‘Fashion is dead’, declared preeminent trend forecaster Li Edelkoort earlier this month. The statement held within it an array of creative and economic questions for the state of the global fashion industry, and subsequently resounded across digital and social media. But the business of fashion continues to thrive, grow and articulate itself with increasing accuracy and the recent Business Seminar at this year’s Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s was no exception.
The unique event brought together global leaders in fashion to share their insight with the local industry. Last Tuesday, 17 March, generated a lively discussion from – among others – ‘party man’ and journalist-at-large, Derek Blasberg, designer, and CEO of Georg Jensen, David Chu, as well as retailer cum e-tailer Ruth Chapman of MATCHESFASHION.COM. Guests brought with them insight across sectors of the industry but ultimately conveyed a message that innovative design and quality of content should be at the core of any fashion business.
Here in Melbourne, the face of retail has undergone cosmetic surgery, with mass-market imports like COS, Zara, H&M and Uniqlo setting up shop last year. In this light, the event brought a fresh global perspective for local retailers and fashion businesses. Terms like ‘DNA’, ‘design’ and ‘networking’ reoccurred in the morning discussion. David Chu spoke of the ‘right combination between art and science’ and always adhering to the essence of a brand, in his case, Georg Jensen. Ruth Chapman gave us the take-away ‘think globally, act locally’, generated from her retail business which aimed to build local talent to a global stage. She quoted success stories Marques ‘ Almeida and Rachel Comey, among others. And, following a Powerpoint presentation on his social life – featuring Justin Bieber to Alexa Chung, Derek Blasberg offered insight on the new, dynamic ‘modern professional’, someone who’s office exists anywhere there’s Wifi.
Maybe, after all, fashion isn’t dead, it’s just changed its DNA.
It is hard to believe the 2015 Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival is nearing the end but wow …