandemic decimated London tourism, which made Selfridges think more locally about its retail strategy, and in turn, built market share with domestic customers. From Birmingham to Manchester, Selfridges works with local creatives to make every store distinct in a way that engages with the particular place’s needs and aesthetics. “Each of these communities has its own diversity, it has its own entrepreneurial environment around it,” said Keith. “It’s important for us to be able to reflect that.”
  • The retailer may be investing in digital, but it is maintaining its focus on the curated and experiential aspects of its offering across channels, because that’s what Keith says will set Selfridges apart from the seemingly endless e-commerce options. “Some of the pure-play retailers don’t have the same sort of richness that we can create with the fusion of physical and digital together,” said Keith.
  • As Selfridges continues to evolve its retail model, it’s experimenting with circularity, recycling and repair through initiatives like “Project Earth,” where it set targets for materials and partnership shifts, and “Resellfridges,” its resale and rental service. In doing so, the retailer is making fundamental changes to the metrics it uses for success. “We’re not only changing the way people shop, we’re also changing the way we approach business,” says Keith, adding that the company’s focus will shift to more sustainable metrics like longevity of customer lifecycle, balancing margin opportunities, and changing the way it looks at acquisition.


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Jul 09, 2021
Karen Walker on Shedding Excess and Renewing Purpose
33:53

When the Covid-19 crisis struck, Karen Walker — known for her offbeat designs that have been worn by the likes of Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama, and carried by retailers such as Barneys and Harvey Nichols — found that she was propelled to shift the way she thought about her business, her mission as a designer and her community. Walker’s home country, New Zealand, battled the Covid-19 pandemic with a swift hand — its citizens saw only five weeks of lockdowns before the virus disappeared from within its borders. Despite the relative brevity of the country’s lockdowns, business owners and brands were still faced with the same existential crises and questions as the rest of the world. Now that people within the country have returned to something close to normal life (just without tourists), Walker notes several shifts in attitude: people want to treat themselves, but they also want to support the nation and local businesses that supported them. More generally, consumers have come out of lockdown more interested in buying products aligned with what they stand for.

On this week’s BoF Podcast, Walker joins Tim Blanks in a conversation about dealing with change, defining desire and life on the other side of the Covid crisis.

  • When New Zealand’s prime minister announced the country would go into lockdown in March, Walker had just finalised the next year’s budget. Instead of being able to sit back and do business as usual, she was forced to rethink everything and ask existential questions about her business that would go on to have a lasting impact. “If this goes on for six months or a year, and I really have to fight for this, what am I fighting for? What will my audience miss? What’s at stake? Why should I go into battle for this?” she said.
  • After going through what Walker calls nature’s “forced contemplation,” she stopped thinking of herself as primarily a designer, but rather, a retailer who serves the needs of her community. As part of that mindset shift, Walker abandoned the traditional fashion calendar, for one, because she realised it was more in her customer’s interest to do so. Even though she sees the change as good, it was still unsettling. “Change is uncomfortable, alright, even if you know you have to do it — it’s still an uncomfortable place.” Walker said.
  • Walker has observed transformations in what consumers think about and look for when shopping. First, they want to know what retailers stand for and how it aligns with what they care about. Second, they want products that are both beautiful and functional. “They want it to be a good product, not necessarily a new product. That speaks to how it’s made, how it’s designed, how it functions, the cost of its making — the unseen costs on people and planet,” said Walker. “Those are very much in people’s minds, and that’s what motivates me too. I’m not interested in just making more and more stuff.”

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The Year That Changed the World

Vanessa Kingori on the Reinvention of British Vogue



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Jul 02, 2021
Vanessa Kingori on the Reinvention of British Vogue
30:07

British Vogue’s editorial transformation over the past four years has been widely documented, but changes on the business side are equally noteworthy. Vanessa Kingori, British Vogue’s first female publisher (who works alongside editor-in-chief Edward Enninful), has taken more of a consultative role with advertising clients, focusing on the health of their brands, not just reach and impressions. Today, brands are more interested in how they can create human connections and innovate through Vogue’s channels, rather than just buying space on the printed page.

On the latest edition of The BoF Podcast, Kingori talks with BoF’s Imran Amed about the publication’s new business strategy, and how it ties in with the magazine’s focus on diversity, inclusion and sustainability.

  • Cover launches still matter, but Kingori and Enninful are focusing on reflecting the multifaceted lives of their readers. With that, has come a change in how the magazine highlights and thinks about women. “The big shift here is [Edward] is taking the magazine from being about these beautiful dresses, to being about the woman in the dress,” said Kingori. “She wants beautiful things, but she also has a lifestyle. She has a career. She has other aspirations, she wants to accessorise a dress.”

  • Though everyone seems to be ringing the alarm bells, according to Kingori, print is not dead. “There is no digital marketing that you could do that would be more effective. Our print magazine is our biggest marketing tool, and our social media platforms are our biggest agents,” she said.

  • The title hasn’t shied away from making brands feel uncomfortable by bringing up societal issues, and it’s actually been of commercial benefit to British Vogue. “The reality is, we have increased our sales revenue and our digital audience in every single way, in every single metric since we started. Audiences are ready for those difficult conversations,” said Kingori.

Related Articles:

Vanessa Kingori’s Commercial Reboot of British Vogue

Meghan Markle’s Vogue: When Activism Is More Fashionable Than Fashion

What Anna Wintour’s Big Promotion Means for Condé Nast

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Jun 25, 2021
Aspesi’s Lawrence Steele on Making the Most of this Fashion Moment
41:36

The Milan-based, American designer speaks with Tim Blanks about how he plans to introducing the cult brand’s enduring values to a new global audience.

When Lawrence Steele was named creative director at Aspesi in November, it was a home-coming of sorts. The American designer consulted for the Milan-based label for 13 years before departing in March 2017 to join Marni as associate creative director. Now, he’s been tasked with introducing the cult label founded in 1969 by Alberto Aspesi to a new global audience, while remaining true to its distinctive identity and ethos which Steele says are suited for this moment of reflection and reset.

On this week’s episode of The BoF Podcast, Lawrence Steele speaks with editor-at-large Tim Blanks as he debuts his first collection for Aspesi:

  • Steele is looking to technology to help Aspesi get big international traction, while retaining its niche insider vibe. The brand debuted on WeChat and Weibo in April, and expects to launch on Tmall in September. “I think today with the world, how it’s opened up so vastly through technology, there’s something quaint about [Aspesi] being a small brand, but there’s something very exciting about taking the values of the brand out into the world.”

  • When it comes to fashion, retaining an authentic brand identity can’t mean standing still; it’s a constant balance to honour traditions and remain relevant. “It’s very easy if you step back and you think about the long run to see what lasts and to gauge what’s happening,” said Steele. “But you have to have the culture of being able to look at it from above and not being caught up in the world of what fashion really is, which is change, because fashion by nature is change, it’s the fashion of the moment.”

  • Steele sees the pandemic as an opportunity to reset the fashion industry and do away with wasteful season cycles and excessive production. “My hope is that what we draw from this is that we have found other creative ways of communicating, of reaching each other, of creating through the technology that was around us all along.”

Related Articles:

Lawrence Steele, Master of the Long Run

In Milan, a Return to Tradition

#BoFLIVE: Engaging the Gen-Z Shopper

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Jun 18, 2021
Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli and Craig Green on Creative Collaboration
38:24

The Valentino creative director and London menswear designer discuss their process reimagining the Roman brand’s signature rockstud.

The Valentino rockstud has become a brand icon. To mark its tenth anniversary, creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli teamed up with British menswear designer Craig Green to create a sneaker adorned with the Valentino symbol. It was a collaboration forged over Zoom during the pandemic, with Piccioli based in Rome and Green in East London. On this week’s episode of The BoF Podcast, editor-at-large Tim Blanks speaks with Piccioli and Green about creative collaboration and reimagining design icons.

  • When collaborating, designers’ differences can often offer the best source of creative inspiration, says Green. “A collaboration works best when it’s from two separate worlds coming together and seeing what can be born out of that.”

  • Shifting meaning while upholding tradition has been Piccioli’s mantra.  The new sneaker aims to honour Valentino’s heritage and traditions, but also find the power in reinterpreting an established symbol. “I want to use the same objects, the same signs, but I want to give them a different meaning,” says Piccioli.

  • Above all, collaboration is an education. “I think with every collaboration and with every person that you work with, especially working with someone like Pierpaolo, you learn a lot,” says Green. “You kind of inevitably change in the future what you plan to do.”

Related Articles:

Can Valentino Bring Radicalism to Its Romanticism?

Valentino Delivered the Digital Experience the Industry Has Been Waiting For

The BoF Podcast: Craig Green says, ‘Fashion Can Come From Anywhere’

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Jun 11, 2021
What’s the Role of an Office in a Post-Covid World?
39:07

Jane Clay, strategic director at workplace design consultancy Gensler talks to BoF’s Imran Amed about how offices of the future will play a critical role in creating a sense of culture, community and belonging.

Almost overnight, the pandemic fundamentally altered the way we work, forcing both employers and employees to embrace the idea of working from home. But now, as vaccination rates rise, offices re-open and employee expectations around flexible working models grow, business leaders everywhere are asking the same question: what’s the role of an office in a post-Covid world?

This week on the BoF Podcast, Jane Clay, strategic director at workplace design consultancy Gensler, joins editor-in-chief Imran Amed to discuss why offices are more than just functional workplaces. Office spaces are crucial for young employees to benefit from mentoring and guidance through shadowing their more experienced colleagues. “If you have a lot of people in your organisation who are quite young and may need a lot of mentoring and a lot of looking after, in the sense of their growth and learning, then it might not be such a great idea to not have them around you [in an office],” said Clay.

  • Clay recommends taking a more holistic view, establishing how shared spaces can creating a sense of culture, community and belonging. “Whether you are in fashion, whether you are in art and design, whether you are in fintech, and actually whether you are legal, I think no matter what arena of work you are in the office will be that totem for culture and connection.”

  • As organisation leaders plan to redesign their office, Clay said sustainability must be factored into decision-making from the start. “There is something in the idea of how do we reposition real estate? Why build something new when you can reposition something old?” she said. “There is a relevance in the old that also has a great story when it comes to sustainability.”

  • While Zoom calls have been democratising during the pandemic, the gradual return to the office in a hybrid working model is likely to create challenges. “While we have all been in our own little boxes [on Zoom calls], we have all had the same experience, but as soon as you start to have some in and some out [of offices] we have to be very mindful,” Clay said. “This means communications and behavioural protocols really have to be looked at.”

Related Articles:

How Fashion Brands Are Making Remote Work Permanent

Camilla Lowther on Building a Career as a Fashion Creative

Selling ‘Office’ Clothes to the Work-From-Home Woman

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Jun 04, 2021
Camilla Lowther on Building a Career as a Fashion Creative
44:07

The highly respected talent agent talks to BoF’s Tim Blanks about how young creatives can develop their careers and have meaningful impact.

CLM is one of the most influential management agencies in the industry. But after 35 years representing the likes of Juergen Teller and Tim Walker, last year’s upheaval reminded Camilla Lowther of how she got started: working at a small agency and building new networks. This year, she launched Fire, a creative talent agency focused on the new generation of talent.

This week on The BoF Podcast, Lowther and editor-at-large Tim Blanks discuss opportunities to learn from and with young generations and why being true to yourself is still fundamental to a successful career as a creative.

  • “Believe in what you do. Don’t try and do what you think other people want you to do, because, you know, the truth is really important. Even if it takes longer to get there, if you really believe in it, then other people will believe in it,” says Lowther.

  • Creativity is best served when you’re open to sharing and learning, whatever stage of your career you’re at. “I think the one thing that’s really important for all of us who’ve been in the business for possibly a long time is to impart our knowledge and our narrative to [young people],” says Lowther. “And then then it’s up to them to take what they want to and also to teach us something new.”

  • Lowther reflects on how persistence is an important quality in anyone starting out in their career and how remaining true to your vision is critical. “Don’t try and do what you think other people want,” she says. “Even if it takes longer to get there, if you really believe in it, then other people will believe in it.”

Related Articles:

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May 28, 2021
The End of an Era at Missoni
50:41

Creative director Angela Missoni reflects on life beyond Missoni as she steps down after 24 years in the role.

Angela Missoni is stepping back from her role as creative director of Missoni. While she’ll stay on as president, the company will now be led by chief executive Livio Proli, who was appointed after the brand took on private equity funding from FSI Mid-Market Growth Equity Fund in 2018.

This week on The BoF Podcast, Angela reflects on the family heritage and craftsmanship that still sit at the Italian luxury brand’s core in conversation with editor-at-large Tim Blanks.

  • At its heart, Missoni has been a family business, drawing on the creative flare of three generations. “I think my parents invented a style,” said Missoni. “They invented a new language in fashion and then I think in the past 25 years I was able to expand the lexicon of this language.”

  • The brand’s signature stripes are partly the result of technological limits when Missoni’s parents began creating knitwear; stripes were the only thing the machine they had could knit. “Missoni evolved through the evolution of technology, but the hand was always more relevant,” said Missoni. “People were asking my father if he designed on a computer. No, my father was designing on a little square of white paper.”

  • The brand is well placed to move forward as Missoni steps back, the creative director said. “I will always give my support, [but] I’m confident in leaving the collections in the hands of my team… [Missoni is] perfectly fit to go forward in this moment.”

Related Articles:

Angela Missoni Exits Creative Director Role

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The Missoni Matriarchs

 

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May 21, 2021
What the NFT Gold Rush Means for Fashion
46:16

The market for digital collectibles is booming, but does it present a real opportunity for brands, or is it just a passing fad?

When a shoe collaboration between design studio RTFKT and digital artist Fewocious netted around $3.1 million earlier this year, the fashion world sat up and paid attention. More than 600 pairs sold out in seven minutes. The shoes were issued as non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, unique digital assets authenticated by a digital ledger known as a blockchain. With appetites for unique virtual assets surging, more fashion companies are looking at how they can tap the market; even Rimowa is launching NFTs. But is this a long-term opportunity or just a passing fad?

In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, deputy editor Brian Baskin speaks with Benoit Pagotto, co-founder of RTFKT, Karinna Nobbs, co-CEO of NFT marketplace The Dematerialised, Amber Slooten, co-founder and creative director of digital fashion house The Fabricant and editorial associate M.C. Nanda about ways fashion can tap into the NFT gold rush.

  • Virtual fashion isn’t just about gaming anymore, and that could open up a whole new marketplace for digital skins and on-trend avatars. “Within this new NFT space, people are starting to see the value of digital items,” said Slooten.”You’re able to sort of create that new, endless way of expressing yourself.”

  • The fashion industry has yet to fully tap into the NFT opportunity, and doing so will mean becoming more open to collaborations. “Nobody [is] sharing anything with each other [in fashion] because they’re afraid it’s going to get stolen,” said Slooten.

  • Proponents of NFTs say the recent boom is no flash in the pan, but a mark of a paradigm shift. “This is fundamentally going to change digital ownership, creative structures, the creative economy, how we view money even,” said Nobbs. “This is bigger than the Internet.”

Related Articles:

What the NFT Gold Rush Means for Fashion

NFTs for Fashion: Fad or Opportunity?

Gucci Is Selling $12 (Virtual) Sneakers

 

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May 14, 2021
A Masterclass on Leadership With Simon Sinek
54:01

The inspirational speaker and author speaks with Imran Amed about the opportunity for fashion businesses to reset and refocus after the pandemic is behind us.

The upheavals of the last year laid bare long-standing problems with the way the fashion industry operates, but it’s also created opportunities for change and innovation. Business leaders should reflect, reset and rebuild with a focus on their core values and goals, inspirational speaker and author Simon Sinek tells BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed, on this week’s episode of The BoF Podcast.

  • Sinek has written multiple books on the importance of looking beyond “how” and “what” when making business decisions. “Having a sense of why is very grounding; it’s literally a foundation,” said Sinek. “Every single person has their own unique ‘why’… and the rest of our lives offers opportunities to make decisions to stay in balance with that purpose.”

  • As businesses look to a post-pandemic future, they have an opportunity to use the challenges of the last year to reassess and refocus on the values they started with, which often fall by the wayside as businesses scale. “You know you can tell when an organisation loses its way because it becomes obsessed with output… and they lose [the] sense of their own values and if you’re an employee or customer you can feel it,” Sinek said.

  • Leaders are not the only ones who can drive change. “There is no such thing as unicorns and rainbows everyday [at work,] sometimes it’s hard,” said Sinek. “[But] every single one of us has the capacity to be the leader we wish we had.”

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May 07, 2021
Rethinking Fashion’s Approach to the Plus-Size Market
51:25

Fashion brands are upping marketing rhetoric and imagery to include a wider range of body types, but many companies are still failing to serve the plus-size consumer.

The market for plus-size fashion is worth nearly $30 billion in the US alone. But while brands are upping marketing rhetoric and imagery to include a wider range of body types, many companies are still failing to serve the plus-size consumer.

In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, chief correspondent Lauren Sherman speaks with Marie Denee, creator and editor-in-chief of The Curvy Fashionista, Alexandra Waldman, co-founder and creative director of Universal Standard and BoF’s senior editorial associate Alexandra Mondalek about the right way to do plus-size fashion.

  • Plus-size customers want one thing: choice. But too often they’re left sifting through limited ranges that reflect a narrow view of how they should dress. “Give us the same assortment,” Denee said, adding that brands must unlearn tropes about what the industry can offer plus-size consumers.

  • Lazy marketing that co-opts the language of body positivity without really serving plus-size shoppers is also a problem. “We have to learn to speak to a consumer that has been not just ignored, but belittled… it’s an emotional minefield,” said Waldman. “Body positivity is a personal journey.”

  • Companies need to invest in plus-size ranges too, taking the time and spending the cash to perfect fit, style and branding. “You have got to be led by the change and not the money,” explains Waldman.

Related Articles:

What Fashion Can’t Seem to Get Right About the Plus-Size Market

Unravelling the Plus-Size Problem

How to Make Your Brand Size-Inclusive

 

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May 04, 2021
Shelly Verthime on Alber Elbaz’s Fashion Dreams
46:04

The designer’s teacher turned close collaborator and friend, reflects on how Elbaz communicated his fashion dreams to the world.

 

Ever since the news of Alber Elbaz’s death broke last weekend, the fashion world has been in a collective state of mourning. Many have eulogised and memorialised the designer’s unique ability to make women feel empowered in the clothes designed. But few knew him better than Shelly Verthime, his close friend and collaborator, who first met him as his teacher at the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel.

This week on The BoF Podcast, editor-in-chief Imran Amed and editor-at-large Tim Blanks speak with Verthime and reflect on Elbaz’s influence, recounting the highs and lows of his career defining moments.

  • From the beginning of his career, Verthime said Elbaz created a clear path for the steps he wished to take with the industry. “I knew that there was just something so special about him, it was so clear to me where he is going,” she said. “At the time I was his teacher but very, very soon he became my teacher, and then he became [the industry’s] teacher and mentor and friend.”

  • Throughout his career, Elbaz exercised the power of communication as well as creativity. Elbaz was an “original creator, emotional creator but he was a fantastic communicator,” Verthime said. “He knew what works and what doesn’t work for him.”

  • Elbaz was known for his efforts to empower women, dressing them suit to their needs and build their confidence. His close relationship to his mother facilitated his understanding of women as multifaceted. “What he wanted to do was that his clothes would enhance the personality, where you see the face… it was about the woman who would wear it,” said Verthime. “He wanted assertive women [and] he wanted women to love themselves.”

Related Articles:

Lessons for the Fashion Industry From Alber Elbaz’s Talk at VOICES 2018

Alber Elbaz on Making His Return to Fashion

Inside Alber Elbaz’s Return to Fashion

 

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Apr 30, 2021
Lessons for the Fashion Industry From Alber Elbaz’s Talk at VOICES 2018
25:45

The late designer shared his musings, wisdom and advice for the fashion industry in a talk at BoF VOICES in 2018.

Alber Elbaz, who died aged 59 of Covid-19 over the weekend, was a revered and beloved figure in the fashion industry. The designer, famed for revitalising the fortunes of Lanvin before a dispute with his owner led to his abrupt departure, had just returned to fashion after a five-year hiatus.

