On Friday & Saturday, Vogue France organised a 2-days conference & masterclass event, exploring on the past, present and future of fashion. Located at Paris Chamber of Commerce Palais Potocki, the event welcomed key players of the Fashion Industry: Loïc Prigent, Olivier Rousteing, Isabel Marant, Suzan Saideman from Amazon Fashion, Jonathan Anderson… An interesting, insightful, sometimes intimate event! We gathered the most insightful quotes here for you, happy reading!
day 1 – Fashion’s new business models
UNIQLO’s founder Tadashi Yanai – how is innovative casual wear democratising fashion?
Day 1 started with a keynote on Uniqlo‘s model – quality, innovation & casual – presented by its Founder, Chairman, CEO & President, Tadashi Yanai. Mr Yanai insisted on how Uniqlo conveys the philosophy of Clothing for all, and its mission to democratise fashion.
“Changing clothes and changing conventional wisdom can change the world. UNIQLO makes clothes for everyday that break down conventions of dress related to social rank, we are all about democratising clothes and making a positive difference in the world. Otherwise, the business is meaningless.“
“Global is Local, Local is Global“: Fashion has no more frontiers, as the world is interconnected. Uniqlo works throughout the world with R&D centers located outside of Japan, such as the recently announced Uniqlo Paris R&D Center, where the brand appointed Christophe Lemaire as its Artistic Director.
“We work with our Chinese manufacturing partners to produce affordably priced fashion at massive volume, very fast, available around the world. ’Clothing for all’ is a pioneering approach for fashion, transcending nationality, gender, age and social standing, an idea rooted in the classless Japanese culture, it’s democracy in clothing.“
Amazon Fashion’s VP europe, Susan Saideman – the amazon fashion story
Susan Saideman, VP at Europe Amazon Fashion, presented a short recap of Amazon’s story, insisting on how the company focuses on its customers rather than its competitors.
“Our CEO, Jeff Bezos is into the customer, over competition. Every idea starts not with a business plan, but with a press release, so we can see exactly how it will sound to the consumer. We start with the customer in everything we do.“
As Mrs Saideman reminded us, Amazon sells everything, in the most convenient way: with its Amazon Prime service, ordering anything on the website is fast and easy. Moreover, consumers developed a reflex when searching information about products they seek to acquire: more than any other website, they head straight to Amazon. In 2012, the company started showing its ambition to become a go-to place for fashion goods.
“In 2012, we knew that to grow to a $200 billion business, we needed to move into fashion and food. We now have enough fashion on the platform to fill 500 football stadiums, 30 malls, or 3,000 retail stores. It’s challenging having such a wide selection, but also very fun.“
This year, in just a few months, Amazon Fashion came from being laughed about to a way more credible and recognised fashion e-commerce, starting with its campaign with the biggest and most influential blogger worldwide, Chiarra Feragni. Now, for all that, there’s still a long long way to go: if the e-commerce giant wants to be successful with its fashion activity, it will have to convince brands. Which will only come when they succeed into making the user experience compatible with fashion shopping: now if you go on the website, you arrive on a cool interface, rebranded and layouted for fashion goods. But as soon as you click to search for brands (in France), you arrive on the classic Amazon layout (meaning not fashionable!). But anyways, you can still find cool brands, including Hugo Boss, Vanessa Bruno, or House of Holland.
At the end of her keynote, Mrs Saideman unveiled Amazon Fashion’s first ever TV spot showing how Amazon delivers fashion, and its #saysomethingnice social media campaign.
Chloé & saint laurent paris’ ceos – the future of fashion shows
Geoffroy de La Bourdonnaye, Chloé‘ CEO and Francesca Bellettini, Saint Laurent Paris‘ CEO discussed their vision of the future of fashion shows, with Loïc Prigent, famous French journalist (he’s directed a lot of really cool documentaries about fashion, for Arte or Canal+).
“Before I started in fashion I worked at Disney, where I learned a lot about storytelling. Everything starts with a movie, then you reflect that emotion in characters and merchandising. In fashion, everything starts with a show. It is where the girls, the “characters”, transmit the emotion and the spirit of a brand. Fashion is not just a collection, it’s an attitude, and you can feel that better in a show.” Geoffroy de La Bourdonnaye, CEO of Chloé.
Reminding how fashion shows create desire and are highly important for fashion brands – more than any other marketing campaign or communication initiatives – the two CEOs recognised fashion shows can be really expensive, but most of all they’re here to convey desire. Further in the conversation, they talked about how digital modified shows and still continue to make this fashion institution evolve.
