Fashion Innovation Week
On Monday, April 1st 2019, the first day of Fashion Innovation Week took place in Lugano. This is the second instalment of its kind and due to its continuous success it looks like it’s an event that will only gain more notoriety and importance over time. As Master students of Digital Fashion Communication we were fortunate enough to be granted access to the opening day of this incredible event.
The event took place in the beautiful LAC Museum by the lake of Lugano, which was most definitely the perfect location.The day was filled with exciting industry talks and informational company booths. We walked around, networked, learned about the most exciting digital advancements in the fashion field and, most importantly, listened to panels and discussions straight from the horse’s mouth : the industry experts.
Here are our favourite talks from that day and what our team thought about them:
Google, a Global Enabler of Fashion Innovation | Alessandra Domizi | GOOGLE
Alessandra Domizi from Google Italia had one of the most inspirational talks for me during the Fashion Innovation Week. Google has developed far from just a web browser and search engine now they are developing not only useful marketing and various assistance for the brands but also when it comes to driving upcoming trends and empowering consumers. Two particularly exciting projects developed using machine learning; Art Palette and collaboration with BoF to create a visual and interactive archive of last our years of fashion shows. I’ve always wanted to work for Google, and her talk truly inspired me for considering them as one of the future paths to further develop my fashion career.
The new role of retail in a digitalised world | Antonio Carriero | BREITLING
We had a pleasure to meet and listen to Mr. Antonio Carriero who is the Chef Digital & Technology Officer at Breitling - the well known Swiss luxury watch manufacturer. He specialises in delivering digital solutions and creating e-Commerce platforms, which he implemented in the EU, America, China, and Japan.
He explained today’s market and how it works, also compared it with the market from a few years ago. Where he had shown us the differences that happened within a few years. The example we have seen is that people would go to a BMW car dealership to drive a car and see in person before purchasing it. Before 2011, people would go about 4 times to check out a car in person. In 2011 those visits reduced to 1.5, and in 2018 there is none. Mainly, because of the digitalization that happened in the company that resulted in a new way of selling cars which is time efficient and sustainable. Also, we have seen the example of buying groceries via social media named "Twitch" in Asia. Which mainly have shown us problems that occurred while trying to adapt to digital payments.
Venture Capital: Investigating in early stage high-tech start-ups | Jacqueline Ruedin Rüsch | PRIVILÈGE MANAGEMENT SA
During Jacqueline Ruedin Rüsch talk she advised investors on who to invest in, but for all the budding entrepreneurs in our class, we took her tips and made sure to implement them into our own business ideas on how to impress investors. A big tip she shared was the power of teams, investors are advised to look for startups that have at least teams of 2 or 3, preferably 4 that way the ideas are challenged and improved within the startup. Like the famous quote, “if you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far, go together,” so gather your friends and change the world, we’ll be waiting to report about it!
Made for Change: how sustainability can drive meaningful and lasting changes | Anna Maria Rugarli | VF
Among the many brands present at the event was also the VF Corporation, a fashion group based in Stabio, which is close to Lugano.
A very inspiring talk I attended was “Made for Change: how sustainability can drive meaningful and lasting changes” by Anna Maria Rugarli, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility Director, EMEA.
As the name implies, the topic was about the Made for Change strategy VF is currently implementing, to become a more sustainable company. As Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility Director, Anna Maria plays a big role in promoting and surveying this strategy.
The program exists of three main pillars, which are all helping to transform the business and find sustainable solutions by 2030.
Each pillar contributes to the transformation in many ways, which Anna Maria explained in detail during her talk and that are being outlined below.
While we can, unfortunately, observe many greenwashing practices in the fashion domain, I personally believe and trust in VF’s program. The organization speaks of itself as a purpose led company and commits itself to act along this
purpose: “We power movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and our planet.” As Martino Scabbia Guerrini, Group President, EMEA in one of the opening speeches said, we live in a fast and secret less world. To survive as a business in this world, companies have to walk their talk, which the VF Corporation seems to take very seriously.
“We power movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and our planet.”
How to turn the most successful fashion & lifestyle blog into an inspiration commerce platform? | Laura Mehler | HIGHSNOBIETY
Highsnobiety has been around for 14 years and managed to transform itself from a one-man blog to a full blown company that employs around 170 people today. For those who are not familiarised with the digital publication, it has easily become one of the authorities in the streetwear-meets-luxury sector - a trend that overtime has crossed-over from niche to mainstream, with the likes of Virgil Abloh as creative director of major houses such as Louis Vuitton, or Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga.
Laura Mehler did a great job introducing the brand, conveying its core message and showcasing its competitive edge in the field. Highsnobiety has a deep understanding of their audience’s wants and they are using that advantage of insight & connection and converting it into eCommerce. This is an exceptionally interesting move as it is more commonly done the other way around: e-commerce channels turn into publication as it is the case of Net-a-Porter. The new phase of the brand will consist of curated products, most likely exclusive to Highsnobiety, from a variety of brands that align with the company’s values and is exciting to their audience. These collaborations will go through a teasing phase before made available for purchase for a week’s time only. Highsnobiety calls it one week, one brand, one story. Not only will items be exclusively sold on the platform but the chosen brand will also have a major spotlight throughout that week. Although the content platform caters to a somewhat niche audience they do have different segments within that pool - different age groups, taste, income, etc. It will be interesting to see the variation in brands chosen to appeal to the diversified customer based they have.
Highsnobiety eCommerce launches in May, and we are all hyped for its debut.
From pioneering to continuous learning, growing and repeating | Patrycja Krol & Elisabeth Hovius | PVH
PVH is the company that is behind many big, global brands like Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein. As one of the first brands PVH has launched a webshop that is not made for their consumers but for the businesses that directly work with them. This digital transformation enables a smarter and faster communication between the retailers and PVH. In the next years PVH is working on digitalizing their whole selling journey.
Super interesting to see how digitalization influences the whole process from production to actual sales! We’re looking forward to hearing how they will have achieved their goal at FIW 2020!
Culture of innovation / Building the FashionTech hub of Europe | Closing Roundtable
As for me, I enjoyed the last panel of the day in which Luca Lo Curzio (from ZEGNA), Davide Corniolo (from HUGO BOSS), Prof. Cantoni, Prof. Carpanzano and Carlo Terreni offered a wrap up of the day. What really appealed to me is that they mentioned Universities and students, especially female students, in their talk about the future of fashion. Including young people, soon to be professionals, like us in this kind of events is to me necessary and I’m thankful I’ve been part of this experience!
We would like to say thank you again to NetComm Suisse and the Università della Svizzera italiana for the amazing opportunity they have given us, as well as congratulate them for pulling off yet again an incredible event.
If you would like to take a look at more pictures from the event or have more information on upcoming events, please visit Fashion Innovation Week page.