He debuted his new venture, AZ Factory, during Paris Couture Week in January. The joint venture with Richemont was designed to reflect a better model for the fashion system, the pressures and strains of which Elbaz knew all too well.

In a heartfelt, funny, thoughtful and poignant address at BoF VOICES in November 2018, Elbaz shared a mix of personal anecdotes, observations and lessons for the fashion industry:

  • Fashion needs to pare back its unfettered production cycle to a level that’s manageable for young designers straining under the “speed of the system,” he said. Elbaz compared the industry’s constant demand for newness to an old recipe that uses too much fat: “Maybe [it’s time] to cut the butter out and make it healthier.”

  • Creative instinct and improvisation are far more valuable than the tech tools that might be available to designers. “Life is full of codes, formulas, databases and algorithms,” said Elbaz. “Overuse of all of those can kill intuition and intuition is the essence of creation. This is the essence of life itself.”

  • There’s more to fashion creation than just empty aspirational content. Long-time muse and client Meryl Streep “said that I never tried to transform her, but I helped her to be a better version of herself,” said Elbaz. “I believe that’s what fashion does best. It’s dreams, but it’s no longer just dreams. It’s also about solutions. It’s also about solving problems with a dream.”

  • Above all, celebrate your audience. “For years, I felt I was hugging people with my clothes,” he said. “I thought that every dress I make would be hugging the woman who is wearing it. Years later, I received all these hugs back from you fashion people.”

Related Articles:

Inside Alber Elbaz’s Return to Fashion

Inside the Mind of Alber Elbaz

Alber Elbaz on Making His Return to Fashion

 

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Apr 27, 2021
In Search of Transparency: Fashion’s Data Problem
19:15

Fashion is a notoriously opaque industry. That’s a big problem when the industry is focusing on reducing its negative environmental and social impact.

One of the biggest challenges facing the fashion industry in its efforts to become more responsible and sustainable is bad data. While companies are under increased pressure to provide more information about working conditions and greenhouse gas emissions, the data they share is limited and often of dubious quality. At the BoF Professional Summit: Closing Fashion’s Sustainability Gap, Linda E. Greer, a global fellow at the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs and a member of BoF’s Sustainability Council, joined BoF London editor Sarah Kent for a discussion on how fashion’s bad data is affecting its sustainability efforts.

  • Companies often lack oversight into their own supply chains, preventing labour conditions and environmental impact from being properly recorded or addressed. Full supply chain transparency is critical for companies to trace and collect data.

  • This opacity also allows companies to avoid accountability for working conditions and the environmental footprint of their sprawling global supply chains. “There is a level at which the lack of transparency is working for these companies, because it allows them to perpetuate the status quo,” said Greer.

  • Stricter regulation would force companies to do more, but in its absence Greer recommends companies start by looking at emissions from their manufacturing base. “If you’re not doing that, you’re just not in the game,” said Greer.

 

Related Articles:

Measuring Fashion’s Sustainability Gap

Scaling Up or Selling Out: How Can Sustainable Labels Credibly Collaborate with Big Brands?

Devising a New Social Contract for Fashion’s Garment Workers

 

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Apr 23, 2021
Devising a New Social Contract for Fashion’s Garment Workers
31:45

Fashion has routinely failed the millions of people who make its clothes. What should the industry do to create systemic change?

 

Over the past year, the pandemic has laid bare — and worsened — the stark inequality, financial insecurity and poor working conditions endemic to the global garment industry. This has been driven by years of voluntary self-regulation, outsourced labour, and the pursuit of maximum profits by brands and retailers.

At the BoF Professional Summit: Closing Fashion’s Sustainability Gap, BoF London editor Sarah Kent was joined by Ayesha Barenblat, founder and chief executive of Remake; Ritu Sethi, founder-trustee, Craft Revival Trust and editor, Global InCH; and Anannya Bhattacharjee, international coordinator, Asia Floor Wage Alliance, to discuss how the global fashion industry is failing its garment makers, and what needs to change.

  • Many of the challenges facing the garment industry today are systemic. “The business model, whether luxury or mass market, is set to exploit people,” said Barenblat, also noting that it is mostly women of colour “who make our clothes and bring our fashion to life.”

  • Bhattacharjee said brands need to redress the “extreme imbalance of power” with their suppliers by paying the actual cost of production, producing goods in an environmentally sustainable way, and moving away from the industry’s reliance on overproduction and overconsumption. It is also crucial that brands make good on their commitments to support freedom of association in factories, she added.

  • While the global fashion industry benefits from widespread deregulation, mounting consumer engagement is proving a powerful force for increased accountability. “Consumerism is changing, and I think for the first time we actually have the right period where we can change the discourse from the consumer’s point of view,” said Sethi. Indeed, said Bhattacharjee, “this is a time of opportunity and radical change.”

 

Related Articles:

Fashion’s Humanitarian Crisis

Racism and Inequality Are Stitched Into the Garments We Wear

Brands Say They Want to Keep Workers Safe. Not All Are Willing to Pay for It.

 

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Apr 20, 2021
Stella McCartney on the Business of Sustainable Design
26:13

The pioneering designer spoke to BoF’s Imran Amed about continuing to push the envelope for sustainable luxury at the BoF Professional Summit: Closing Fashion’s Sustainability Gap.

British designer Stella McCartney has been an advocate and pioneer for sustainability long before it became an industry buzzword. But she is still developing new ways to work. More recently that’s included experiments with leather-like material made with mycelium — or mushroom root structures — and efforts to use cotton and wool sourced from regenerative farms, which restore the health and biodiversity of the land instead of purely extracting from it.

”It’s very simple but today it seems very radical, and really it could be the future of fashion,” she told BoF editor in chief Imran Amed in a keynote address at the BoF Professional Summit: Closing Fashion’s Sustainability Gap. McCartney also shared the compromises she has to make as a designer to work within the parameters of sustainable materials and low-waste production methods and what it will take for the wider industry to wake up to its imperative to change:

  • Consumer pressure and better regulation will be key for the fashion industry to make changes that are urgently needed. “I don’t think we can rely on our industry to commit to this, as much as we can rely on tomorrow’s customers insisting that this is the only thing they’re going to invest in,” she said. “The only way truly to have significant change in the timeline that we have is for policies to be set into place, for there to be legislation.”

  • When LVMH took a minority stake in her brand in 2019, McCartney took on a role advising the luxury conglomerate’s CEO Bernard Arnault on sustainability. “The reality with Monsieur Arnault is that he would never have invested in a brand like mine if he didn’t think that this was the future,” she said. “I think it gives off a huge message of positivity for the industry.”

  • For the crop of young designers looking to work sustainably, McCartney has some sage advice: value collaboration and mutual learning over competition; “be a fighter” when it comes to securing better incentives for sustainable practices; and always look for new information on how to be better. “You never stop learning when you work sustainably,” she said.

 

Related Articles:

Why LVMH Struck a Deal with Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney Announces UN Charter for Sustainable Fashion

The BoF Podcast: Stella McCartney: ‘Everything Is at Stake’

 

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Apr 16, 2021
The New Model for Building DTC Brands
12:54

A new generation of direct-to-consumer brands like Topicals and Parade are finding success with a powerful community-based approach to marketing.

In a fashion and beauty market packed with look-alike labels, a new generation of digitally native direct-to-consumer brands are adopting a new playbook, pushing bolder messages and aesthetics starting with their key differentiator: community. Skincare brand Topicals and lingerie label Parade have turned celebrating their customers’ skin issues and body shapes that don’t conform to traditional ideals of beauty into a powerful and authentic marketing centrepiece.

In this episode of the BoF Podcast, Topicals’ co-founders Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng and Parade’s co-founder and chief executive Cami Téllez speak with BoF senior editorial associate Alexandra Mondalek on the power of community and the new direct-to-consumer model.

  • The new generation of community-focused DTC brands are abandoning the increasingly standardised marketing playbook that has resulted in a proliferation of identical-looking “blands.” Instead, they’re finding new ways to identify with their customer base.  “We now know that branding is about creatively finding where [the customer] is and centring around reintroducing the customer to self-expression,” Téllez explains.

  • Consumers particularly respond to products that speak to their issues in a way that’s relatable and fun. Digitally native brands have often made the consumer experience “quite sterile and bland and their product experience was lacklustre,” says Topicals’ Olowe. Instead Topicals is  “celebrating the fun of flare ups.”

  • Authenticity is key to building community with the new generation of DTC brands utilising their founders’ stories to speak about their products as customers too. Topicals brings “a different perspective to the way that people experience the beauty community… [and] speaking authentically with our community in a different kind of way,” Teng says.

 

Related Articles:

The New 4 Ps of DTC Marketing

How Not to Be a Boring Direct-to-Consumer Brand

The New Rules of Going DTC

 

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Apr 13, 2021
10 Retail Archetypes for the Post-Pandemic Era
19:25

As retail stores begin to re-open this summer after a year of lockdown, Doug Stephens shares strategies for post-pandemic success from his new book, Resurrecting Retail.

 

Retail’s Darwinian shakeout over the last year has consolidated market power in the hands of dominant e-commerce players. But a brand, even if small, can still be mighty. The key is focus and finding a relevant niche, Doug Stephens said at VOICES 2020, previewing his new book, Resurrecting Retail, out on April 13.”

In the post-pandemic retail era, purpose will be the new positioning,” Stephens said. “What will be your brand’s reason for existing?” he asked.Stephens outlines 10 reasons why retail should exist in 2021 and beyond, from product education to activism.

  • “I see Covid-19 not as a mere accelerator, I see it as a threshold,” said Stephens. “As a unique wormhole in time where society as a whole is being pulled out of the industrial era and across the threshold of the digital age.” Though 2020 was challenging for a lot of retail companies, it has made the big ones like Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com and Walmart even stronger and better prepared to capture more of the global retail economy.

  • Brands must think about purpose: what is the question your brand answers? Companies that succeed in the marketplace do this well. “When we buy Nike products, we’re buying a cultural point of view, and Nike answers a very specific consumer question. The question, of course, is ‘Who inspires me?’” Stephens said.

  • In the post-pandemic world, the media will no longer be just the message. “Every form of media now, that the consumer has exposure to, is no longer simply a call out to go to the store,” Stephens said. “Every form of media must be the store.”

 

Related Articles:

Take a Look Inside The Post-Pandemic Store

The New Rules of Brick-and-Mortar Retail

Tapping Into the Future of Physical Retail

 

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Apr 09, 2021
Rethinking the Fashion Rental Model for the Post-Pandemic Era
18:35

Rent the Runway chief executive Jennifer Hyman shares her strategy for making the fashion rental model work as retail, restaurants and workplaces slowly begin to re-open.

 

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The pandemic was a near-death experience for Rent the Runway, the business that introduced and popularised renting fashion on a wide scale in the United States. As consumers stopped heading to offices and events, chief executive Jennifer Hyman was left wondering: “Will my business still be relevant after Covid?” The executive had to make difficult decisions, fast, laying off and furloughing staff and cutting spending.”

As a leader, that was for sure the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to do,” Hyman told BoF’s Lauren Sherman at VOICES 2020, describing it as “the second founding moment of the company.”

Now, as retail, restaurants and workplaces slowly begin to re-open, the company is betting on a post-pandemic shift in consumer values that couples a desire for more sustainable consumption with a “hedonistic” environment of “worldwide euphoria,” Hyman said.

 

Related Articles:

The Return of Rental

Inside the Closet of the Future

The Pandemic Changed the Way People Live. How Can Fashion Adapt?

 

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Apr 06, 2021
A Crash Course on The BoF Sustainability Index
34:42

BoF’s London editor Sarah Kent and editor-in-chief Imran Amed delve into The BoF Sustainability Index, measuring fashion’s progress towards avoiding catastrophic climate change and achieving broader social imperatives by 2030.

Fashion’s negative impact on people and the planet is in focus like never before. Pressure to change is coming from investors, consumers, regulators and even inside big brands themselves. Companies are responding with high-profile commitments to do better. But are they actually making a difference?

In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, London editor Sarah Kent and editor-in-chief Imran Amed discuss The BoF Sustainability Index, an in-depth analysis of how 15 of fashion’s largest companies measure up on sustainability.

  • The fashion industry has an important role to play in tackling global sustainability challenges, both because of its impact and its influence. “Fashion often flies under the radar,” explains Kent. “[But] it has power to really change people’s views and behaviours and drive a shift that other industries cannot so easily engage in.”

  • Overall, BoF’s analysis found that the big companies’ commitments are outpacing action. “Some [companies] are leading the pack and some are just getting started, but overall things are not changing fast enough.”

  • While the pandemic remains an immediate crisis for the industry, the climate crisis is increasingly in focus ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference due to take place in Glasgow later this year. “I think what is pretty well established now is the direction of travel that is needed,” says Kent. “What we need to start seeing is the strategies that are going to get us there. Where are the investments going to be made?”

 

Related Articles:

Sustainability: What Brands Are Prioritising in 2021

The Waste Opportunity: How Fashion Could Turn Trash to Treasure

Fashion’s Long Road to Transparency

 

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Apr 02, 2021
The Multi-Versal Self and the Rise of Virtual Fashion
20:53
Billions of people across the world call themselves gamers. And as gaming technology improves and increasingly acts as an extension of the real world, it’s becoming a prime market for fashion brands. BoF's Imran Amed talks to Herman Narula, co-founder and CEO of Improbable to learn more.   Gaming is often synonymous with entertainment. But Herman Narula, co-founder and chief executive of Improbable, a London-based gaming company, says that’s a misconception — games dominate all kinds of culture. Footballers perform dances that happened first on Fortnight, and gamer verbiage like “level up” is now used in human resources initiatives.   Now, Narula says, the multiplayer games people play have become part of their social lives. Gaming is no longer just entertainment, but a space for experiences and learning lessons. Further, with the growth of gaming, Narula predicts we will see the rise of the multiversal self: people will no longer have just one identity, but many distinct selves within the various game worlds they occupy.   On the latest edition of the BoF podcast, BoF’s Imran Amed chats with Narula about how the notion multi-versal self is driving the rise of virtual fashion, and how brands can position themselves to thrive in the space.
  • People who start playing games typically don’t ever stop — even as they shift life stages. “The primary reason people remain engaged and keep playing games, especially online and social games, boils down to three key motivations: a desire to be more competent at something, a need to relate to other people, and a desire to self-express,” Narula said.
  • Games are no longer just something people do to pass the time, and that has consequences related to their real-world significance. “Games are something that the majority of gamers are seeking out doing, and avoiding other activities to go and do, and beginning to contest other forms of spending,” Narula said. “That means that they are where culture is going to be born.”
  • The opportunity for fashion is real. “I think [gaming] will become not merely a place for brands to go, but a place in which brands will be born, a place in which first class cultural ideas will emerge and begin to populate other aspects of how our society works,” Narula said. But, he warned customers will be able to see through superficial engagement with gaming, so brands must find a way to  authentically engage in order to not cheapen the experience of their brand in either realm — the real world or the gaming world.

Related Articles:

NFTs for Fashion: Fad or Opportunity?

What the NFT Gold Rush Means for Fashion

Gucci Is Selling $12 (Virtual) Sneakers

 

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Mar 30, 2021
Combatting Anti-Asian Racism in Fashion
53:30

BoF’s Imran Amed talks with Michelle Lee, Susanna Lau and Phillip Lim about the intersectional issues and structural barriers at the core of Anti-Asian hate, and how the fashion professionals can be better allies.

A recent wave of violence directed toward Asian Americans — exacerbated by the hateful dialogue propagated by Donald Trump amid the pandemic — has brought anti-Asian racism to the forefront of global conversation. The issues facing Asian people are unique — for one, the term “Asian” represents a diverse group of people often clumped into a monolith that neglects to recognise nuances in culture and history. And racism against Asians often doesn’t culminate in easily-identifiable signs or symbols, sometimes making it difficult to spot from the outside. But, it’s pervasive, and has real, lived consequences.

On the latest BoF podcast, BoF’s Imran Amed spoke with designer Phillip Lim, Michelle Lee, the editor in chief of Allure and British journalist Susanna Lau about their experiences being Asian in fashion, examining painful stereotypes and learning on how fashion professionals can be better allies.

  • Anti-Asian racism is not new, but Lau believes it has become an unavoidable topic in 2021 because of the visceral nature of the images and videos coming from social media. “Everyone has these stories pertaining back to their past but they were sporadic… because they were sporadic you would bury them, and then they would come up again, but you would bury them again. And then the cycle repeats itself,” Lau said.

  • Often, Chinese people are conflated with the growing superpower that is the country of China, ignoring the fact that many Asians live below the poverty line and often face racial bias. “When it comes to public sentiment, I think it boils down to whether or not the mainstream thinks that there is a group that is oppressed,” Lee said. “Ultimately, unfortunately for Asians because of the ‘model minority’ myth, people don’t think that we’re oppressed, and they think that racism against Asians doesn’t exist.”

  • Lim acknowledged that while brands are no longer silent, they need to be thoughtful in speaking out, looking for talent and trying to foster change. “Lend us your microphone, lend us your platform, but don’t speak for us. Let us speak for ourselves,” Lim said.

External clips courtesy of BBC News, Al Jazeera English and NBC News.

 

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Mar 26, 2021
Sterling Ruby on His Boundary-Bending Work in Art and Fashion
55:42
In the latest edition of the BoF podcast, Tim Blanks talks with the artist, designer and first American in over a decade to present at Paris haute couture week.   Even though he’s worked with Raf Simons at Calvin Klein and runs his own brand, SR. STUDIO. LA. CA., Sterling Ruby is perhaps still known primarily for his art: multidisciplinary work that often deals in dripping urethane sculptures, illusory canvases, and handmade ceramics. But on the heels of his Paris haute couture presentation in February over zoom, Ruby is becoming a force in the industry. So much so, that editor at large Tim Blanks asks him whether he would like to become a certifiable “fashion tycoon” in the near future.On the latest edition of the BoF podcast, Blanks sits down with Ruby to talk about fashion, Ruby’s future, and the blurred boundaries between his art and his clothes.
  • Ruby’s work is distinctly American, drawing on the nation’s history of puritanism and violence, wickedness and hope. That was present in his work with Raf Simons at Calvin Klein, and still reverberates through it today. “I always walked away feeling like I’d seen an echo of Stephen king or something. It was a very particular view of America,” Blanks said.
  • When asked to present at Paris haute couture week, Ruby and his team were skeptical about how they fit into the implied status, standards, and rules of couture. “We decided to kind of think about couture as our version of something made by hand.” Ruby said. “Maybe it was unique, maybe it was something that was strictly made in the studio, and that’s how it kind of came about. We justified it by kind of thinking that this is our version of couture.”
  • Ruby’s interest in fashion traces back to his youth in the conservative town of New Freedom, Pennsylvania, where dressing became a form of both rebellion and therapy.“I was very obsessed with clothes when I was thirteen, and the kind of power of clothes, and interrogation you would get because you were wearing something very particular in an environment where you weren’t supposed to, and I love that,” Ruby said. “I just didn’t realise that’s probably what the heart of fashion is.”

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Mar 23, 2021
The Year That Changed the World
31:04

A year after coronavirus lockdowns swept the world, BoF’s Imran Amed looks back at a period of sweeping change in conversation with leading voices from inside and outside fashion.

Last March, when the Covid-19 virus that had already swept across China was officially declared a global pandemic, few grasped the extent to which the fashion industry stood on the precipice of a paradigm-shifting year, but everyone seemed to understand that this was an opportunity for great change. Amid lockdowns and social distancing measures, stores were forced to close, sales plummeted, and shocks were felt across the supply chain as garment factories were shut down around the world. Across societies, stark economic inequalities were laid bare and exacerbated by the crisis. Millions of people across all industries and professions lost their jobs; millions more lost their lives.

From virtual fashion weeks to the booms in e-commerce and sweatpants, the fashion industry learned how to adapt to the “new normal” — and fast. Many saw an opportunity to reset a broken fashion system and build a more sustainable, inclusive way of operating. But the last year has also underscored deeper failings within the industry. While the pandemic has underscored broad social inequalities, fashion has had to grapple with its role in perpetuating racism and elitism — from boardrooms to magazine pages and contributing to a looming climate crisis.