“With the digitalisation of music, the business of music has increasingly turned to live concerts, and in turn ticket prices are going up. We can observe a similar trend in the fashion industry. The more we digitalise our content and our images, the more important the shows will become, as long as they provide live, authentic emotion. I expect the shows to slow down in the future, but offer even more emotion. People who are lucky enough to be in the venue should feel a much stronger emotion than those watching it online.” Geoffroy de La Bourdonnaye, CEO of Chloé.
On the use of social platforms, Saint Laurent’s CEO Francesca Bellettini explained how the brand is now looking for new platforms, marking a change since Hedi Slimmane left:
“We were a little behind with the latest platforms, but we’re catching up now. Our focus is on high-quality content, not marketing. Our priority is adapting to current changes while remaining authentic and true to our identity. I’m Italian, I’m here in Paris and I’m speaking in English, but I’m still myself. It doesn’t matter the language you use as long as you stay true to yourself.“
To end the talk, Loïc Prigent asked them about the buzzing conversation on See Now Buy Now. The two CEOs made powerful statements, taking the concept back to the roots and arguing that it’s not compatible with the very meaning of Luxury.
“Fashion is a very intense industry. I encourage my creative teams to take holidays and clear their heads between collections. Real creativity is impossible with the Buy Now Wear Now model. There is a trend of people wanting everything faster and faster. But it can’t make you change who you are. If people really want something, they are happy to wait for it. They understand that quality takes time.” Francesca Bellettini, CEO of Saint Laurent Paris.
Jonathan Anderson – fashion’s new relationships with time
Jonathan Anderson, Artistic Director for Loewe and his namesake line JW Anderson, came on stage with Olivier Lalanne, Deputy Chief Editor at Vogue Paris and Chief Editor for Vogue Hommes International, sharing his experience in fashion and commenting on the industry’s most striking evolutions.
“My collections are very research-based, from books, art, vintage fashion – I can be inspired by almost anything. We put everything into a room and decide in one day what is going to go into each one, draping and pinning on a model to produce the template of a line-up. I’m very clear on who the customers are for both brands and quite commercially driven, the morning figures are an immediate barometer of what is working and what isn’t. Each collection has to be a reinvention, original ideas are crucial.“
Sharing on his inspirations, Anderson explained how his own perception of the meaning of luxury has changed, mentioning the fact that you can buy “luxury sausages” at Tesco (WTF?).
“In a world in which you can buy ‘luxury’ sausages in the supermarket, I don’t believe in luxury in the same way anymore. For me, it’s about craftsmanship. Luxury brands don’t exist in a vacuum, I think constructive viewpoints should be shared and certain things should be given visibility and I don’t believe corporations should stand back because they are worried about the end consumer. If you don’t believe in my viewpoint, don’t buy my products.“
Ending the session with his vision of the future of the industry, Anderson shared a more human and socially connected fashion world:
“For me, the next big thing in the business, will be facing up to the reality of the cost of fashion and evaluating the human cost against financial gain. Brands will be ‘de-branding’ and becoming more human, I see luxury brands like Loewe evolving into cultural brands in a wider sense and part of that is accepting responsibility for the people you employ. De-branding is also about making fashion relatable to what customers want and connecting emotionally with them through social media.“
The day continued on with sessions on e-commerce, the future of retail and new creative challenges. For more insights, check our Twitter feed ;-).
day 2 – new creative territories
isabel marant & olivier rousteing – being a designer today
Day 2 started with an insightful and intimate talk between Olivier Rousteing, Artistic Director for Balmain, Isabel Marant and Loïc Prigent. What does it mean to be a designer today in an international fashion house? Multiplication of collections, the pleasure of creating, their inspirations… The designers were fun and it was communicating, the audience was captivated throughout their friendly talk.
“Inspiration can come from very various sources. It can be the gesture of a woman in the street, playing with her hair, which pushes me to work on the shoulders, and how to enhance a woman’s neck. I often say that I am like a cooker, I pick up things on the floor, little pieces of images. I pin them on my board and it starts to tell me a story. At the beginning, it can come from a pink post-it laying on the floor, which colour will attract me.” Isabel Marant
Talking about the fast rhythms of fashion, the two designers shared a different vision, with Isabel Marant wanting to calm that pace, and Olivier Rousteing being motivated by the adrenaline it can give.