In this week’s episode of The BoF Podcast, we reflect on the events of the year gone by, a period of sweeping change, uncertainty and hope in conversations with leading voices from inside and outside the industry.

 

Related Articles:

How Covid-19 Is Catalysing a New Era of Luxury

The State of Fashion 2021: Reality Check

 

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Mar 19, 2021
Somali Supermodel Iman on the Struggle for Representation in Fashion
53:05

The Black model and entrepreneur speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about paving the way for a more inclusive fashion industry — and the work that remains to be done.

 

Iman stands out as a trailblazer in the fashion industry. She was one of the first Black models to star on the catwalk and followed her modelling career with a successful cosmetics business designed for women of colour. While she helped pave the way for more representation, she also experienced first hand the racism and discrimination that persists within the industry today.

In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, Iman speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about her experiences and the work that still needs to be done to address the problem.

  • The supermodel credits her mother’s empowering vision of self-worth for enabling her to navigate a tricky industry. “[Self-worth] is what [my mother] heavily instilled in me to be able to walk away from anything that doesn’t serve you well regardless [of] how enticing it is,” she said. “Whether it’s a man or work or whatever it is … I would always make the right decision for myself if I had a sense of self-worth.”

  • Iman has achieved stellar success and helped pave the way for greater representation throughout the industry, but throughout her career, she’s had to work harder than her peers to secure her place. “Most of the time makeup artists had no clue how to do our makeup,” says Iman. “Forget about hair, that is why most of the pictures you will see [Black women’s] hair is just pulled back because [stylists] didn’t know what to do with it.”

  • Iman remains actively involved in efforts to tackle racism in the industry through The Black Girls Coalition, a pressure group she co-founded with close friend Bethann Hardison to highlight the lack of representation in the fashion industry. “It’s a learning experience because you just have to manoeuvre and find your place in this system [as a Black woman and model.]”

 

Related Articles:

Secrets of the Supermodel Trade

The BoF Podcast: Tackling Systemic Racism in the Fashion Industry

Op-Ed | Racial Diversity on the Runway

 

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Mar 16, 2021
The Business of the British Monarchy: What Happens Now?
29:39

On Sunday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — also known as Harry and Meghan — rocked the world when they revealed intimate details about their experiences in the British royal family and their decision to step back as ‘senior members’ in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. What they revealed in the interview has left not just the UK and the Commonwealth reeling, but challenged the entire world’s perception of the monarchy. BoF’s Imran Amed sat down with Elizabeth Holmes, a New York Times bestselling author, notable ‘royal watcher’ and style expert to contextualise the conversation with Winfrey and what it means for the future of royal fashion.

”When Princess Diana left the Royal Family, she made it very clear she did not need fashion in the same way, because she was able to use her own voice… And I think Meghan — now in her move to California — definitely doesn’t need it either,” Holmes said. “She will still continue to use it and promote brands that she believes in and has connections to, but when you can use your voice, you’re not relying on your fashion to talk for you.”

 

Related Articles:

Have We Reached Peak Royalty?

Monetising Meghan Markle

Could Meghan Markle Cash In on Her Powerful Influencer Status?

 

External clips courtesy of Today, India Today, Sky News Australia, CPAC, Good Morning Britain, Harpo Productions/CBS, and CTV News.

 

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Mar 12, 2021
Norma Kamali on Rebelliousness, Creativity and How She Made a Lasting Business
1:00:19

After the release of her new book, I Am Invincible, designer Norma Kamali sat down with BoF’s chief correspondent Lauren Sherman to talk about the inception of her brand, its evolving purpose and plan, creativity and ageing.

Norma Kamali has always been a conversation starter. Her timeless sleeping bag coats were favourites of Studio 54 bodyguards (as well as aspiring partygoers looking to gain their favour), and now serve as a comforting hug around the shoulders of chilly outdoor diners across the US. She also speaks out regularly on the noxiousness of the fashion system — particularly when it comes to the objectification and policing of women’s bodies.

In the latest episode of the BoF podcast, Kamali takes us back to a time when she hated fashion for its pinned-up restrictiveness, and how London’s rebelliousness rejuvenated her. The designer also unpacks the barriers she had to overcome when creating a fashion line with endurance.

  • Kamali sees her mission as much wider than just designing women’s clothes. In her new book, I Am Invincible, she writes about her overarching goal of understanding life and love, and giving women a map of how to age with power. “I put everything into it because I also know my purpose is to service women, and I knew that the day I recognised I found my dream job,” Kamali said.

  • Throughout her career, Kamali prioritised her independence and being able to “have a creative life,” which informed how she grew her business — notably, she was selective when it came to partnerships and expansion. “It wasn’t easy,” she said. “There were a lot of very scary crying on my pillow nights of trying to figure out ‘How do I make this work without having people who are working for me feel nervous or anxious?’ And I found ways.”

  • Still, Kamali was open to unexpected collaborations. In 2008, she released a line with Walmart that allowed both partners to tap into new markets and grow their customer bases. For Kamali, the partnership changed the way she thought about her business’s future. “I realised the power of e-commerce, and that’s when I transformed my company totally into an e-commerce company … and I will tell you, this year I’m so happy I made that decision back then because that’s how you make it through a year like we just had.”

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Mar 09, 2021
Unraveling Kering’s Investment in Vestiaire Collective
33:21

Vestiaire Collective’s chief executive Max Bittner opens up about the resale platform’s big deal with the French luxury group.

 

This week, a new €178 million round of financing put Vestiaire Collective’s valuation above $1 billion and gave it a high-profile new partner in the form of Kering, one of the world’s leading luxury groups. Having acquired a 5 percent stake in the Paris-based resale company, Kering joined investors like Condé Nast, French private equity firm Eurazeo and tech-focused investment firm Tiger Global Management.

Though resale has become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to the growth of platforms like Vestiaire Collective, luxury brands have been reticent to get involved. Kering’s investment marks a notable shift in attitude.

In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, Vestiaire Collectives’s chief executive, Max Bittner, sits down with BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed, to explain why Kering invested in the company and what that investment means for the company’s future, and why he believes the resale market is an exciting and fast-expanding sector.

”This is not a short term trend,” said Bittner. “This is something consumers are looking for. This is something especially young consumers are expecting from the brands they want to endorse. So, I think both us and the brands are realising consumers expect us.”

Related Articles:

Why Kering Invested in Vestiaire Collective

Should Luxury Build Resale Into Its Business Model?

The Resale Gold Rush Rolls On

 

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Mar 05, 2021
José Neves Unpacks the Farfetch-Alibaba-Richemont Partnership
22:14

The Farfetch founder and chief executive and Alibaba Group president J. Michael Evans discuss the industry-changing deal designed to dominate luxury e-commerce.

 

Alibaba Group president J. Michael Evans and Farfetch founder José Neves take BoF’s editor-in-chief Imran Amed behind-the-scenes of the industry-changing joint venture between Alibaba, Farfetch and Richemont at VOICES 2020, BoF’s annual gathering for big thinkers.

The biggest appeal for all three parties? A shared vision of the importance of technology and omnichannel retail.

”We think as tech businesses, we’re not retailers,” Neves said. “We’re at the service of the best brands, the best retailers and we’re here to enable the industry… and this is open to everyone.”

 

Related Articles:

What the Farfetch-Alibaba-Richemont Mega-Deal Means for Luxury E-Commerce

Duelling Visions for Online Luxury in Mytheresa and Farfetch’s Latest Results

Farfetch and Alibaba Open Up About Their Mega-Deal with Richemont

 

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Mar 02, 2021
Three Designers In Search of Digital Beauty
38:40

This week on The BoF Podcast, editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks with Saul Nash, Stephen Jones and Roksanda Ilinčić about how to tell compelling fashion stories amid the pandemic.

Another season of mostly virtual fashion weeks have helped fashion films to become an increasingly popular tool for designers to create an elaborate narrative out of their collections off the catwalk. These new, online-first presentations have forced designers to think creatively and push storytelling further in order to emotionally connect with audiences.

But as with any emerging phenomenon, there’s still much to learn. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, designers Saul Nash, Stephen Jones and Roksanda Ilinčić, and BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks, delve into the dynamics of digital comunication and how to stand out with a meaningful story.

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Related Articles: London’s Creativity Lights Up Dark Times Stephen Jones Says the Constant Quest for Perfection Often Kills Spontaneity Roksanda and Richard Quinn Bring Art to Their Fashion



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Feb 26, 2021
How Virgil Abloh Is Lifting Up Fashion’s Next Generation of Creatives
58:46

The designer speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about his latest collection, making change and the importance of elevating the next generation of fashion creatives.

 

When Virgil Abloh first broke into fashion he remembers feeling like a tourist. The designer began his career in architecture and says he struggled to find his place in an industry of insiders. But after three years at the helm of Louis Vuitton’s menswear division, the Off-White founder is now very much part of the establishment. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, Abloh speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about his hopes of paving the way to a more democratic and inclusive industry for the younger generation and why he’s launched a TV station.

The designer is increasingly focused on lifting up the next generation of young designers, conscious of his responsibility to open up the industry. Last year, he raised $1 million to launch the “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund for Black students.

 

Related Articles:

Virgil Abloh: ‘You Have to Choose Your Message Wisely’

What’s Off-White Without Virgil?

Virgil Abloh: ‘I Am Not a Designer’

 

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Feb 23, 2021
The Future of New York Fashion Week
31:19

This week on The BoF Podcast, designer Jason Wu and BoF’s senior correspondent Chantal Fernandez examine the evolving purpose of runway shows and what New York Fashion Week might look like after the pandemic.

Fashion Week looks very different this season, with most designers choosing to present their collections through digital lookbooks and short films instead of traditional runway shows. But even after the pandemic subsides, New York Fashion Week isn’t likely to revert to its prior form. As BoF senior correspondent Chantal Fernandez reported in a BoF Professional article last week, the “unbundling” of New York Fashion Week has been happening for years.

”What worked 10, 15 years ago, doesn’t work today,” designer Jason Wu told BoF’s Imran Amed on this week’s podcast. “The backbone of American fashion has always been about diversifying and being less traditional in its approach in what luxury and what fashion looks like.”

”Fashion week has become something of a different creature, but that happened long before the pandemic,” he added. “I feel like it’s my job to keep part of it alive, even though it’s forever changing.”

 

External clip courtesy of Fashion By Look - Eleanor Lambert: Defining Decades of Fashion

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Related Articles:

The Unbundling of New York Fashion Week

What Is New York Fashion Week Without Its Billion-Dollar Brands?

How Independent Fashion Brands Are Navigating the Crisis

 

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Feb 19, 2021
How Independent Fashion Brands Are Navigating the Crisis
24:46

BoF’s Imran Amed discusses transparency, cooperation and disruption with Dries Van Noten, Anya Hindmarch and Stefano Martinetto, leaders of two early pandemic initiatives — The Forum and Rewiring Fashion — to share thinking on the role of independent fashion brands and retailers amidst the biggest crisis in the history of the modern fashion industry.

The fashion industry has long been operating in a cyclically inefficient and anti-creative way. Issues like waste, early discounts, power imbalances and a suboptimal, wholesale-controlled calendar hurt brands at every level, as well as consumers.

But when the Covid-19 pandemic prompted lockdowns around the world in early 2020, the industry was put on pause. In response, two initiatives, Forum and the BoF-facilitated Rewiring Fashion, emerged to make this period one of retrospection and discussion in hopes of bringing about systematic change.

In the latest episode of Inside Fashion, which features a conversation from VOICES 2020, BoF’s Imran Amed sits down with Van Noten, as well as Anya Hindmarch and Stefano Martinetto, co-founder and chief executive of Tomorrow London to discuss the lessons the industry has learned during the pandemic and how that new perspective will shape its future.

  • Candour has never been one of the industry’s priorities or strengths, which has hampered progress in the past. Hindmarch emphasises that there is a power to coming together. “You solve problems by not just thinking about yourself but collaborating as an industry,” she said.

  • Thanks to the rise of e-commerce and the convenience economy, storytelling is more important than ever for luxury brands. “Just showing clothes and that’s it, forget it. That’s not going to work anymore… I think we have to offer different things,” said Van Noten. “We have to tell a story to show why the clothes are more expensive than high street labels, you have to give the whole package of support to people who come to the store.”

  • Wholesale retail is changing — hopefully, to allow more space for creativity and development of strong products. Hindmarch thinks that wholesalers still have an important, localised role that helps designers connect with their buyers in a personal way. Martinetto believes shifts are for the better. He said: “The notion that wholesale is dying is most appropriately defined as ‘bad wholesale is dying.’”

Related Articles:

Dries Van Noten’s ‘Forum’ and ‘Rewiring Fashion’ Join Forces to Rebuild the Fashion System

DTC vs Wholesale: Striking the Right Balance

The BoF Podcast: Dries Van Noten on Making Retail Meaningful in the Pandemic

 

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Feb 16, 2021
Racism and Inequality Are Stitched Into the Garments We Wear
31:43

This week, Doug Stephens speaks with Kalkidan Legesse and Robert Hoppenheim about the imperative for fashion to take responsibility for the people it impacts.

 

The pandemic’s economic impact is radically changing the retail landscape, but for fashion, the fallout is not just financial. The crisis has amplified anger over racial injustice and financial inequality among consumers and employees, redoubling pressure on brands to adjust their operations to serve both shareholders and the greater good. Increasingly, companies must respond to demands for change from outside the boardroom.

In this week’s podcast, retail columnist Doug Stephens discusses how the fashion industry must address the systemic inequality and racism buried in its supply chain with the co-founder of UK-based ethical brand and retailer Sancho’s, Kalkidan Legesse, and the founder of brand strategy and communications advisory Kindustry, Robert Hoppenheim.

 

External clips courtesy of BBC, NBC Latino,  and CGTN. 

 

Related Articles:

Retailers Pledged Action on Diversity. Delivery Is Proving More Elusive.

Op-Ed | Fashion Brands Must Treat Garment Workers as Employees

The BoF Podcast: Rashad Robinson on Addressing Racial Inequality in Fashion

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Feb 12, 2021
Kim Jones on the Making of Air Dior
17:22

The artistic director of Dior Men who is now also leading the women's collections at Fendi, speaks with BoF’s Imran Amed about the enduring power of youth and desire and the making of the Air Dior shoe.

Designer Kim Jones went from being a teenager with joint custody over one pair of on-sale Jordan 5s with three friends to creating one of the most sought after shoes in the world by bringing together three iconic brands: Nike, Jordan and Dior. To create the Dior X Air Jordan, which dropped mid-pandemic in June of 2020, he took the Jordan 1 silhouette, applied Dior’s leather and Italian techniques and infused it all with Michael Jordan’s personal cool-guy style.The much-hyped, $2,200 shoe sold out in minutes after being released online. Soon after, the shoes were spotted being resold for as much as $12,000 on StockX.In this conversation from VOICES 2020, Jones covers everything from ethical consumption to the enduring power of youth and desire.  

  • Young people influence the way Jones thinks about his designs. He invites his god children and children of friends over to watch them dissect his wardrobe, listening carefully to what they have to say. “Young people are learning they want to buy less, and things that last longer,” Jones said.
  • Buying vintage, handing things down through generations, and luxury all tie together for Jones. “The thing about luxury that I like is it’s clothes that are built to last and there’s not that many made of things,” he said. “I care about the world a lot so it’s something I do consider that there’s not much waste. We don’t have tons of stuff left over.”
  • The streetwear-meets-luxury space has exploded in the last few years. Jones sees it as a mix of comfort and easiness that fit in with modern daily life. His go-to is tailored pants and jackets with knitwear or a jersey piece. “When you’re working quite often, when it’s with your hands it’s easy,” he said.
  • He advises aspiring designers and other young creatives to think less about status and more about fulfilment. “Never think about the money, think about doing the job. Work hard,” he said. “Don’t think about social media, think about the actual reality. Just get on with it, and ask questions. I ask questions all the time and that’s why I’ve learned so much.”

     

Related Articles:

LVMH Is Trusting Kim Jones to Define Fendi’s Post-Karl Look Dior’s Air Jordans and the Return of Pre-Pandemic Hype Will Luxury Streetwear Get Millennials Into Department Stores

 

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Feb 09, 2021
Dissecting the Rise, Fall and Future of Topshop
28:38

A new era for Topshop is about to begin. On Monday, digital fashion retailer Asos purchased the high-street label, along with sister brands Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, for £295 million ($403 million). The deal ended months of speculation about Topshop’s future after parent Arcadia Group fell into administration last November, as BoF senior editorial associate Tamison O’Connor reported in a BoF Professional article breaking down why Asos needs Topshop.

“It’s been very sad for me to see them go through what they’ve been through in the last few months,” retail veteran and former Topshop brand director Jane Shepherdson told BoF editor-in-chief Imran Amed on this week’s podcast.

Shepherdson discusses her time at Topshop when it was at the height of its success, the internal and external forces that caused the brand’s demise, before O’Connor weighs in on what the future might hold for the brand under Asos’ ownership.

  • Topshop’s decline was a long-time coming, Shepherdson said, reflecting on her time at the brand. She joined Arcadia as a young graduate and worked her way up the ranks as a buyer, spearheading Topshop’s transformation into a fashion destination. But she left the company in 2006 as Philip Green, who bought Arcadia Group in 2002, became more involved in the business. “He was an asset stripper, more than anything else. He bought businesses, and then sold them again,” she said. “My philosophy was that you would make sure that you designed and bought something that was so amazing that no one would be able to resist it.”

 

  • Asos’ ambition to capitalise on the newly acquired Arcadia brands and customer databases will depend on establishing a strong and independent identities for Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT on the Asos platform, O’Connor said.

 

  • O’Connor goes on to explain how the British high street’s transformation into a largely online market has been accelerated by the pandemic, having brought long-struggling British retailers like Debenhams and Arcadia Group to their knees.

     

 

Related Articles:

Why Asos Needs Topshop

Why Digital Fashion Companies Are Buying Up Tired Brands

The Rise and Fall of Topshop: What Went Wrong

   

 

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Feb 05, 2021
How Fashion Can Leverage the Audio Appeal of Clubhouse
21:19

At VOICES 2020. Paul Davison and Virgil Abloh discussed the audio-only social network’s potential impact in the fashion industry with BoF’s Imran Amed.

While the influence of Clubhouse has been growing in the power corridors of Silicon Valley for almost one year, the audio-only social network officially hit the mainstream this month, having grown to more than 2 million users and closed a funding round valuing the business at $1.4 billion. Then, on Monday, none other than Elon Musk made a surprise appearance on Clubhouse, driving global news coverage of his impromptu conversation with Robinhood’s co-founder, Vladimir Tenev, about the remarkable rise in value of Gamestop shares driven by passionate Reddit users.

But what could the rise of Clubhouse mean for fashion? In December, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer Paul Davison made his first public speaking appearance at BoF VOICES alongside Virgil Abloh to discuss the power of creating a space to listen and learn — and how the fashion industry can get involved.

“All the conversations that I’ve hosted or been a part of on Clubhouse related to fashion in a weird way have been more in-depth than interviews or regular-format media,” Abloh said. “It’s an interesting case study making sure brands have something to say when you can’t escape to creating an image.”

 

Related Articles:

LVMH Is Trusting Kim Jones to Define Fendi’s Post-Karl Look Dior’s Air Jordans and the Return of Pre-Pandemic Hype Will Luxury Streetwear Get Millennials Into Department Stores

 

 

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Feb 02, 2021
Alber Elbaz on Making His Return to Fashion
53:59

The celebrated designer talks to BoF’s Imran Amed about fashion’s new digital landscape and the launch of AZ Factory during Haute Couture Week.

The timing of Alber Elbaz’s return to fashion is apt. After a five-year hiatus following his departure from Lanvin in 2015, the designer debuted his new venture AZ Factory this week. The philosophy underpinning the label, a partnership with Richemont, is to tackle fashion’s challenges of excess, irrelevance and exclusivity with technology, focus and innovation.In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, editor-in-chief Imran Amed and Elbaz discuss how the designer fell back in love with fashion why it is necessary to slow the pace of the industry.
  • AZ Factory was born out of Elbaz’s disillusionment with the fashion world. His goal is to bring greater transparency to the design process and a more inclusive feel to customers. His first collection runs from size XS to XXXL. “We always have to remember again and again that this is 2021. How do women live, what do they need, how can I give them what they need?” said Elbaz. “It is taking all this information and processing it and then [giving my] take on it.”
  • The label made a digital debut at Paris couture week with a fashion film. Elbaz said the restrictions created by the pandemic were both a creative challenge and opportunity. “I cannot tell you that it was always easy” Elbaz said. “The night before we air[ed] the film I was still working in editing and looking and changing the music.”
  • One outcome of fashion’s current crisis that the designer is fully onboard with is the move towards a slower pace. Elbaz is increasingly focusing on new and innovative fabrics that require time to fully understand from a design perspective. “I cannot do it every couple of weeks so I know that I will have to keep [it to] two projects [at a time],” said Elbaz.

 

Related Articles:

Inside Alber Elbaz’s Return to Fashion

Couture in the Time of Covid-19: Realism or Fantasy?

The BoF Podcast: Alber Elbaz Is a ‘Zoombie’ Now

   

 

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Jan 29, 2021
Rick Owens on Drawing Inspiration From Imperfection
58:48

The American designer speaks with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about his latest collection, born from ‘anger and darkness,’ and why limitations often make way for creative ingenuity.

 

The location of Rick Owens latest show is a reflection of the ongoing sense of global loss as the death toll from Covid-19 continues to rise. The designer’s new men’s collection was presented at Tempio Votivo, a shrine to the fallen soldiers of the two world wars. The collection, Owens tells BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks, was born out of “anger and darkness,” despite a fresh sense of optimism brought about by Joe Biden’s recent inauguration.In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Owens and Blanks discuss the many references that informed the American designer’s new collection and why imperfection is central to his pursuit of creativity.
  • The show, although full of music and models, was without a live audience, a move that turned the presentation into “personal ritual,” Owens said. “We are doing it for ourselves… Some of the people [I’m working with] have been with me for 18 years. For us to be able to nurture and develop the collection to this point together, we’ve never fully done that before. It’s been this great bonding exercise.”
  • For Owens, lockdown life has not deviated far from his pre-pandemic routine. “I don’t participate or circulate in the world as much as most people do,” he said. But the social restrictions have reminded him that limitations can be central to creative ingenuity. “I like the idea of working within small boundaries,” he told Blanks. “I like the idea of doing the best with what you’ve got.”
  • References for Owens’ work include the Bible, the Rocky Horror Show and S&M, as well as his own imperfections and personal experience of manhood. “My men’s runway shows are always about men’s flaws, and about men’s worst urges because they’re autobiographical,” he said. “When I’m thinking about men, I’m thinking about my own experience. And my own experience is very critical.”
Related Articles: Rick Owens: Control and Abandon Tim Blanks’ Top Fashion Shows of All-Time: Rick Owens Spring/Summer 2014, September 26, 2013 What Fashion Wants From a Biden Presidency       To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.  

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Jan 26, 2021
What Extended Lockdowns and Slow Vaccine Distribution Mean for the Fashion Business
33:54

BoF’s Imran Amed and McKinsey’s Achim Berg discuss what the fashion industry can expect as the world continues to battle Covid-19.

With coronavirus cases surging in most of Europe, extended lockdowns show no immediate sign of easing, while in the US ongoing political and social unrest is set against a backdrop of widespread Covid-19 infections. For fashion, the repercussions will be felt for years to come, but the extent of the impact will largely depend on the handling of such crises over the course of the next year.In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, BoF editor-in-chief Imran Amed and Achim Berg, global leader of McKinsey’s apparel, fashion and luxury group, discuss the key trends laid out in BoF and McKinsey’s joint annual report, The State of Fashion 2021, in light of recent developments.
  • While experts had warned that the winter months would be challenging, super-spreading virus mutations in Brazil, South Africa and the UK have further complicated matters. “It’s fair to say that we expected lockdowns, we expected restrictions, but we didn’t expect them that early, and we didn’t expect them to take that long,” said Berg, adding that these developments might indicate a slower-than-anticipated recovery for fashion.
  • The closing of physical retail and low consumer confidence has hit retailers both with and without e-commerce hard. “Even if online is growing at 50 percent, you cannot compensate for physical retail,” said Berg. But it’s not all bad news. “The moment things normalise, I think people want to have the shopping experience again,” he added.
  • Stores reliant on tourists for a large portion of their sales are reeling from losses as flights stay grounded, but there is also cause for optimism. “It’s a whole new game, but it’s also an opportunity” said Berg. “I would argue that because in some locations it was easy to serve international customers, they didn’t put [enough] emphasis on serving local consumers.”
Related Articles: The State of Fashion 2021 Report: Finding Promise in Perilous Times Tapping Into the Future of Physical Retail Travel Disruption Will Redraw the Fashion Map     Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.   To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.  

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Jan 21, 2021
How An Emergency Nurse Broke into Fashion During the Pandemic
20:23

Oluwole Olosunde, the founder of streetwear and home goods label Against Medical Advice, speaks at BoF VOICES 2020 on lessons from the crisis and the importance of making room for new talent.

 

In the fight to curb the coronavirus pandemic, frontline medical workers emerged as heroes. During VOICES 2020 last December, BoF welcomed one of them, the emergency nurse-turned-fashion designer Oluwole Olosunde, to share his truly unique perspective on what the fashion industry can learn about nurturing young talent.Olosunde is a trauma nurse whose ambitions go far beyond healthcare. Known as Wole to friends and as Guacawole online to his more than 20,000 followers, he spent 2020 juggling treating patients at a New York City emergency ward with launching his streetwear and home goods line, Against Medical Advice.In this week’s BoF podcast, he discusses how his experiences treating patients in a multi-cultural, multi-lingual city have informed his approach to design, and the importance of giving motivated young talent a chance.

 

Related Articles: The Emergency Room Nurse Turning His Fashion Dreams Into a Reality VOICES 2020: Fixing the Fashion System

 

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Jan 19, 2021
Robin Givhan on the US Capitol Siege and Vogue’s Kamala Harris Cover
29:26

Speaking with Imran Amed, the Washington Post’s senior critic-at-large shares her thoughts on the controversially ‘familiar’ image of the vice president-elect, and explains where it sits within the wider political climate of the United States as it is due to enter a new chapter.

When the cover of American Vogue’s February issue leaked on Saturday, January 9, a flurry of controversy ensued. Many took to social media to deride the image of vice president-elect Kamala Harris, lensed by Tyler Mitchell, for its casual styling, unflattering lighting and lack of gravitas. The criticism focused on the argument that the portrait lacked the stately deference they believed such a political figure — not least the first Black, South Asian female vice-president — should command.Among those to share their thoughts was Robin Givhan, The Washington Post’s senior critic-at-large who penned a column on January 11 in which she said “the cover did not give Kamala D. Harris due respect… It was a cover image that, in effect, called Harris by her first name without invitation.” Givhan, who became the first fashion writer to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2006, sat down with Imran Amed in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, to further discuss the cover’s significance and the wider tumultuous landscape of US politics. 

  • Debating Harris’ portrait is about more than just a critique of the technicalities and production value of a fashion glossy. Its release comes at a time of political division and fraught race relations, just days after a violent right-wing mob stormed Washington D.C.’s Capitol building, an event incited by President Trump, who now faces a second impeachment for his involvement in the incident. “The last few years have been an exhausting, emotionally draining time,” said Givhan. “I was very surprised that [the cover] became such an issue. I was really stunned that people were so exercised about it. When you think about it, it’s [like] pain from a thousand papercuts, and this was the 1001st papercut.”
  • The informality of the image chosen for the print cover carries greater historical significance and weight. Vogue and Anna Wintour defended it as an extension of the Biden-Harris campaign’s platform of accessibility, which Givhan described as a “legitimate” point of view. But, she said, “I think that the upset is rooted not so much in the current moment but its history. Throughout history, Black women in particular were not given the kind of respect that white women were. People had this familiarity with Black women that was not about friendship and equality but was condescending. Understanding the complicated nature of that would give one pause in presenting the first female vice president — a Black woman — in that way.”
  • While the alternative digital cover image, which depicts Harris in a more presidential light and formal style, offers some reprieve, this print issue has significance as a cultural souvenir (“you can’t give a screengrab to your grandchildren,” said Givhan), and there is no real opportunity for a do-over. “There’s no way to make people happy,” said Givhan, adding that it’s important to instead listen to criticism and “recognise where things went astray” in allowing this misstep to happen. “You just have to do better the next time, and the time after that and the time after that.”

External clips courtesy of Good Morning America and ABC7 News



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Jan 14, 2021
Big Tech’s Threat to Fashion
23:47
It’s hard to imagine running a successful brand in 2021 without advertising on Instagram, buying search ads on Google or selling on Amazon. At BoF VOICES, H&M’s Christopher Wylie and venture capitalist Roger McNamee talked about why that’s probably not a good thing — and how the industry can reduce its reliance on tech giants.   Before the pandemic, social media and e-commerce giants like Facebook and Amazon were ascendant. The physical isolation caused by the ongoing global health crisis has only consolidated their power. Nevertheless, fashion brands can’t rely on a handful of Silicon Valley firms to run their businesses, venture capitalist Roger McNamee said at BoF’s VOICES.   In an interview with Christopher Wylie, who blew the whistle on Cambridge Analytica’s improper use of Facebook user data during the 2016 election, McNamee outlined how big tech has touched off a “cascading series of catastrophes going from the online world into the real world.” In fashion, Facebook, Amazon and Google have inserted themselves between brands and their customers. Though they offer unparalleled marketing and commerce capabilities, McNamee noted their clients pay a steep price in the long run by ceding control of such crucial elements of their businesses. But all is not lost.   “The fashion industry has a superpower,” he said. “You’re actually connected to culture, so people care what you have to say. You have to recognise as an industry that these guys are changing the rules and you have to fight back.”     Find out more about #BoFVOICES here.   To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.   Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter. Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.   For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

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Jan 12, 2021
Who Will Win De-Globalisation?
26:09

At BoF VOICES, Axios journalist Felix Salmon, economist Dr Dambisa Moyo and Sinovation Ventures chief executive Kai-Fu Lee discussed how fashion can navigate challenging economic times.

The current global outlook of mounting debt levels, contracting global trade and rising nationalism bear more than a passing resemblance to conditions in 1929, at the onset of the Great Depression. But that alarming trajectory is not set in stone, panelists at BoF VOICES, BoF’s annual gathering for big thinkers, said. Dr Dambisa Moyo, an economist and author who drew the comparison, said she was “optimistic in many respects,” and sees technological innovation as one way out of the global economy’s current troubles. That’s not to downplay the challenges. Journalist Felix Salmon described an economic “balkanisation” that was making it more difficult for cross-border business, while noting that China’s rapid rebound from Covid-19 could power global markets.

Related Articles:

Hans Ulrich Obrist: The Antidote to Globalisation VOICES 2020: Finding Opportunity in a Global Crisis

 

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Jan 07, 2021
How Does the World Feel About Covid-19?
19:09

Leading health experts Sarah Jones and Noel Brewer discuss how successfully controlling the pandemic is a question of culture as well as science at BoF VOICES 2020.

 

The development of working Covid-19 vaccines in a matter of months is a remarkable feat of the pandemic. The biggest challenge in successfully bringing them to market may be cultural rather than scientific.Whether populations trust public health officials and accept widespread vaccination programmes will determine how the world emerges from the pandemic, said Noel Brewer, professor of health behaviour at the University of North Carolina in conversation at BoF VOICES.Already substantial differences in cultural norms have had a significant influence on how successfully countries have responded to the health crisis, as Sarah Jones, creator of the corporate mental health programme Mental Health Intelligence, explained. Jones has contributed to the largest open-access study that has been conducted on behaviour related to Covid-19 health.Among its findings: There is no global consensus about the value of social distancing measures. Nordic countries like Denmark and Finland have few people who report always wearing a mask, while other countries report a high percentage of people who say they always wear masks. In Asia, social norms around mask-wearing mean that citizens are more likely to voluntarily wear them, while in Europe, people are less likely to wear a mask unless they are legally obligated to do so. The diverging mask-wearing behaviour has led to lopsided progress in tackling the Covid-19 crisis, and extends to how people feel about taking the vaccine. Brewer said that this is where public health officials and government leaders have a responsibility to encourage their citizens to practice social distancing and receive a vaccination. The goal: To emerge from the crisis together.

 

Find out more about #BoFVOICES here.   To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.   Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter. Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout.   For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

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Jan 05, 2021
How Meditation Can Improve Your Life
26:40

Is mindfulness powerful enough to help stave off illness? Wellness guru Deepak Chopra and entrepreneur Carmen Busquets discuss the benefits the practice can bring to mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing at BoF VOICES.

The world is currently battling three simultaneous crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, the attendant economic downturn, and stress, world-renowned wellness guru Deepak Chopra, during a discussion with investor Carmen Busquets and BoF founder and CEO Imran Amed at BoF VOICES. Meditation is a tonic for all of them, Chopra said, in that it can help promote epigenetic responses, awareness and personal and social enrichment.Those who have never meditated need not be intimidated. “Give 60 seconds to yourself,” Busquets said. “Create that awareness of having that 60 seconds of silence, anybody can do it.”

 

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Dec 21, 2020
Rashad Robinson on Addressing Racial Inequality in Fashion
21:18

This summer’s protests forced fashion to examine its longstanding issues with racial discrimination at every level. At BoF VOICES, Color Of Change president Rashad Robinson laid out how to turn the industry’s new awareness into meaningful action.

In 2020, the fashion industry reckoned with its history — and present — of racial discrimination. Companies promised to address the lack of Black voices on their creative teams and in the C-suite, as well as toxic internal cultures.But visibility is only the first step. Now is the time to “translate caring into action,” Color Of Change president Rashad Robinson said at BoF’s VOICES.The most important change the industry can make, he said, is to stop talking about race in a passive voice. It’s not that Black people are less likely to get hired in the fashion industry — rather, the fashion industry excludes Black people.Inclusivity measures such as mentorship and creating career pipelines for Black employees are inadequate, he went on to say. Too much effort is focused on “fixing” individuals, without addressing the system that created barriers to advancement in the first place.“When we talk about vulnerable communities, we spend our time trying to fix those people,” Robinson said. “When we talk about systems and structures, we spend our time trying to fix those systems and those structures.”

 

Find out more about #BoFVOICES  here.   To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.  

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Dec 17, 2020
A Covid Survivor’s Story
19:37

When Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, editor-in-chief of 10, returned home after a whirlwind month zipping between shows in fashion’s capitals last March, she thought she’d come down with a case of the “fashion month flu.” What came next changed her perspective on both the industry and her life. 

 

Beating Covid-19 was a battle as draining mentally as it was physically, 10 magazine editor Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou told BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks during BoF VOICES 2020. “It’s not just a physical assault on your body, it’s a mental assault as well,” she said. Neophitou-Apostolou contracted the disease and was admitted to hospital just after fashion month in March. She’s still recovering. The experience had made her  reconsider both how she lives her own life (being “COVID-safe,” she said, is her top priority) and the way the fashion industry operates. “It was a big wake-up call… we have to all of us contribute to things to change them.”

 

Find out more about #BoFVOICES  here.   To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.  

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Dec 15, 2020
‘Change Isn’t Good Enough if It’s Just Change for Me’
33:54

Can fashion avoid tokenism and make sincere inclusivity a reality? At BoF VOICES, Sinéad Burke and Samira Nasr talk about how to be an inclusive leader in 2020.

 

After a year when awareness of the need for greater racial, physical and socioeconomic inclusion surged, can the fashion industry learn to avoid tokenism and turn that momentum into enduring change?In a conversation with activist, educator and writer Sinéad Burke at BoF VOICES, Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Samira Nasr spoke about how and why she is working to build an inclusive team in her new role.“The best dinner parties are the ones with more difference. You don’t want to be sitting there with someone with the same ideas,” said Nasr, who was appointed to lead the magazine’s US edition in June.In many parts of the fashion industry, the status quo is only just beginning to shift. “I’m thinking about how to measure and put a process in place so that there’s systemic change,” Burke said. “Change isn’t good enough if it’s just change for me.”

 

Related Articles: VOICES 2020: Fixing the Fashion System

 

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Dec 10, 2020
The Future of Moncler’s ‘Genius’
24:54

At BoF VOICES, Remo Ruffini speaks to Imran Amed about adapting his brand’s programme of designer collaborations to a post-pandemic reality where Chinese customers and online activations are paramount.

 

After global fashion sales fell by 27 percent to 30 percent this year, according to estimates in BoF and McKinsey’s State of Fashion 2021 report (released Wednesday), the industry is bracing for a difficult and (likely incomplete) recovery next year. The important thing is to adapt. “This crisis could be an opportunity,” Moncler chief executive Remo Ruffini said at VOICES last week, predicting the fashion market is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic norms before 2023. “You cannot stay sitting in your chair for two or three years. We need to find new projects and new ways to work.”

With an eye on the rising importance of both digital and China, he’s planning to stage the launch for his next round of “Genius” collaborations in the country this September, with an event mixing physical and online elements. Since 2018, the Italian outerwear label’s “Genius” programme — a series of ultra-hyped, one-off collections from guest designers — has helped the brand reach untapped consumer niches, been a focal point for parties and store activations, and, perhaps most importantly, fuelled visibility on social media.

“The collection will be more customer-centric,” Ruffini said. “We’ll still have people there, but with a different approach.”

Elsewhere, the executive is planning bolder moves. Our conversation took place shortly before Moncler announced it would acquire Stone Island in a transformational move — opening the door to becoming a multi-brand group after nearly two decades of rapid expansion under the banner of a single brand.

 

Related Articles: Moncler Buys Stone Island in Transformative Move VOICES 2020: Fixing the Fashion System Moncler to Stage Genius Show in China in Pandemic Pivot

 

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Dec 08, 2020
How to Master Sleep During the Pandemic
21:33

Good sleeping habits have been linked to higher productivity and better health. At BoF VOICES, Imran Amed discusses the secrets to a good night’s rest with neuroscience Professor Matthew Walker and Oura Founder Harpreet Singh Rai. Thanks to the pandemic, people are spending more time in their pyjamas, but their sleep patterns are worse than ever. Job loss or worry about job loss and general anxiety surrounding staying healthy are among the chief causes for why sleep, on the whole, has become worse both in quality and quantity for so many.With “sleep hygiene” more important than ever, BoF’s CEO and founder Imran Amed spoke with Dr. Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California Berkeley, and Harpreet Singh Rai, CEO of wearable technology company Oura, as part of BoF’s 2020 VOICES conference.Deep sleep is when you refresh your “immune weaponry in your health arsenal,” Walker said. And better sleep has also been linked to making individuals more receptive to vaccines.

  • Singh Rai — whose wearable product, the Oura Ring, helps track sleep and other health information — explained that international stay-at-home orders during the pandemic have made many people less active. That’s bad for sleep quality, especially when coupled with an increase in screen time. “All of us are sleeping less on average and we’re more distracted than ever before,” said Singh Rai. Sleep progress should really be tracked like diet or a workout regimen because “whatever gets measured gets mastered,” he said.
  • A cavalier attitude to sleep can be costly because it is intimately linked to health and productivity. For example, Walker cited a study that found insufficient sleep costs most nations about two percent of their gross domestic product, amounting to $411 billion in the US. “If we could solve the sleep loss crisis within most first-world nations, [we] could almost double the budget for health care or for education,” Walker said. He added: People should consider sleep to be an “investment in tomorrow” rather than a cost on one’s time.
  • Among Walker and Singh Rai’s top sleep hacks: saunas and warm baths are highly effective at helping the body expel heat once you exit those environments, and help set ideal conditions for sleep; setting sleep alarms (those reminders that nudge you to bed at roughly the same time every evening) is just as important as an alarm to help you wake up in the morning; avoiding naps during the day, caffeine in the afternoon and alcohol in the evening allow people to grow tired enough for sleep at night; and finally, abide by the 25-minute rule: if you’re lying in bed for longer than that trying to sleep, then go and do something else (that does not include screen time or food) until your body is tired. “You would never sit at a dinner table waiting to get hungry. Why would you lie in bed waiting to get sleepy?” Walker said. “The answer is, you shouldn’t.”