“We’re talking about a long-run machine, it takes 6 months to create a collection. You have to work on the emotion of the beginning, and when it comes, there are teams of 50 to 100 people who work behind you and develop the collection for the runway show, followed by campaign and press. Today, I make 6 collections every year: two men’s, two woman’s and two kids’.” Olivier Rousteing, Artistic Director for Balmain, recognised that the pace of collection is tight. But at the same time, he told us how it makes him even more motivated, “This pace also means I need to keep a healthy balance with my life: you need to be sportive and to listen to yourself when needed. I don’t live it like a suffering, because if I don’t have these collections I get bored. Everything has to go fast, when the runway is happening, I’m already thinking about the next collection. It is hard to develop fabrics, but I don’t think this pace will last, we’re going to go back to the basics, but for me, it’s still an adrenaline that keeps me alive. Cool is great, but it’s not what defines a designer today.“
On the contrary, Isabel Marant shared how her work has been evolving since capsule collections appeared, saying how hard it is to take the time to create a story with her lines.
“Today, I create 6 collections per year: two Etoiles, two pre-collections, and two runway shows. I won’t do more. If I did a men’s collection, there would not be a show, it would be more intimate. I’d love to work on a capsule, but I don’t want to launch a new collection.“
Talking about their experiences collaborating with H&M, both designers shared how they appreciated the experience. On the one side, Olivier Rousteing explained how the collaboration meant democratisation of fashion for him, and reminding how important it is to be happy to be copied.
“It is very important to be copied, the day a trend doesn’t come to the streets it will mean there’s a problem.“
On the other hand, Isabel Marant told us how this experience helped her take a step back from her brand and see the evolution it had made, giving her the vision of her brand’s DNA and opening the brand to a new audience at the same time.
Another unconventional topic for fashion came out on stage, as Loïc Prigent mentioned the recent position-taking of US Vogue, officially endorsing Hillary Clinton for the US Presidency. On that, Olivier Rousteing took position on the role of a fashion designer, beyond creating garments:
“Being a designer today is about assuming who you are. There are not lots of black designers in the world of luxury, which opens it to other aesthetical visions. It can push a revolution in the industry. I did a naked cover for a gay magazine, to assume my homosexuality, I took the opportunity to share about my own adoption, racism I experienced in France, and it was important for me to talk about fashion, but also about the designer existing outside of fashion. Because we are designers but we also have our own lives.” A way to say there’s Olivier without Balmain.
catherine gorgé, managing director at prodways – can luxury products be manufactured with 3d printing?
Prodways is a leading 3D printing firm, helping various industries to embrace the technology. Gorgé is dealing with leading luxury brands, who often come to her asking how they should use it and if it’s relevant for the industry. She exposed several examples of how luxury brands used 3D printing for fast prototyping but also to manufacture end-products.
To open the session, Vogue’s Magazine Chief Editor Anne-Laure Sugier stated how the luxury industry is not as late as we can think, “3D printing is a new métier d’art. Luxury brands have been working with it for more than 20 years.”
Gorgé’s keynote first stated what 3D printing is, and then developed how it can be used in the luxury industry, through 3 main axis:
“We work on a daily-basis on prototyping. Why? It’s possible to make them in less than 48 hours, letting teams control a form, a model, validating the concept and idea, and then producing the pieces – through 3D printing or not. We manufacture a lot of different forms of heels, clasps, leather strings, and even flexible and soft embroideries.“
- Singularity & made-to-measure
“One of the main strengths of 3D printing is to offer the possibility of producing unique pieces, where a lot of manufacturers only accept big quantities orders. We can realise a single button if we’re asked to. It is also possible to realise made-to-measure pieces, tailored to a body morphology, captured geometrically by a machine. We like to give the example of 3D printed soles, tailor-made to a customer’s feet.“
- Is 3D printing eco-friendly?
“3D printing only consumes the needed material, there is no waste, it is only powder, which can be re-used, which is not the case with soustractive traditional manufacturing. In terms of energy, 3D printing doesn’t consume much and can be done locally, no need to go to Asia. Moreover, it limits stocking issues, conception being done fast and on demand. Today, there is an organically sourced vegetal material, it’s called the polyamide 11. It’s a form of nylon, that we reduce into powder to print objects.“
The day closed with a talk between Eva Chen, Director of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram and blogger Camille Charrière on how Instagram changed fashion, followed by a historical presentation of fashion designers’ cultural inspirations, by Olivier Saillard, Director of Palais Galliera, Paris’ Fashion Museum.
For more insights, head to our Twitter feed ;-).