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Dec 03, 2020
Tory Burch on Finding Purpose in Female Empowerment
50:05

The American designer discusses the power of many businesses to be advocates for change.

 

The last few years have offered Tory Burch, founder of her namesake womenswear label, time to focus less on business and more on design, particularly since her husband Pierre-Yves Roussel took on the role of chief executive in 2018. Now, the pandemic is giving her even more time to focus on perfecting product, a rare silver lining of an otherwise challenging situation.   In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks speaks with Burch about her activist-focused approach to business and how the last 10 months have shaped her fashion label.  
  • Restriction is a crucial component of creativity. To Burch, the travel restrictions and social distancing measures have opened new avenues of creativity, fostering agility and resourcefulness. “One thing that’s happened because of lockdown is it makes you stand still,” said Burch. “To be able to be in one place has been really transformative on many levels.”
  • Burch emphasises that what constitutes luxury needs to be reconsidered. “I really believe luxury isn’t about a price point, and I think that’s relatable particularly today,” she said. “How do you design beautiful things that are timeless and that will last? That’s what I’ve been thinking about,” she said, adding that having time to spend is the ultimate luxury.
  • Through the Tory Burch Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to advancing women’s empowerment, Burch is finding new avenues through which to support women and help them weather the coronavirus crisis. “Its horrendous for women right now,” said Burch. “They are taking care of children at a much higher rate than men. We have had to help many women figure out how to take out PPP loans… We had to pivot to really be a resource for women.”

 

Related Articles: Tory Burch Names Pierre-Yves Roussel CEO Independent Women Brought Hope to Fashion’s Virtual Spring Visual Metaphors at Tory Burch

    Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.   To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.  

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Nov 26, 2020
David Bailey on a Life of ‘Looking Again’
1:06:22

The acclaimed photographer talks to Tim Blanks about his new autobiography and extraordinary career.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — David Bailey has authored dozens of books, but “Look Again” is his first autobiography. As the title suggests, the photographer is less interested in reminiscing about the past, and more keen on pushing himself and others to look beyond first impressions. 

 

The memoir delves into Bailey’s past and includes sometimes-scathing accounts of his relationships with heavyweights in the world of fashion, media, show business and politics — though he maintains he told the stories “in the nicest possible way.” 

 

“Being a photographer, you have to know how to deal with anyone, from the bloke on the [street] corner to the Queen, so you have to behave,” he said.

 

Speaking in conversation with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks, the famed photographer shares anecdotes from his storied and colourful past. 

 

  • Since he first burst onto the scene in 1960, photography has drastically changed alongside technology. “iPhones killed photography in a way, because everyone can take a picture,” he said, adding, “it’s made it into a kind of folk art,” which has its merits.  
  • As Blanks notes, Bailey lost interest in fashion photography for a while in the 1970s, a period  Bailey blames on  his dislike of some editors and the grind of the fashion cycle. It was “another frock and another frock and another girl and another girl.” It took the emergence of Kate Moss — alongside ‘60s supermodel Jean Shrimpton one of Bailey’s top muses — to excite him again. “They’re both exceptional,… important people, much more important than people think.”
  • While Bailey is not one for nostalgia, he can pinpoint one photograph that defines an era — and himself as a photographer. “I’ve got one picture that I feel sums up everything: [British actor] Michael Caine with an unlit cigarette,” he said. “I feel it sums up the ‘60s for me. Not a miniskirt but a close-up of Michael Caine.”

 

Related Articles:

David Bailey Turns Editor for Citizens of Humanity

100 Years of British Vogue

Will Covid-19 Change Fashion Photography?

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Nov 19, 2020
Tremaine Emory on Mixing Politics and Fashion
54:11
Imran Amed talks to the designer, also known as Denim Tears, about the US election and putting conditions on his collaboration with Converse.   This is just the beginning for designer Tremaine Emory. Following the US election, the designer, who is also known as Denim Tears, spoke to BoF’s Imran Amed about negotiating with big brands, leading with purpose and the work still ahead. “It’s been an incredible week and there’s a lot more work to do,” said Emory. “I hope this is the start.”  
  • For Emory, principles come first when it comes to working with big brands, especially if they are using corporate activism in their marketing. The designer notably withheld the release of a collaboration with Converse earlier this year, posting a set of conditions for parent company Nike on Instagram that ranged from disclosing the number of Black employees in leadership roles to stopping all support for the Republican party. “I can’t put these sneakers out if all the company is doing is donating money,” said Emory. “I need to know specifically what they’re doing to combat police brutality in Black neighbourhoods… Who are we protecting with this money?” In negotiations with brands, Emory delineated the tango that comes with corporate partnerships: “Their number one thing is making money... how can I dance their bottom line with my bottom line?”
  • Reflecting on the results of the election, Emory emphasised the importance of registering young voters and getting them excited about the upcoming senate elections, particularly in his home state of Georgia. “We’re going to work to get people to vote and get Democrats in those seats,” he said.
  • Emory also hopes to introduce young consumers to new ideas and ways of thinking about American history and civil rights. “That’s probably my favourite part of my practice is being a bridge of knowledge between generations,” he said. “How can I condense... a James Baldwin book [or] a Black Panther book into a T-shirt?”
  Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.   To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.  

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Nov 12, 2020
The Fashion Industry Unpacks the US Election
50:21
The BoF team and industry experts Sharifa Murdock and Stephen Lamar discuss what the close vote means for the future of fashion.   LONDON, United Kingdom — Election night ended in the US without a clear answer as to who will lead the country for the next four years. And though former Vice President Joe Biden appeared to have established a small lead over President Donald Trump in several key states as of Thursday afternoon, many questions remain about what will happen next.  Sharifa Murdock, co-owner of Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs, and Stephen Lamar, president and CEO of the American Apparel and Footwear Association joined BoF’s Lauren Sherman, Brian Baskin and Imran Amed to discuss what’s at stake for tariffs, trade agreements and corporate activism whatever the outcome.  Trade policies have changed under the current administration. Trump renegotiated the North American Free Trade Agreement and levied tariffs on goods imported from China and some European countries. Biden may not have implemented these polices given the choice, but his administration will be cautious about retreating from Trump’s trade positions, Lamar said. “They don’t want to be seen as the new government immediately going soft on China,” he said.  Trump campaigned in 2016 on bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US, but in the fashion industry at least, American factories cannot compete directly with overseas rivals on price, said Murdock of Liberty Fashion & Lifestyle Fairs. “News flash, stuff that left isn’t coming back,” said Lamar, who added that a Trump or Biden administration should focus instead on creating new kinds of apparel production jobs in the US.  Sales of luxury goods are holding up relatively well in the US as the wealthy redirect money that normally would be used on trips and hotels toward handbags and apparel. Trump’s tax cut has also played a role, giving wealthy consumers more disposable income. Biden campaigned on raising corporate taxes and reversing some of Trump’s tax policies. However, his ability to implement his vision depends on Democratic control of the Senate, which appeared unlikely as of Wednesday afternoon.  Corporate activism has flourished under the Trump presidency, as brands and retailers that previously remained neutral on political issues came under increased pressure by consumers to take a stance. The panelists predicted that activism was likely to continue, no matter who wins the election. “One thing that Trump did do was bring out… views that haven’t been looked at previously,” said Murdock. “No matter who wins [diversity and inclusion] is going to be on people’s minds.” Related Articles:
The US Election: What’s at Stake for Fashion?
American Fashion Executives on What Happens Now

 Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.   To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.   Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter. Ready to become a BoF Professional? For a limited time, enjoy 25% discount on an annual membership, exclusively for podcast listeners. Simply, click here, select the Annual Package and use code PODCASTPRO at the checkout. For all sponsorship enquiries, it’s: advertising@businessoffashion.com.

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Nov 05, 2020
Gareth Pugh on Returning to Fashion in Extraordinary Times
47:30

The British designer tells Tim Blanks about his latest creative endeavour, a documentary about creating his first collection in two years. LONDON, United Kingdom — Acclaimed designer Gareth Pugh showed his last collection in September 2018. Two years on, he has returned to the industry at a time of global tumult. Its effects are clearly reflected in “The Reconstruction,” a documentary made by Pugh, his husband Carson McColl and Showstudio director Nick Knight showcasing 13 new designs and the inspiration behind them. “This project really has been born out of some insane historical moments,” said Pugh. “2020’s been a shitty year and so much has gone on,” he continued, and he would be remiss “not to look it in the face and acknowledge its presence.” 

  • No stranger to the medium, Pugh has previously released films of his designs in lieu of a fashion show, and in 2019 made a documentary with McColl about the fight for LGBTQ+ rights across the UK. In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Pugh discussed what the current state of the industry means for young designers, and how he considers film to be a medium loaded with potential depth. The “new normal” can also mean opportunities. “The playing field is now level; you don’t have that established way of having to do things. like young designers being forced into this idea that ’we have to spend a load of money doing a show,’” said Pugh. “You never had to do that anyway, but now more than ever you really don’t.”
  • For many designers, film has been the go-to medium in the absence of in-person fashion shows, but it presents its own challenges. “Once you have that physical exchange taken away, you have that hole, that vacuum that you need to fill,” said Pugh. That said, alternative art forms allow for a more profound exploration of themes. “In a [fashion] show context it’s very difficult to dig down deep… simply because you’ve got this tennis match-esque way of presenting things,” he added.
  • “The Reconstruction” is a meditation on permanence, longevity and wider political significance as it pertains to creativity — from the “monumental” looks showcased in the film, to an entire section documenting the Black Lives Matter movement and activism of trans women of colour. “Wanting to build something really febrile and really temporal doesn’t sit with me,” said Pugh, admitting that he “never did very well with playing that commercial game” as a designer. “Fashion for me is part of the wider cultural conversation and does link to so many things we are part of… [It] doesn’t exist within a vacuum.”

 

Related Articles: Gareth Pugh's Fashion Battlefield Gareth Pugh's Macabre Movie A Life in Extreme Style: Michèle Lamy

 

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Nov 03, 2020
Dries Van Noten on Opening a Store During a Pandemic
47:51
BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks speaks with the Belgian designer about his new community-centred art hub and why the clothing store could do with a makeover.   LONDON, United Kingdom — It’s been just over two weeks since Dries Van Noten opened his latest store in downtown Los Angeles — a 8,500-square-foot, multi-storey building intended as a hub for art, fashion, music and community. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, the Belgian designer speaks with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the inspiration behind his new brick-and-mortar venture and his plans for future fashion weeks.
  • It may seem counterintuitive to debut a new store during a pandemic, when shops are open one day and forced to close the next, but Van Noten’s latest venture is an attempt to reimagine what brick and mortar can be. “Stores become very static. I wanted to have more of a youth club, where people can just come in… and do things,” he said. He recently had four local artists come in and repaint the walls in an homage to street art.
  • One of the rooms in Van Noten’s store serves as an archive of unsold garments from the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. It was inspired by the idea to slow down the fashion industry. “We have a room for men and a room for women where you have a selection of pieces from old collections.”
  • When looking to the future, Van Noten reflects on the possibility of combining fashion shows with alternative ways to present collections — like fashion films or lookbooks. “By the time we go back to fashion shows, perhaps the fashion shows will be changed,” Van Noten said. “It felt not right to see — in the times we are in — a fashion show.”

 

Related Articles: At Dries Van Noten, New Ways of Seeing Dries Van Noten Proposes Reset to Fashion’s Deliveries and Discounting Calendar What Happened to Rethinking the Fashion System?

 

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Oct 29, 2020
The Earthshot: A New Sustainability Mindset for Fashion Retail
29:50

In the final episode of BoF’s new podcast series Retail Reborn, Doug Stephens explores how fashion retail must evolve so it can operate within planetary boundaries featuring guests including sustainable design authority William McDonough, founder and CEO of Jordan Alliance Group Inc, Ilka Jordan, and Sanjeev Bahl, founder of sustainable denim manufacturer Saitex.

 

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Oct 27, 2020
Paul Smith on the Past 50 Years
49:12
The designer speaks with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about how the current moment is shaping the future of creativity.   LONDON, United Kingdom — It’s been 50 years since Paul Smith opened his first shop in Nottingham. Now, he has 200 shops worldwide. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, the celebrated designer speaks with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the last five decades, his latest book and how the current moment is prompting a return to craft.
  • Reflecting on the past 50 years, Smith emphasises the importance of making the most of any luck or opportunity by working at it. “For a lot of people opportunities come their way but they don’t embrace them,” he said.
  • To celebrate the brand’s 50th anniversary, Smith has released a book. In it, he tells the story of the last 50 years through 50 objects. “Instead of it just being a coffee table book with pictures of clothes in it, [I wanted it to] be a little bit lateral,” said Smith. “I very quickly chose 50 things — and I say ‘very quickly’ because I wanted it to be spontaneous.” Each object signifies a particular time or a memory that has shaped Smith's life and brought him to where he is today.
  • Despite the challenges 2020 has presented, the designer says he is excited about the industry’s return to craft. “What’s been inspiring for me is the construction,” said Smith. “Instead of the inspiration coming from a Matisse or a Basquiat, going back to how we make things has been really wonderful.”
Related Articles: Restructuring and Redundancies at Paul Smith Streamlining Collections, Paul Smith Reveals Own Fashion Calendar Fix   Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here.   To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions or speaker ideas please email podcast@businessoffashion.com.  

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Oct 22, 2020
Imran Amed and Tim Blanks on a Most Unusual Fashion Month
53:56

Amed and Blanks reflect on this season’s collections, the shift to digital and the limitless potential power of creative collaboration.

 

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — This last fashion month has been unlike any other. After much of the year working under lockdowns, brands largely shifted to digital channels to showcase their newest collections. In the latest episode of the BoF podcast, BoF Founder and CEO Imran Amed and BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks reflect on the season's most compelling moments and lasting impact.

  • Virtual presentations haven’t always landed, but this season felt different, said Blanks. “There was so much thought and creativity and ingenuity applied to new ways of doing business and new ways [of showing work]... It was a very different ball game.”
  • In London, Blanks was struck by female designers like Bianca Saunders, Ahluwalia and Supriya Lele who “did these super strong presentations that were provocative and affirmative and positive,” he said. Overall, London Fashion Week was defined by a joyful defiance during a time of crisis. In Milan and Paris, Blanks and Amed referenced Prada and Rick Owens as two of many shows that stood out to them.
  • This season also made clear the power of strong partnerships. Through creative collaborations between designers and filmmakers, brands have managed to bring their collections to life to audiences the world over. “It changes the fundamental conception of fashion being about the designer, now we have a much more collaborative thing happening,” said Blanks. “That’s a shift, I think.”

Related Articles:

How Impactful Were the Digital Fashion Week Shows, Really?

Who Will Win the Digital Fashion Week Battle?

How to Make Digital Fashion Weeks Work

 

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Oct 15, 2020
Kenneth Cole on Why Mental Health is the Other Big Pandemic
31:17

The American designer talks about his efforts to destigmatize mental health issues and the importance of improving emotional wellbeing in the fashion industry. 

LONDON, United Kingdom — “[There] needs to be a cultural shift… a new narrative, a new vocabulary, a new way to talk about mental health that [isn’t] debilitating, but is in fact empowering,” designer and social activist Kenneth Cole told BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed. 

Cole recently brought together leading US mental health organisations and high-profile advocates and media platforms to launch the Mental Health Coalition, an organisation that seeks to destigmatize the topic. In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, he discussed how the issue pervades the fashion industry and efforts to address it. 

 

  • “The fashion industry is a perception industry, and how we are perceived often is how we see ourselves,” Cole said, warning of the dangers to mental health when designers become preoccupied with reviews, likes on a post or comments from editors. “We define ourselves so often by these external forces that we can’t control and to a degree if you allow them to take hold then you become a victim of that. I often say, ‘fashion is what I do, it's not who I am.’”
  • The pressures on designers have become even more intense with the rise of social media. That’s more true than ever in an era where the pandemic has at times made digital the only available avenue of communication. Constantly being exposed to the feedback and opinions of others can feel debilitating Cole said.  “Unfortunately our industry embraces it and rewards it… and the more likes you have and the bigger audience you have, the more access you will often have.” 
  • What’s next is changing the way people speak about mental health so it there’s less stigma attached to it. The best way to do that “be supportive and non-judgemental and listen,” Cole said. “We all have different degrees and we have ups and we have downs. And we have periods where we’re feeling more in control than other [times]... [but] having a conversation is a big first step.” 

 

Related Articles:

Inside Fashion’s Enduring Mental Health Epidemic

Stressed and Depressed: A Mental Health Guide for Fashion Students

Op-Ed | The Perils of Fashion's 'Fake-It-Til-You-Make-It' Culture

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

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Oct 08, 2020
Will Covid-19 Kill Experiential Retail? Not So Fast | Retail Reborn Episode 4
35:07

"Will a newly minted generation of germaphobic, socially distanced consumers put the kybosh on touchy-feely retail?” In episode 4 of BoF’s Retail Reborn podcast series, Doug Stephens examines how the concept of reimagining the store as media can be applied even during a pandemic, with guests including Neighborhood Goods’ Matt Alexander, Story founder Rachel Shechtman and Ben Kaufman, CEO and co-founder of CAMP.

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Oct 06, 2020
Daniel Roseberry on the Schiaparelli Challenge
51:41

The artistic director tells Tim Blanks about reigniting the surrealist maison, and why fashion doesn’t have to be ‘relevant’ right now.

 


LONDON, United Kingdom — Daniel Roseberry grew up in Texas, far from his current professional home at Elsa Schiaparelli’s Place Vendôme headquarters, but he always knew he wanted to work in fashion. “It was always something that I was interested in that no one else around me knew anything about,” he told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. “It was this idea of fantasy.” Appointed as Schiaparelli’s artistic director last year, Roseberry lifts the lid on his journey as a designer and his approach to honouring, but not replicating, the vision of the maison’s founder.

  • Before Schiaparelli, Roseberry, spent more than 10 years at ready-to-wear label Thom Browne “There’s nowhere else I could have worked in New York that could have prepared me for the kind of hours that go into a garment… It was my only job before Schiaparelli in fashion and so that was my first foray into this kind of approach.” Despite having over a decade worth of experience, nothing could have prepared him for the challenges of being that “person that has to step out at the end of the show and wave.” Roseberry often wondered when his time would come and the journey has been a learning process. “I thought I knew what it was like to maintain a vision throughout the entire creative process… when there’s so many moving parts… that is the challenge… and it’s something that I’m getting better at.”
  • When it comes to adding his stamp and reinventing the maison, Roseberry tries to “honour... and embody [Elsa Schiaparelli’s] ethos.” The maison shuttered in 1954 and only reopened six years ago. Roseberry is the third artistic director to take its helm. “Trying to replicate what [Schiaparelli] did, which also seemed to be so effortless and such a product of the time and place in which she lived, would be a very arrogant disaster,” he said.
  • Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the industry all but came to a halt and brands had to find ways to pivot to keep their heads above water. For Roseberry “fashion shows don’t have to be relevant right now. There’s so many other things that are more important and I wish that fashion people could allow themselves to sit with that discomfort.” When asked about the future of fashion, Roseberry, like many during this crisis, is unsure but believes that is ok. “Fashion is so obsessed with predicting itself and I think it’s because deep down we know how… not essential we are [right now]… and I think there is an insecurity there.”

 Related Articles:

 

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Oct 01, 2020
The Future of Digital Commerce | Retail Reborn Episode 3
27:34

Doug Stephens speaks with innovators about the technologies and business models driving a new era of online retail — with guests Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein, Christina Fontana, head of Tmall’s fashion and luxury division in Europe, Chen Xiaodong, chief executive of Intime and Neha Singh, founder of Obsess.

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Sep 29, 2020
Lulu Kennedy on London's Young Creatives
53:49

BoF’s Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks speaks with the Fashion East Founder about the future of London’s emerging designers.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — For twenty years, London's Fashion East has helped incubate and support emerging designers hoping to establish themselves as the industry’s next big thing. The imperative to nurture emerging talent is even more urgent now, as young designers enter an increasingly uncertain industry. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks speaks with Fashion East Founder Lulu Kennedy about what the future of fashion might look like for emerging creatives and independent designers.

  • One major change in the last twenty years is the decline in funding available to stage grandiose fashion shows. “Sponsorship was very good [20 years ago],” Kennedy said. “It’s not as easy now; you have to work harder with the budgets you have.” While strict financial limitations can help foster creativity, it also adds pressure on young designers hoping to compete with more established players.
  • When asked why London remains a central hub of exciting new design talent, Kennedy points to its stellar colleges and powerful and pervasive youth culture. But London-based designers also face specific challenges. “There is a lot of frustration with designers trying to get stuff made on time, in budget and that’s good quality,” Kennedy said. “Going forward with Fashion East, I would love to secure some manufacturing partnership.”
  • Lookbooks and short films have become crucial for designers during the pandemic, when real-life shows are restricted. But standing out amid the social media noise is no easy feat. In fact, the best advice Kennedy has to offer is authenticity: “Be true to yourself. Don’t be second guessing and looking at what other people are doing over your shoulder. Just do you.”

 

Related Articles:

In London, Emerging Designers Face a Critical Season

Where Do Independent Fashion Brands Go From Here?

How to Break Into Fashion When You Don’t Already Have Money

 

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Sep 24, 2020
Building Smarter, More Sustainable Supply Chains | Retail Reborn Episode 2
33:21

In Episode 2 of BoF’s new podcast series, Doug Stephens investigates how supply chains must evolve to meet the novel challenges faced by both the fashion industry and the planet — with guests John Thorbeck, chairman of Chainge Capital, Nina Marenzi, founder of The Sustainable Angle and Dio Kurazawa, co-founder of The Bear Scouts.

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Sep 22, 2020
Craig Green Says, ‘Fashion Can Come From Anywhere’
52:14
The designer speaks with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about his ongoing Moncler collaboration and his dream of designing a wardrobe classic.   LONDON, United Kingdom — Known for his intricate seaming and detailed designs, Craig Green is currently hard at work on his Spring/Summer 2021 collection — which he is aiming to reveal in October. This time, however, it won’t be in a fashion show format. Rather, Green is exploring alternative ways of showcasing his collection that he feels are more appropriate to the times. “The way everything changed so suddenly shows you can’t really plan for anything,” Green told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks. In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Green and Blanks reflect on the designer’s ongoing collaboration with Moncler, his love of problem-solving, and his dream of designing a wardrobe classic.
  • Protection and functionality are the two words that come to Green’s mind when he thinks of Moncler, so it was crucial to incorporate them into the collections he continues to design for the heritage skiwear label. “The first collection we did with Moncler, I thought it would be interesting to think about the most obvious imagery that we associate with [the brand] like mountains and the outdoors,” the designer said. The initial partnership gave birth to many years of collaboration that most recently saw Green reimagining Moncler’s staple winter jackets into wearable art for Collection 5, which launched last December.
  • “Fashion can come from anywhere and can come from anyone,” said Green. “You have an idea of what fashion as a career will be, and then you discover designers who are so uncompromising in what they do and so individual in their voice.” For Green, it is problem-solving that continues to draw him to fashion; the endless possibilities of constructing new shapes and silhouettes using a range of textiles and patterns.
  • Green’s ultimate goal is to design a wardrobe classic, like a Burberry trench coat. But for Green, the staple is more likely to be a workwear jacket. “For a brand or designer to create one of those items is really an achievement,” said Green. “I have great respect for designers that own wardrobe classics.”
Related Articles: Packaging the Body at Craig Green Craig Green Talks Creative Evolution    

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Sep 17, 2020
How Trauma Transforms Consumer Psyche | Retail Reborn Episode 1
27:25

In Episode 1 of The Business of Fashion’s new podcast series, presented by Brookfield Properties, Doug Stephens and social psychologist Sheldon Solomon PhD. examine the impact of collective trauma on consumer behaviour, as Covid-19 sees consumers grapple with mortality. 

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Sep 15, 2020
Welcome to Retail Reborn from The Business of Fashion | Trailer
2:27

In an exclusive new series from The Business of Fashion in partnership with Brookfield Properties, Doug Stephens and BoF investigate the seismic shifts transforming the retail ecosystem. From the post-pandemic consumer psyches to increased risk and growing calls for responsibility, BoF identifies the forces transforming the retail market and what they mean for the global industry.

The Retail Reborn Podcast launches on Tuesday 15 September. Subscribe now to never miss an episode.

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Sep 14, 2020
The Fate of the Physical Runway Show
46:52

BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks, The Washington Post’s fashion critic Robin Givhan and GQ’s Rachel Tashjian explore the past, present and the future of the event that makes the industry go round — the fashion show.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — Do fashion shows still matter? In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks, The Washington Post’s fashion critic Robin Givhan and GQ Magazine writer Rachel Tashjian join BoF Executive Editor Lauren Sherman in a virtual panel discussion on how the pandemic tested designers’ ability to captivate buyers, media and consumers through creativity and the use of digital tool. What happens next?

  • For Blanks, in order to look forward, you must look back. Fashion shows have always “[meant] almost everything in fashion to an enormous degree… They challenge, they provoke, they’re disturbing, they’re overwhelming,” he said. However, over the years, people have looked at the shows of the past as “a world that’s gone in a way… it has that kind of poignant tug.”
  • As industry commentators, Blanks, Givhan and Tashjian have taken note of how designers pivoted their strategies following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and what set them apart. For Givhan, JW Anderson’s “show in a box” tapped into “the desire for something tactile, the desire for something that felt personal… that you could hold, that wasn’t a digital... distant thing.” Although livestreams have a way of broadening a brand’s reach, as a critic, Givhan finds being “forced to look in one particular direction” hinders the experience. “Sometimes I find the most interesting element to be something that’s over in a corner, but that’s not the main thing that’s walking down the runway towards me,” she said.
  • In the future, Givhan hopes designers will use technology to “tell a story about their clothing, to weave a narrative in some way… to evoke emotion,” instead of carbon-copying a traditional runway in a digital way. “It [just] feels… like something that… doesn’t really quite fit,” she said. For Blanks, what has come out of this period of uncertainty — and the modes of communication adopted — shouldn’t be forgotten. “I hope that there will be this immediate contact, this sort of intimacy,” he said. “I find that more interesting than maybe the way that we used to deal with things. I don’t want a press release, I want to talk to people.”

Related Articles: A Year Without Fashion Shows Will Covid-19 Change Fashion Shows Forever? Who Are Fashion Shows For? 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.


 

 



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Sep 10, 2020
Cathy Horyn on Why Fashion Media Must Evolve
1:00:11

The industry veteran and renowned Critic-at-Large at New York Magazine and The Cut discusses how the pandemic has shifted the way journalists cover fashion, signalling an editorial transformation.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — For fashion critic Cathy Horyn, the pandemic has ushered in yet another transformation of fashion media. Just like the brands and designers who pivoted and adopted new digital tools to reach buyers and consumers amid show cancellations, publications maximised their online presence to guide the industry at large through a period of upheaval.

In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Horyn sat down with BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks to discuss reviewing the upcoming shows this month (a mixture of both physical and live events) and her outlook for a post-Covid-19 fashion industry.

  • For Horyn, the media reflects and adapts to the needs of its time. “There’s been incredible [fashion] writers all the way back to the 1830s at least… and they all did something different. Journalists adapted to whatever was going on at that time,” she said. With the advent of the internet and social media, the industry saw the emergence of new voices and new talent. Amid this current period of uncertainty, Horyn remains optimistic that the industry will emerge stronger and transformed. “We’ve seen a lot of experimentation in the last… two months… I think going forward...it’s going to be an adjustment for everybody covering fashion, [but] I certainly think it should be covered.”
  • Will the show go on? This has been one of the questions on the minds of designers across the globe, but with New York Fashion Week given the go ahead (sort of) industry insiders and consumers are in for a fashion week unlike anything ever seen before: a mixture of in-person shows, livestreams, films and virtual panel discussions. What does this mean for journalists, like Horyn, that usually review the collections gracing the runway? “We don’t even know if we’re going to be covering shows like we did till possibly next fall,” she said. “My long-term feelings for the industry are really strong… [fashion] will transform itself but we just don’t know what that’s going to [look like].”
  • For Horyn and other critics, it would be remiss to ignore the allure of the physical runway show. A collection “doesn’t [always] translate so well on television or on a video screen,” Horyn said. But one thing that remains, whether via a screen or in real time, is the “sense of discovery and [realisation] that some of that stuff ... moves the historical needle of fashion and we get to see that,” she said.

 

Related Articles:

The Best-Case, Worst-Case for Fashion Media

For Fashion Magazines, It's Crunch Time

At Condé Nast and Hearst, It’s About More Than the Current Crisis

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.




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Sep 03, 2020
Stella Jean Asks ‘Do Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion?’
55:31

The Italian-Haitian designer and the only Black member of Italy’s Camera della Moda speaks to BoF Editor-in-Chief about racism within the country’s fashion industry.


LONDON, United Kingdom —  For designer Stella Jean, enough is enough. “It’s time to turn the page” and demand fashion reform, she said. Last month, alongside Milan-based designer Edward Buchanan, Jean issued letters to Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera della Moda, and to the organisation’s 14 executive members in what Jean described as “an historical appeal to bring to the forefront for the first time in our history, the paradoxical taboo topic of racism in Italy… and also to support Black designers who are still invisible in the business of Italian fashion.” In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Jean sat down with BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed to share her personal history growing up the daughter of a Haitian mother and Italian father, discuss the systemic racism within Italy’s fashion sector and focus on fostering change.

  • The self-taught designer, whose clothes have been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna and Zendaya, called out fashion giants for making “performative gestures of public support” regarding racism in America, while simultaneously “overlooking what is happening to the Black minority in their own country among its workforce.” During the virtual call with Amed, Jean shared that she had received a letter from Capasa regarding the creation of a new unit in the Italian fashion council to tackle racism within the sector. Jean hopes that this will transform her question “do Black lives matter in Italian fashion?’” into the statement “Black lives matter in Italian fashion.”
  • In order to effect change, fashion leaders and executives must have an open discussion about what more can be done to boost diversity within their organisations, Jean said. While brands rushed to post black squares on social media, Jean urged leaders to first address the lack of diversity within their corporate structures. “[Brands] have long preached multiculturalism but have rarely applied such concepts beyond the media window… [and] in the spaces away from the spotlight where no one is watching,” she said. “[This is a] wound that we have ignored for far too long… If you don’t understand that awareness is the first step in solving the problem, this wound will never heal.”
  • For Jean, who founded the sustainable development initiative Laboratorio delle Nazioni, growing up in the 1980s “and struggling [with] being so diverse from [her] fellow citizens has motivated [her] to find a way to show people not to be afraid of different cultures and colours, but instead to see them… as a chance to grow better and together.” Jean recognises fashion as a tool that can offer fair and equitable opportunities for people in low-income countries. When Jean creates a collection she meets and works with various artisans in countries like Peru, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Mali or Pakistan for example, researching and learning about the local indigenous skills to then create a textile or garment, combining the country’s traditional craftsmanship with Italian design. “The beauty of fashion is it has no borders,” Jean said.

Related Articles: Op-Ed | Fashion Is Part of the Race Problem Op-Ed | Inclusivity Demands More Than a Show Fashion's New Stella



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Aug 27, 2020
Rebuilding Lebanon’s Fashion Industry
46:07

Elie Saab Jr, chief executive of Elie Saab Group, and Lebanese designers Roni Helou and Amine Jreissati speak about the urgent need for global solidarity in the face of crisis.

 

BEIRUT, Lebanon — At around 6pm on August 4, 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in the Beirut port caused a devastating explosion that killed 137 people and injured thousands. The blast also destroyed buildings across the city, including the homes and studios of many members of Lebanon’s fashion community. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed speaks with Elie Saab Jr., chief executive of Elie Saab Group, as well as Lebanese designers Roni Helou and Amine Jreissati about what it will take to rebuild Lebanon's local fashion industry.

  • The challenges facing many people in Lebanon are overwhelming. But the Lebanese fashion community must attempt to see this as an opportunity to grow, said Saab. “Either you look at this incident as something that will destroy you, or you look at this incident as something that will make you stronger,” he said. “We encourage all Lebanese not to dwell on the destruction that took place, but to use this destruction to go back to work in a stronger, more focused way.”
  • The Beirut explosion occurred in the midst of a pre-existing economic, social and political crisis. It is often such desperate times that can generate an influx of progress and growth in the long term. “I have been emphasising the importance of reshaping the [fashion] industry. We have seen both locally and globally that something isn’t working,” said Helou. “If we don’t put a plan in place to recover, we are taking the hope away from people of putting food on the table.” It is crucial that this plan includes careful financial planning, added Jreissati, in order to navigate the economic uncertainty that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and implement the foundations of a more resilient industry.
  • When looking to the future, the importance of patience and hope is underscored by all three designers, but global solidarity and aid is just as crucial. “Brands located in Lebanon today have been very limited with everything that’s been happening. Some of them are not able to rebuild. We need international support,” said Jreissati.

To aid Beirut's creative community, the Starch Foundation has partnered with The Slow Factory Foundation to launch crowdfunding campaign "United for Lebanese Creatives," which offers financial support to independent designers impacted by the explosion.

To support local grassroots and independent NGOs in Lebanon, The Slow Factory Foundation has also created a fundraiser dedicated to improving "sustainability literacy" in fashion.

 

Related Articles:

Lebanon's Fashion Industry Hit by Triple Crisis

Elie Saab Sets a New Course in New York 




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Aug 20, 2020
Jerry Lorenzo Says, 'I Know What I’m Fighting For'
47:53

The Fear of God designer talks American luxury and why feeling like an outsider is a strength.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — For Fear of God Founder Jerry Lorenzo, being an outsider is an advantage. “I just feel like I never fit,” he told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. “I’ve gotten to a place where I’m ok with that and I don’t need to fit within fashion to be validated… and so I know that I’m outside but I feel like my strength is that I’m outside. My strength is that I see [things] differently.”

Lorenzo has often taken a less-beaten path, but it’s his approach to collection drops — his latest is the first he has released in two years — as well an ability to use fashion as a platform to foster social change, that have helped to position him as an industry leader. An outsider no longer?

  • "The Pelican Brief," "The Breakfast Club," "License to Drive" and "Rocky IV" are just some of ‘80s movies Lorenzo often references. “There’s something about that time period that to me was the highest level of effortlessness and sophistication,” he said. That spirit is alive in his seventh collection, which offers an “unfiltered vision of tailoring and suiting” for the first time, as well as accessories and handknits. “It’s a move from an emerging brand to a foundational brand,” Lorenzo said. “What we’re doing with [this] collection is purely our point of view.”
  • Using his platform, Lorenzo looks to inspire young people to pursue their passions relentlessly in whatever field. “I know what I’m fighting for and I’m clear on that,” he said. “Some kids just don’t have the example of someone that looks like them… and without that visual example, sometimes it feels impossible… fashion just happens to be the platform that I’m using to do that.”
  • Fear of God might be rooted in streetwear, but Lorenzo explained why it’s more than that. “Some people just chalk it up to be a hoodie and that’s okay but we understand that we’re providing the solution for the lifestyle that today is the modern man,” he said. “We’re putting out clothes when we feel like… we have something to say… [and] that we have solutions for what’s missing in the marketplace. We don’t feel like we’re operating from a place of a capitalistic spirit, we feel we’re proposing what’s needed.”

 

Related Articles:

The Decade When Streetwear Rewrote the Rules of Luxury

What the Merger of Suiting and Streetwear Says About the Men’s Market

Streetwear Took Over the Fashion Industry. Now What?

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.




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Aug 18, 2020
Lily Cole on Why the Fashion System Needs Reform Now
38:11

The model and activist speaks with BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed about the lessons she learnt while writing her new book Who Cares Wins.

 


LONDON, United Kingdom — Lily Cole was once on the side of every bus, fronting the industry’s biggest fashion campaigns. But the more time Cole spent in the industry, the more she became aware of widespread problems and structural inequalities that prop up its glamorous facade. She cut back on modelling jobs and instead prioritised working on improving the fashion system from within.In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, Lily Cole speaks with BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed about the lessons she learned while writing her new book Who Cares Wins: Reasons For Optimism in Our Changing World, published by Penguin, a call to action that emphasises the importance of optimism and collaboration in times of uncertainty.

  • The fashion industry must grapple with the role consumer culture plays in upholding social, environmental and ethical problems. “There is a practical need for new stuff that we don’t want to shut down entirely, so while we’re making it in a better way,” said Cole. “Equally, can we think of new business models that don’t require people to buy new things to make them economically sustainable?” These may include more transparent supply chains or adopting a circular business model.
  • The very way progress is measured must also be reconsidered. Economic growth must be replaced by alternative metrics like happiness, health and environmental wellbeing. “It’s about quality rather than quantity… about loving material things more,” Cole told Amed. “The more you love something the more you respect it.” For consumers, buying fewer products of higher value is less wasteful and also places more emphasis on the artisanal craftsmanship of each garment.
  • Cole is optimistic about the future generation of consumers who put more emphasis on sustainability. When the scandal broke that Boohoo paid workers less than minimum wage for example, the ultra fast fashion e-tailer’s share price plummeted. This, Cole said, indicates that the market expects consumers to stop shopping from unethical brands. “It’s a tangible reflection that people do care when they are given information,” she said.

Related Articles:

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.



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Aug 13, 2020
Tackling Systemic Racism in the Fashion Industry
43:35

Harlem Fashion Row’s Brandice Daniel, Black in Fashion Council Co-Founder Sandrine Charles and creative consultant Henrietta Gallina on actionable anti-racism steps brands must take to move the industry forward.

 

NEW YORK, United States — The anti-racism protests that erupted across the US over the last two months have brought conversations around racism in the fashion industry to the fore. In the latest #BoFLIVE event, BoF’s Lauren Sherman spoke with Harlem Fashion Row Chief Executive Brandice Daniel, Sandrine Charles Consultancy Founder Sandrine Charles as well as brand and creative consultant Henrietta Gallina about combatting systemic racism in the fashion industry.
  • In order to implement meaningful change, brands must introduce clear, public goals for which they are accountable. Vague, performative messages will no longer suffice as employees and consumers put pressure on brands to deliver actionable progress. “When we talk about the problem, I always come back to equity and that’s what I’m striving for,” said Gallina. “We are no longer asking for the industry to support us, we are asking for the power structures to be rebuilt.”
  • Companies must be holistic in their approach when tackling racism in the workplace. “It absolutely starts at the leadership level and C-suite level,” Daniel said. “Black people have set the foundation for the fashion industry but we’ve never held leadership roles.” Hiring a D&I chief, while a step in the right direction, doesn’t hold much weight if anti-racism measures aren’t implemented throughout the business, both from the bottom up and the top down.
  • “What’s really important is that everyone else acknowledges where they have a privilege in this industry,” said Charles, who is also the co-founder of the Black in Fashion Council. “Moving forward, they also have to do the work.” Charles, Daniel and Gallina all underscored the importance of introspection and then action, particularly from white and non-Black people. Committed allies are a crucial step to moving the fashion industry forward. “It’s essential that we do the work with everyone because there are various spaces that we don’t have access to,” Charles said.
  Related Articles: Op-Ed | Fashion Is Part of the Race Problem Fashion Media Called Out Over Workplace Racism How PR Firms Are Navigating Fashion’s Race Problem

 

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Aug 06, 2020
Michael Kors on Why He Left Fashion Week
58:11

The celebrated American designer has spent four decades creating garments at the industry’s pace — now he’s streamlined his collections to just two per year.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — To show or not to show: that is the question on the minds of designers as the calendar inches closer to Fashion Month. Some designers have set their sights on a September show, others are using this pandemic-induced upheaval to take a pause and consider whether or not they should be showing during the traditional Fashion Weeks at all.

American all-star designer Michael Kors joined several other big names, including Saint Laurent and Gucci, in questioning the efficacy of the schedule’s incessant pace when he announced he won’t be presenting a Spring/Summer 2021 collection at New York Fashion Week.

“We can’t just always do things the way we’ve done them in the past… Everyone I think realises that the whole system is mixed up, [it] doesn’t make sense,” Kors told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks on the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. “You can’t look over your shoulder, you have to think about what’s next… right now we have slowed up and I think slowing up is important.”

Kors, whose shows have historically kicked off the last day of New York Fashion Week, discusses his decision to move off the calendar and reduce his production schedule to two collections per year.

  • Recently, the designer announced that he will be presenting his Spring/Summer 2021 collection globally on October 15 on the brand’s social and digital platforms. This will allow consumers to shop the Autumn/Winter collection, which lands in stores in September, before a new season hits the shelves. “October... really became the perfect moment to show a new collection, without cutting off the previous collection that had just arrived in the shops,” he said.
  • For Kors, one reason that influenced the decision to streamline the number collections was the fact that multiple seasons felt convoluted. “Whatever was wrong with calling it Spring/Summer, these are two actual seasons. Fall/Winter, what is Pre-Fall? There is no such thing as Pre-Fall.” he said. “Why are we confusing the consumer and the press with a new season when they haven’t even absorbed the one that has just arrived in the shops? It just didn’t make sense to me.”
  • Part of what has fuelled the high-frequency garment output in the industry is “this insatiable appetite for what’s new,” Kors added. If it makes sense, great, but “new for newness' sake, or because it will look cool on Instagram? Forget it.” Social media has played a critical role in shaping the view that if an item of clothing has been worn once, it can’t be worn again. “The word ‘content’ has diseased the fashion industry. I want to see an image that lasts for more than a second. I want words that actually resonate.”

Related Articles:

Michael Kors Is the Latest Brand to Depart from the Fashion Calendar

A Proposal for Rewiring the Fashion System

Gucci Just Left the Fashion Calendar Behind. Who Will Follow?




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Aug 04, 2020
LOVE Magazine’s Editors on the Fashion Magazine’s New Role in Culture
52:26

Ben Cobb and Pierre A. M’Pelé discuss the creative process behind LOVE’s latest two-volume issue and how they responded to the unprecedented events of the last six months.

 


LONDON, United Kingdom — What is the role of a fashion magazine at this moment in time? For Ben Cobb, editor-in-chief, men’s, of LOVE Magazine, and Pierre A. M’Pelé, the title’s senior editor, community and collaboration is key. Launching August 4, the latest iteration of the biannual magazine is two volumes of hardback books, titled “LOVE ‘Diaries 3 March - 4 July’ Volumes 1 and 2” featuring a total of four covers. “I hesitate to even call it a magazine,” said BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in conversation with Cobb and M’Pelé. “[It’s] a remarkable time capsule of this remarkable time.”

  • Despite its triumphant final form, the process behind creating the magazine has not been without its challenges. “There were three senior members very ill with Covid,” said Cobb, describing how the team stepped in to carry out work depending on how healthy they were feeling each day, ahead of M’Pelé joining the team in late June. “We were exhausted and suffering from fatigue, [but] Pierre came in with so much energy.” As a highly collaborative process, it also dissolved the traditional hierarchy of the masthead — “a new way of putting together a magazine,” said Blanks, reminiscent of “the idealistic height of the ’60s.”
  • Producing a fashion magazine — particularly one as extensive as LOVE’s two-tome edition — typically takes a long period of planning and forethought, but the seismic and fast-developing events of the last six months required quickfire changes. The Black Lives Matter protests of May and June “changed the course of action,” said M’Pelé, who himself attended protests in Paris. “The team was very reactive because it was a matter of ‘let’s speak now, let’s take a stance now and let’s be clear of our intentions now...’ If we hadn’t added these Black Lives Matter and systemic racism conversations into the magazine, it would have been too late.” In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, M’Pelé’s “manifesto,” a portable pamphlet-like insert in the book, “became a lot more about new voices, bringing people of colour into the picture,” he said. “I want someone to be able to take it out and give it to their racist aunt.”
  • This period has also called into question the formats and fundamental role that fashion magazines assume. “Editorial perspective…[typically] crystallises a moment and it’s about dictating what that moment means,” said Cobb. “I think what’s been really incredible and transformative about this is that … that dynamic has been completely reversed and the moment tells you what it needs to be.” As for what the next issue of LOVE will look like, “Who knows?” said Cobb. “Maybe a magazine can just be a film.”

 Related Articles: Katie Grand Names Ben Cobb Co-Editor-in-Chief of LOVE For Fashion Magazines, It's Crunch Time How to Make a Magazine Under Lockdown



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Jul 30, 2020
Fabien Baron Says, 'The Way We Communicate Is Going to Change'
58:09

The celebrated art director Fabien Baron talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the future of image-making.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — For famed art director Fabien Baron, the chaos and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic presents an opportunity for the fashion industry to go “back to basics.”

“When there’s doubt like this there’s not really an answer… so there’s opportunities to take more risks and be more creative,” Baron told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. “It’s going to bring a lot of changes… but there’s something very optimistic about change. To be forced to change allows one to really [reflect] on the issues we are all facing.”

  • This period of uncertainty has unlocked conversations that were rippling below the surface, said Baron. Both the pandemic and the recent political unrest has highlighted an opportunity for the fashion industry at large to reshape “old formats” that feel at odds with the world’s new normal. For Baron, that means “a new way of looking things… which may lead you to a new path… it’s going to be an evolution [for the industry].”
  • According to Baron, creativity is the key to unlocking change and as the world adjusts to a new set of challenges, industries must do the same. From this health crisis a new way of approaching magazines, photography, styling and the buying and selling of merchandise will emerge where storytelling must supersede superficiality, said Baron. Brands and publications must hone an authentic voice which reflects the time and inspires “people with new ideas and new ways of looking at things. You need freshness and you need a lot of positiveness.”
  • Simplicity could be the antidote to the incessant pace at which the industry has been operating. The months of travelling it took to view runway shows or presentations, whether it was buyers or editors, hopping from “this city to that city just to see a show… After a while it [didn’t] make sense.” However, the outbreak of the coronavirus brought the fashion calendar to a standstill and designers turned towards digital tools in order to showcase their collections. This new way of using technology means “the way we communicate is going to change because the tools are changing and they’re opening new doors,” he said.They allow us to do different things and view things [from] different angles.”

Related Articles:

A Year Without Fashion Shows

Who Will Win the Digital Fashion Week Battle?

Fashion’s New Outlook on 2020

Fabien Baron Is Not Nostalgic



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Jul 28, 2020
Imran Amed and Tim Blanks on Where Fashion Goes From Here
54:18

This week on Inside Fashion, the BoF tag team discuss the state of an industry in flux, digital pivots and the future of fashion shows.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — The outbreak of Covid-19 signalled major disruptions across the global fashion supply chain, from the garment workers left destitute in India and Bangladesh after retailers in the West cancelled orders to businesses temporarily shuttering brick-and-mortar sites in order to curb the spread of the virus. “This pandemic is shaping up to be one of those collective experiences of complete change… It seems like [there has been] such a momentous shift in perception and [in] the way all of us are thinking about life,” said BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed.

For both Amed and BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks, this period of uncertainty offered an opportunity for the industry to reassess the way it operates. “This industry is so important, it’s so big... and there’s so much of an opportunity to do things better,” Amed said.“We have a moral responsibility to do better as an industry.”

  • Blanks first realised the enormity of the health crisis after returning from Paris Fashion Week. “March 3 [the last day of Paris Fashion Week] was the day that you could feel the storm clouds had well and truly gathered over fashion… there was this sense of some enormous, ominous force,” he said. Even as lockdown measures have eased and designers have set their sights on an iteration of September fashion shows, the feeling of uncertainty still looms. “September isn’t in our hands, we don’t know what is going to happen in September or in January… I think the situation is incredibly volatile,” Blanks added.
  • Like many industries, the fashion sector has adopted digital tools in order to keep working in the age of social distancing, from virtual showrooms and live streaming to online-only fashion shows. For Blanks, the allure of sitting in the pews of an elaborate runway show, just inches away from visual masterpieces, can never be duplicated on screen. However, he also acknowledged that the brands and designers' response to the disruption of the fashion calendar using digital presentations “was really interesting, [especially seeing]... how so many different creative sensibilities approached the same challenge.”
  • The pandemic and political unrest has accelerated the conversation around responsibility in the fashion industry. Now more than ever, brands are being called upon to address the lack of diversity and inclusion within their corporate structures. “This momentum for change cannot be diverted, it cannot be still. It must roll on and I think fashion has to be a part of… the solution not the problem,” Blanks said. “The most critical challenge facing the industry is inclusivity… it has to be more inclusive and embracing… Opportunity needs to be equal for everybody.”

 

Related Articles:

A Year Without Fashion Shows

Fashion’s New Outlook on 2020

Op-Ed | Fashion Is Part of the Race Problem

Designers Lobby to ‘Fix’ the Fashion System. Will It Work?




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Jul 23, 2020
Stephen Jones Says the Constant Quest for Perfection Often Kills Spontaneity
52:14

Celebrated milliner Stephen Jones talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about how the pandemic has signalled an opportunity to reshape the fashion industry.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — For Stephen Jones, a prolific hatter and one of the most lauded milliners in modern memory, “hats and dressing up are a sign of optimism in spite of everything.” In his storied career, which spans four decades, he has created visual masterpieces both under his namesake brand and as the artistic director of hats at Christian Dior.

“The purpose of fashion… is maybe to give people a dream,” Jones told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. “To give people the idea of more fun times, a better life… something which is solely for their pleasure,”

  • For Jones, who has created hats for high-profile clients from Princess Diana to Rihanna, forced isolation has provided an opportunity for reflection and “just being able to focus on one thing,” he told Blanks. “I’ve only ever done that in my first collection [and] that was 40 years ago. So in a funny way, I’ve been able to have the focus and the time to do something that I haven’t been able to in 40 years.”
  • “Fashion is that fabulous escapism that people yearn for,” Jones said, and when it comes crafting intricate designs, he avoids the “constant quest for perfection because perfection often kills spontaneity.”
  • As with many industry professionals across the globe, the pandemic and political unrest has signalled an opportunity for Jones to transform old practices and reshape the industry. “The one thing about fashion is it evolves,” he said. “If it doesn’t evolve it doesn’t make sense.”

 

Related Articles:

Stephen Jones and the Grammar of Hats

The BoF Podcast: Stephen Jones on the Craft of Millinery

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

 

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Jul 22, 2020
Neiman Marcus Chief Executive Sees Stores As Vital for Digital Growth
59:01

In an exclusive conversation with BoF’s Imran Amed, Geoffroy van Raemdonck expresses optimism for the retailer’s bankruptcy process and explains why brick-and-mortar remains integral to its core business.

LONDON, United Kingdom — When facing both a nation-wide retail shutdown and a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing, Neiman Marcus Group Chief Executive Geoffroy van Raemdonck found solace in one fact: his most loyal customers, even at stores that have yet to re-open to the public, are shopping more than they did last year.

“Neiman Marcus is a relationships business,” Van Raemdonck told BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed in an exclusive interview this week.

Despite the global health crisis — and a dire debt problem that loomed even pre-pandemic — Van Raemdonck sees an opportunity for growth.

  • As consumers continue to migrate online, Neiman Marcus’ 43 stores remain integral to forging lasting connections between shoppers and sales associates. Prior to the coronavirus, every Neiman Marcus store that was open for more than a year was profitable. That’s why the retailer is planning on closing fewer than 10 stores, Van Raemdonck said.
  • Neiman Marcus’ primary problem is debt. In 2019, the company generated $415 million in adjusted EBITDA, which represented 9 percent of its sales. The issue is that $365 million of that profit had to go toward paying down its debt. In the bankruptcy process, Neiman Marcus has been able to convince more than 75 percent of its debtholders to exchange what they are owed for equity in the company.
  • The retailer's objective now is to maximise its existing relationships with customers and meeting them where they are. To do so, it recently unveiled a new clienteling app called Neiman Marcus Connect. The app allows sales associates to connect with their individual customers wherever and however they like to shop.

 

Related Articles:

Can Neiman Marcus Survive Bankruptcy?

Can the American Department Store Be Saved?

Why Neiman Marcus Is Getting Rid of Its Off-Price Stores

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

 

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Jul 16, 2020
Amber Valletta Says, ‘I Don’t Want to Work in an Industry That Is the Same as Before’
59:19

The supermodel, actress and environmental activist talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about why the fashion industry cannot return to ‘business as normal.’

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — “The uncertainty has forced us to get really present.... We have an amazing opportunity to restart and to begin again,” Amber Valletta told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. “It is an incredible opportunity to stop and really figure out where we want to go from here. We can redesign a future.”

 

The American supermodel and actress, who has graced the cover of American Vogue 13 times and starred in various television and film series, including Revenge, Legends and Hitch, shared her thoughts on why the pandemic and political unrest has signalled the need for an equitable supply chain and an overhaul of the fashion calendar to reflect the industry’s “new normal.” 

 

  • Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, many garment workers in countries like India and Bangladesh were left destitute as textile factories shuttered and retailers in the west cancelled orders. “Before the designers make this amazing piece, [garment workers] are the people who put in the blood, sweat and tears,” Valletta said. . “In the 21st century, we should have a supply chain that’s fair and equitable.” 
  • Affecting change may not be simple but it is definitely required, Valletta said. In order to thrive in a post-pandemic climate, the fashion industry at large needs “to be resilient… which means we have to really stop doing business as normal because normal is archaic now.” For Valletta, fashion is about change and innovation: “I don’t want to work in an industry that is the same as before,” she said. 
  • “Why aren’t we slowing down the calendar?,” Valletta asked, addressing the industry’s incessant output of clothes that has accelerated over the years. “I was blessed to live in the most spectacular time in fashion… the crews were smaller, everything… There was an intimacy and excitement that we don’t have today,” she said, reflecting on her modelling career. . “There was no [social media]... and there was anticipation of the next season… Everything coming at you was a discovery.”

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

 

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Jul 14, 2020
Farfetch’s José Neves Says Profitability Is Still Possible in 2021
53:12

LONDON, United Kingdom —For Farfetch Founder and Chief Executive José Neves, the last six months have not only been about protecting his own business from the fallout of Covid-19, but also supporting the hundreds of boutiques around the world — from China, Japan and Korea to the Middle East and Europe — that sell their goods online through the luxury marketplace.

“We've been able to support the boutiques and the brands on the platform at crucial time where online is, for many, the main channel and for some... the only channel,” Neves told BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast.

But as Neves explained, more challenges lie ahead for Farfetch and the global fashion industry at large.

  • Neves described the platform’s performance as “very solid,” and expects to see an acceleration in its second quarter, with year over year growth of 25-30%. Part of this success can be attributed to the business shifting its focus to markets where consumer sentiment has started to recover, according to Neves.
  • But Farfetch is still losing money, and investors and market analysts have questioned the company's recent acquisition of New Guards Group (NGG). The acquisition may have bolstered profitability, but it took the business in an unexpected direction: actually owning the brands it sells on its platform. But Neves said he remains “confident” that Farfetch will achieve profitability by 2021 — a goal it outlined last year, and that the NGG business is a brand platform in its own right.
  • The luxury industry has been bracing for what has been called “the mother of all sales,” as retailers are forced to drastically discount their surplus of spring merchandise. Some observers have pointed to Farfetch as a regular culprit with respect to the industry's discounting addiction even before the Covid-19 pandemic. Neves says the discounting decisions are made by the brands and the retailers themselves, and that Farfetch is simply the platform they use to go to the market, but acknowledges that deep discounting is a systemic industry problem.
  • Neves believes the fashion industry will finally reckon with its wasteful and unsustainable business practices — and partially because it can also reduce costs. “I do think the industry had an oversupply problem, which is an environmental problem as well," he said. “Platforms have a responsibility to… incentivise customers to shop consciously. By doing that you create an incentive for brands to be more conscious or to be totally ethical and sustainable if they can.”

 

Related Articles:

A Cloudy Picture at Farfetch

Farfetch Signals Growing Ambitions in Resale

Why Farfetch's Free-Spending Ways Have Some Investors Concerned

 



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Jul 09, 2020
Roger Federer on Partnering with On Running and Designing his First Shoe, The Roger
37:35

The tennis legend and cult running shoe label On are launching a sneaker together. In the latest edition of the BoF Podcast, Federer shares what's next.

ZURICH, Switzerland — It’s been 17 years since Roger Federer won his first Wimbledon championship. Now, the 20-time Grand Slam winner is commemorating the date with the launch of his first sneaker for Swiss running label On.

Named “The Roger,” Federer’s debut is inspired by a tennis shoe, but it’s designed to be much lighter and intended for everyday wear, rather than professional sports. As with On’s more performance-driven trainers, the shoe is outfitted with the “CloudTec” technology (a special sole designed to enhance the running experience) for which On is best known. The company’s first “Cloud” performance sneaker, launched in 2010, quickly gained traction among the running community.

Federer’s tie-up with On is much more than the typical ambassador-brand relationship. For starters, he invested an undisclosed amount in the company last year, consulting for the brand before signing on to co-develop product. As the tennis star put it to BoF's Imran Amed in an exclusive interview for the BoF Podcast, he wanted to see if it would be possible “to create a deal and partnership that is more than the pay-to-play deal.”

 

Related Articles:

Roger Federer Buys Stake in Swiss Running Shoemaker

How Are Sports Brands Marketing Without Sports?

Uniqlo’s $300 Million Bet on Federer

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

 

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Jul 06, 2020
Giles Deacon on Carving Out His Own Fashion Calendar
36:19
The designer speaks with BoF's Imran Amed about the importance of creative autonomy in a time of 'product for more product’s sake.'  

LONDON, United Kingdom — Designer Giles Deacon’s list of clients is impressive, including Billie Porter, Sarah Jessica Parker and the New York City ballet, while his runway shows were once counted as one of the most exciting events at London Fashion Week. But a few years ago, he decided to leave all that behind, focusing on growing his private client business instead. In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Deacon spoke with BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed about what it's been like to buck the system in a meaningful way.

  • After a few years working in the fashion industry, Deacon became disillusioned by the pace of production. “[It] was about designing more and more product for more product’s sake,” he said. So he decided to return to his art school days, focusing on craftsmanship and elaborate designs.
  • For Deacon, creative autonomy is crucial. If couture designers are to deliver spectacular garments, they need time and artistic independence. “The beauty of the bespoke is to be able to work with the client to give them that sense of service and exclusivity,” said Deacon, adding that his network of VIP customers has grown organically through word of mouth.
  • Lockdown hasn’t stopped Deacon from working over the past few months. "I have been doing sketching, consultations and FedExing patterns,” he said. “It’s gotten smaller, but things still move along.”
  • Looking to the future, Deacon said social distancing measures have prompted him to rethink his own practices. “I have become more conscious of my travelling… [Once lockdown restrictions are lifted, I may travel] less but possibly for longer.”

 

Related Articles:

Giles Deacon on the Inspiration and Couture Craft Behind Pippa Middleton's Wedding Dress

Why Fashion 'Seasons' Are Obsolete

A Proposal for Rewiring the Fashion System

 

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Jul 03, 2020
Aniyia Williams on Why Self-Examination Is Critical to Dismantling Racism in Fashion
59:10
LONDON, United Kingdom — Aniyia Williams is ready for difficult conversations. The opera singer-turned-fashion tech entrepreneur has navigated systemic racism within corporate culture for years. And as companies slowly begin the process of dismantling policies and norms that harm Black people within them, Williams has a few ideas on where they go from here.

“The biggest thing that gets in the way is self-interest,” Williams told BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed in the latest edition of the BoF Podcast. “Discomfort is the key ingredient to getting to the other side.”

  • Self-examination is critical. “It starts with the blind spots,” Williams said. “You are going to find things you don’t like about yourself.” Companies should look to their own practises and corporate culture to understand who they benefit and what needs to change.
  • You’re not going to hire your way to diversity, inclusion and equity. “What’s more important,” said Williams, is the environment that exists to support those people once they’re hired. Diversity and inclusion initiatives can only go so far, and it starts with senior leadership recognising the need to change both policies and company culture. “If the leadership isn’t buying into those ideals... I don't know how you can expect anyone else to,” Williams added.
  • Act to make it true. Aside from social media posts and one-time donations, fashion companies need to push for a larger, longer-term change. Diversity and inclusion at its core is about creating shared realities that understand what each employee is facing. “What is our relationship to each other going to be and is it going to be as fair and equitable as it can be?” asked Williams.
 

Related Articles:

When Your Corporate Diversity Strategy Isn’t Enough

How to Navigate the Workplace as a Minority Voice

How to Create an Inclusive Workplace

 

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Jul 01, 2020
Rick Owens on Why Fashion Shows Aren’t Going Away
52:06
The American designer talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the future of the industry, sustainability and runway shows.To subscribe to the BoF  LONDON, United Kingdom —  “This is science’s moment...so my responsibility was to study as much as I could so when my turn to contribute came I would be ready,” Rick Owens told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of the BoF Podcast. “I’m concentrating on absorbing as much information, aesthetic information, that will serve me and nourish me in the future.” The American designer, who has earned a cult following for his “’grungy glamorous” aesthetic, has been spending the pandemic studying the work of English architect Edward William Godwin, as well as listening to operas including “Elektra” and “Salome” by German composer Richard Strauss. Owens shared his thoughts on why the pandemic and political unrest has accelerated the conversation around responsibility in the fashion industry.
  • “This period of resetting and enforced reflection has just recharged me,” Owens said. The designer revisited his past work and discussed how fashion is a powerful mode of communication. “When I think back on everything I’ve been doing I feel like I was able to do beautiful things but I was also able to talk about values that I believe in.” The outbreak of Covid-19 and the killing of George Floyd, which has led to protests across the globe, has brought conversations about fashion’s contributions to systemic racism to the surface.
  • Owens pointed out that the broader discussion around sustainability is forcing brands to reassess their businesses and consumers now more than ever are holding companies to account.
  • Even as lockdown measures begin to ease and designers pivot to live stream their shows, Owens underscored that runways are not obsolete. “Adorning oneself and communicating through the way you look, it’s an ancient ritual and it’s an important part of communication… [Fashion shows will] always be there in one way or another.”

 

Related Articles: 

Constructing Rick Owens' Creative Bubble

A Year Without Fashion Shows

The Depraved Kindness of Rick Owens

 

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Jun 26, 2020
Ibrahim Kamara on Photography as a Powerful Force for Change
57:31
The renowned stylist and fashion director talks to BoF’s Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about his time creating under lockdown.   Quarantine hasn’t stopped stylist and art director Ibrahim Kamara from creating. Although he is unable to work on his usual fantastical fashion visuals, the time spent in his London home is nonetheless far from wasted. “I might not be able to achieve my dreams right now, but I can write them and make a note of them,” Kamara told BoF’s Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of the BoF Podcast. Born in Sierra Leone, Kamara moved to London in his early teens. He has since worked with some of fashion’s biggest names, including Stella McCartney, Fenty and Hermès as well as British VogueLove and AnOther. During lockdown, Kamara and Blanks touched base to talk about photography as a force for change. 
  • Kamara’s ethereal aesthetic pays tribute both to his West African roots and to London, the city he has lived in for the past ten years. For Kamara, the beauty of his visuals exist in this intersection of cultures. “When I’m making work, I want people to stop and take in so much,” he said. “If an image doesn’t stop you, it doesn’t really do it’s job… That’s how I make photos, I want people to look at them twice.”
  • Kamara sees technology as a source of endless inspiration. It is through Instagram he met and befriended Kristin-Lee Moolman, one of Kamara’s longtime collaborators, with whom he has worked on countless projects. “It’s so good to find people who you think can bring something to your world,” he said. Social media has also upended fashion’s longstanding hierarchies, Kamara said, adding that people can now more easily collaborate on ambitious projects without the approval and support of established magazines. 
  • Looking to the future, Kamara hopes to inspire a new generation of young image-makers to find confidence in their ways of seeing and believe in their creative visions. Only by supporting, cultivating and promoting the next generation of creative talent can the fashion industry progress: “[I want to] push the industry [forward]… and make it a space where everyone can dream.”

 

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Jun 23, 2020
June Sarpong Says Fashion’s Gatekeepers Need to Start Thinking Differently About Diversity
37:17

 June Sarpong shares her advice on how organisations can improve their diversity and inclusive representation, and effectively champion allyship.

 

Related Articles: Fashion Media Called Out Over Workplace Racism On Racism, Fashion Must Do More Than Speak Up Op-Ed | Fashion Is Part of the Race Problem

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Jun 19, 2020
Anna Sui Says, ‘You Can Define an Era By the Clothes’
55:12
The American designer speaks to BoF’s Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about how fashion mirrors politics. LONDON, United Kingdom — The world has changed immeasurably since designer Anna Sui’s last fashion show took place in New York in February. Her next collection is likely to reflect this transformation. “Fashion is a mirror of the times — you can define an era by the clothes,” Sui told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks. “What people are wearing mimics the politics of the times.” Over the last few months, the world has grappled with a pandemic, a steep economic downturn and, more recently, widespread anti-racist protests. In this week’s special edition of the BoF podcast, Sui makes predictions on how these global events might impact the future of her industry.  
  • People have spent much of the lockdowns at home in sweats and a T-shirt. Sui believes that people might go polar opposite once social distancing restrictions are relaxed. “Suddenly [people] are going to want to be seen,” Sui said, adding that eating at restaurants and drinking at bars will once become occasions for self-expression.
  • Handicrafts may see a resurgence as “people are now taking the time to relearn those skills,” Sui said. Tie dying, crocheting and knitting might well become popular creative outlets for the many people investing time in new hobbies — and this shift could be reflected in upcoming collections.
  • Sui hopes the pace of the industry will slow down and allow space for self-reflection. Looking back to the 1990s, “[There] wasn’t this frantic need to be working all the time, I remember enjoying the holidays,” Sui said. “Let’s hope that this gets back under control and that we learn how to balance out our lifestyles again.”

Sweatsuits and Yoga Pants Are Selling Like Crazy. What Happens When Lockdowns End? A Proposal for Rewiring the Fashion System Why Fashion 'Seasons' Are Obsolete 

 

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Jun 16, 2020
Graydon Carter Says, ‘There Is More Good Journalism Being Produced Now Than There Was 25 Years Ago’
48:23

LONDON, United Kingdom —  “Magazines bring the world to you more than newspapers do and more than books do,” Graydon Carter, former editor of Vanity Fairand creator of email newsletter Air Mail, told BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed in the latest episode of the BoF Podcast. “They bring the cultural nuances of what’s going on now to your door. They [tell] you about a world outside of the small town that you’re living in.”Carter’s journalism career spans over four decades, during which he was a staff writer at Time and Life, co-founded Spy magazine in 1986 and served as the editor of The New York Observer. His “third act,” the digital weekly newsletter Air Mail, employs a team of remotely working individuals from across the globe.Carter shared his thoughts on the state of the publishing industry in this time of upheaval.  

  • An upended global economy is not uncharted territory for magazines. During the Great Recession, publications were hit hard as brands cut their advertising budgets to retain cash, Carter said. More than a decade later, magazines are faced with these same challenges, and for Carter, although there remains “a certain romance for magazines” the print industry “is going to have its issues and I think the strong magazines will survive and thrive and the weak ones will go away. That is a natural process in any industry.” The winners that emerge from this crisis will be the publications that form a connection with their readers. “You have to be the first or second favourite magazine of your reader… if you’re the fifth favourite magazine of a reader, they could probably do without you,” he said.
  • During his time running Vanity Fair, Carter spearheaded several newsmaking issues, including the 2015 “Call Me Caitlyn” cover, revealing Caitlyn Jenner for the first time as a woman and the “Africa Issue” that was designed to amplify the region and came with 20 special covers fronted by the likes of Muhammad Ali, Dr Maya Angelou and Barack Obama. However, his leadership was not without controversy. In a recent Netflix documentary, “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” allegations resurfaced that Carter removed information about the sexual abuse of Annie and Maria Farmer from an article about the disgraced billionaire written by Vicky Ward in 2003. In response to the claims, Carter said: “The legal and fact-checking elements of Vanity Fair, which was quite extensive,... is your line of defence and my head of fact-checking, my legal review editor and the lawyer for the company said we simply do not have what we needed to print this and it came in late,” he said. “In this case, they said we did not have the information we needed to publish that little bit of information in the story... I feel great pain and sorrow for the women he took advantage of, it’s an appalling situation.”
  • As the publishing industry pivots to adapt to a new normal, relying on digital tools like Zoom, cutting back the number of issues and reassessing the diversity of their organisations, Carter believes there are opportunities to be capitalised on. “I think there is more good journalism being produced now than there was 25 years ago… The fact is, now… you can start your own thing, you can do it on your kitchen table.” In a sea of start-ups it can be difficult to stand out, but “it’s just about being good at doing something that somebody else doesn’t do… You can make a name doing anything as long as it’s done well.”

 



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Jun 12, 2020
Activist DeRay Mckesson on the Realities of Social Injustice
12:26

The Black Lives Matter activist recently launched 8CantWait, a new campaign aimed at reducing police violence.

 

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Jun 05, 2020
Scott Galloway on Breaking Up Big Luxury | Inside Fashion
54:03

The bestselling author and business professor offers his insight into the challenging market and M&A landscape that industry players of all sizes have to navigate.

Scott Galloway is no stranger to expressing views as provocative as they are incisive. The author, business school professor and serial entrepreneur has a lot to say about the state of the market in the era of Covid-19, but his observations and predictions are also, crucially, grounded in wider social, political and economic arguments — whether that’s the now-untenable position of American exceptionalism, the burden of student debt or the failings of intergenerational wealth distribution. Speaking in conversation with Imran Amed, Galloway shares his thoughts on the state of the luxury sector, importance of e-commerce and the indomitable power of Amazon, a company he describes as “firing on all 12,000 cylinders” yet still can’t crack the fashion market. Here are some of the key takeaways:  
  • “The class of IPOs that will come to the markets in the next 3-6 months will boom,” said Galloway. “I think the markets are going to accelerate but people conflate the markets with the economic health of america. The markets are nothing more than an indication of how the top decile of Europe and America are doing.” 
  • Amazon’s tricky relationship with fashion and luxury is hard to reconcile. “Amazon partners with an industry the way a virus partners with a host,” he said, which explains why luxury brands have traditionally kept the e-commerce giant at arm’s length. Even with the remarkable acceleration of e-commerce in the past eight weeks, however, Amazon’s algorithmically driven retail model does not allow for the forward-looking trend cycle on which the fashion industry operates.
  • Luxury is a relatively well-positioned industry. “The majority of sectors in the world would pray for luxury’s problems right now,” he said, but much like big tech companies, conglomerates in the luxury space create “an unhealthy environment where too few players are allowed to [accrue] too much power... if you wanted to oxygenate the economy around luxury you would go ahead and break them up.”
Related Articles: The New Normal: A Darwinian Shakeout Will Create Fresh Opportunities For Luxury, an Acceleration of the Inevitable Case Study: The Next Wave of Luxury E-Commerce      Sign up for BoF’s Daily Digest newsletter here: http://bit.ly/BoFnews.

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May 29, 2020
Jochen Zeitz on the Power of Fashion to Drive Sustainable Change
37:53

The former CEO of Puma has been one of the fashion industry’s leading sustainability advocates. As part of our special edition on building a responsible fashion business, Zeitz talks to BoF CEO Imran Amed about finding opportunities in crisis.

  • The former CEO of Puma has spent his career advocating, and sometimes agitating, for change to more responsible business practices. As he steps into a new role at the head of Harley-Davidson, he offers advice about finding opportunities in crisis.
  • “Iconic brands have a tremendous opportunity to contribute to a change in consumer behaviour as a whole,” Zeitz said, mounting a defense of consumer culture when managed responsibly. “Growing while reducing has to be the parameter of the future. We can grow, but we have to reduce our footprint over-proportionately to the impact we are having through our growth.”
  • The current crisis in particular could prove an important catalyst to drive change towards better ways of doing business. “Now you can make the business case for the planet and you can say what we’re experiencing now with the virus is just a fast way of experiencing climate change that will happen over decades,” Zeitz said. “This virus is testament for a needed fast change in order to deal with a much bigger crisis that will be affecting all our lives around the world in 20, 30 years to come.”
  • Companies that fail to move may well get left behind. “I look at every crisis as an opportunity… to look at your business and how you operate and say what can we really essentially change to adjust ourselves to the new normal,” Zeitz said. “If businesses don’t ask themselves that question, you will be part of history, rather than the future.”

 

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May 21, 2020
Marc Jacobs Says, 'I Still Have Stories to Tell’
51:19

As American fashion changes rapidly in real-time, Jacobs shared his thoughts on the state of an industry in flux.

  • Jacobs revisited his last fashion show at the Park Avenue Armory. “I would be very happy if that were my last show,” he said. New York’s role in global fashion is waning, and the future of live fashion shows in the coming months and years remains uncertain. “We don’t know if there will be much of a fashion industry in New York,” said Jacobs. “Will the people that have the skill still be around?”
  • Furthermore, the waste within the industry, and the flawed system of scheduling and orders has put more of an impetus on designers to slow down. “The idea of being forced to create something and tell a story constantly when it has no soul feels so vacant,” said Jacobs, pointing also to the wasted fabrics and unused products that end up in landfills. “The urge to make things and create things hasn’t gone away… I still have stories to tell,” he added. Maybe how that happens will change.
  • Digital collections and online shopping aren’t adequate substitutes. “Ordering online in a pair of grubby sweats is not my idea of living life,” said Jacobs, comparing the experience to looking at art online. “I don’t look at a Rothko online and cry.”

 

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May 18, 2020
Millard Drexler on Why ‘Growth Is the Enemy
42:38
The New York-based “merchant prince,” best known for his time at J. Crew and Gap, is now watching the American retail landscape crumble as brands and retailers struggle under store shutdowns and debt restructuring. He did offer some advice, and warnings, on the state of American shopping, and what it might look like after the pandemic.
  • “If you’re not a micromanager, you’re not doing your job well,” said Drexler. With too much assortment, and too much retail space, brands need to determine what’s necessary and get creative with their offerings. This same practice should also be applied to wholesale accounts. “Own the brand, don’t let someone else put it on sale, and you’re safe,” he said.
  • Rethink what growth means for your brand. “Growth is the enemy,” said Drexler, looking to the rise of VC-backed brands that have struggled to successfully scale and break even. Now is not the time to pursue top-line growth at the cost of profit margins. “That’s what investors want, and they’ll do dumb things to get there,” said Drexler. “More is not better, the new big is small in my mind.”
  • The American department store’s make or break. “It’s pretty much near the end,” said Drexler. There’s no reason for them, he argued, unless the assortment and store curation are unique and compelling: “I’m not impressed [and] I haven't been for years with the choices out there.”

 

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May 15, 2020
Special Edition: Alber Elbaz Is a ‘Zoombie’ Now
35:18

The designer speaks to BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed about life under lockdown and the future of young designers.

 

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May 12, 2020
Special Edition: Jonathan Anderson Says, ‘If It Feels Fake, I Don’t Want It’
53:45

The creative director of JW Anderson and Loewe talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the need for greater transparency in the fashion industry.

 

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May 09, 2020
Special Edition: Kalpona Akter on Choosing Between Lives and Livelihood
34:16

In the latest special edition of the BoF Podcast, Kalpona Akter, founder and executive director of the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity, joins BoF’s Imran Amed to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the millions of garment workers left destitute as the world's largest retailers cancel orders.

 

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May 05, 2020
Special Edition: Rafat Ali on the Month the World Stopped Travelling
39:52

In the latest special edition of the BoF Podcast, Rafat Ali, founder and CEO of the B2B travel news site Skift, talks to BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed about the tourism standstill following the outbreak of Covid-19 and its impact on travel retail.

 

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May 01, 2020
Special Edition: Imran Amed on Finding Opportunity in a Crisis
39:08

BoF’s Founder and Editor in Chief joins educator and activist Sinéad Burke to discuss how BoF is forging ahead during the Covid-19 crisis in a live event hosted by Istituto Marangoni.

 

 

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Apr 29, 2020
Special Edition: Silvia Venturini Fendi Will Surprise You
50:28

In the latest special edition of the BoF Podcast, Fendi Creative Director Silvia Venturini Fendi talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about everything from the future of smart clothing to the end of the fashion show as we know it.

 

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Apr 24, 2020
Luis Venegas on Print Media in an Age of Uncertainty | Inside Fashion
57:43

In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, Madrid-based publisher Luis Venegas talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the fate — and resilience — of print magazines.

 

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Apr 17, 2020
Special Edition: Sam McKnight on Why Fashion Is the ‘Eternal Optimist’
34:35

In the latest special edition of the BoF Podcast, celebrated hair stylist Sam McKnight talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the future of hairstyling and the fashion industry beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

 

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Apr 10, 2020
Special Edition: Charles Jeffrey on What It’s Like to Be a Rising Designer in the Midst of a Pandemic
45:45

In the latest special edition of the BoF Podcast, designer Charles Jeffrey talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about self-reflection during the coronavirus crisis, and the evolution of his brand, Loverboy.

 

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Apr 06, 2020
Special Edition: Journalist Rana Ayyub on Why Social Distancing Is a Privilege
41:19

In the latest special edition of the BoF Podcast, Indian journalist and author Rana Ayyub joins BoF’s Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the lives thousands of migrant labourers, many of whom work in India's now-shuttered textile industry.

 

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Apr 03, 2020
Special Edition: Riz Ahmed on a Watershed Moment for the Fashion Industry
26:49

In the latest special edition of the BoF Podcast, rapper and actor Riz Ahmed speaks with BoF’s Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed about why the world should pause and reset its priorities in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

 

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Apr 01, 2020
Special Edition: Li Edelkoort Says the Coronavirus Is a Representation of our Conscience
43:56

In the latest special edition of the BoF Podcast, the Dutch trend forecaster says that the coronavirus pandemic is bringing to light what is wrong with society, teaching us to slow down and to change our ways.

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Mar 27, 2020
Special Edition: Jefferson Hack on Why The World Must Not Be Complacent
45:48

The Dazed Media founder speaks to BoF’s Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed about the role of fashion media companies during a pandemic.

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Mar 25, 2020
Special Edition: Vogue Italia Editor-in-Chief on Lessons Learned in Isolation
40:23

In our first edition of #BoFLIVE, Emanuele Farneti speaks with BoF’s Robin Mellery-Pratt about running a publication in the coronavirus-spurred lockdown.

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Mar 24, 2020
Carine Roitfeld’s Remarkable Fashion Career | Inside Fashion
40:20
The acclaimed stylist and editor, whose name has become synonymous with French style, talks to Imran Amed about how the industry has changed since her days at French Vogue, working with Karl Lagerfeld, becoming a brand and the importance of staying curious.

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Mar 20, 2020
Special Edition: Luca Solca on ‘The Worst Year in the History of Modern Luxury’
38:14

BoF’s Imran Amed and the Bernstein analyst discuss what the sector should expect as coronavirus threatens sales and supply chains.

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Mar 19, 2020
Special Edition: Retail Futurist Doug Stephens on How Coronavirus Will Shift Consumer Behaviour
39:18

As the pandemic jolts global markets and consumption habits, Imran Amed and Doug Stephens discuss the mindset fashion companies should adopt to stay above water.

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Mar 13, 2020
A Fashion Month Unlike Any Other | Inside Fashion
54:57

As wildfires swept across Australia and the coronavirus spread across the globe, Imran Amed and Tim Blanks reflect on how the world’s uncertainties have informed the Autumn/Winter 2020 season.

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Mar 06, 2020
How Christian Louboutin Turned Red Soles into a Status Symbol | Inside Fashion
41:47

Just as he unveils his L'Exhibition[niste] showcase in Paris this week, the luxury footwear designer speaks with BoF’s Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed about transforming his namesake brand from a single-store enterprise into a global success.

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Feb 28, 2020
Lewis Hamilton on How his Formula 1 Career Led Him to Collaborate with Tommy Hilfiger | Inside Fashion
55:35