The Business of Fashion Podcast
The Business of Fashion Podcast
About The Business of Fashion Podcast
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.” Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Tom Ford’s new creative director opens up to Imran Amed about his progression in the fashion industry and his first womenswear collection for the brand. Background: When Tom Ford started his namesake brand in 2004, his longtime deputy at Gucci Peter Hawkings was his first call — and his first employee. Fast-forward to April 2023, Hawkings’ phone rang again. Only this time, Ford said he was stepping down and putting Hawkings forward for the top job. “I didn't sleep for the first two nights. It was crazy,” Hawkings said of his reaction to the news that he would step into his longtime boss’ shoes and become creative director of the eponymous brand he created. “But after all of that subsided, I realised that Tom [Ford] was giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. And I am, to this day, super grateful to him for giving me this chance to continue the legacy.” This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed sits down with Hawkings, the new creative director of Tom Ford following his runway debut at Milan Fashion Week to discuss his origins and journey into the fashion industry — and his plans to continue the Tom Ford legacy. Key Insights: It was in 1998 that Hawkings first met Ford, after finishing his master's course at Central Saint Martins. The then-24-year-old applied to the assistant menswear designer position at Gucci, where Ford was the brand's creative director. This would launch a 25-year partnership with the two designers and eventually lead to Hawkings becoming the creative director of the Tom Ford brand. Hawkings, who previously designed Tom Ford’s menswear collections, said that he leaned on his wife when designing womenswear for the first time. “It's been invaluable, you know, having that conversation with her. Her trying clothing on, trying shoes on … for me, it's so important, comfort and fit and all of those elements that are so important when you're designing for a woman,” says Hawkings. During Hawkings’ career, he had the opportunity to learn from not just Ford, but also other fashion talents, such as British designer Louise Wilson, who was one of his professors at Central Saint Martins. “I always go back … to the advice that Louise [Wilson] always gave me, which was one: work hard, absorb knowledge and give knowledge, understand what manners are and deploy them. Take risks. Failure is okay. You can learn from failure, for sure. Have at least one skill and develop it,” says Hawkings. Additional Resources: Peter Hawkings Named Creative Director of Tom Ford: With the sale to Estée Lauder complete, Tom Ford’s longtime colleague and collaborator will take the creative helm at his namesake brand. The Miuccia-ness of Prada, the Gucci-ness of Tom Ford: Brand DNA is marketing speak until it isn’t, as the latest Prada and Tom Ford collections proved. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed speaks to veteran modelling agent Chris Gay to understand the shifting power dynamics in the modelling industry and how models can build a career that stands the test of time. Background: In the sometimes fickle and murky world of fashion modelling, the most successful models are taking control of their careers by bypassing the gatekeepers and creating direct relationships with customers, building and engaging their own fanbase. “If you want real longevity in this business, you need to be building your community. It’s community that creates staying power,” says Chris Gay, co-chief executive officer of Elite World Group and president of The Society Management, which is marking its tenth anniversary this year. This week on The BoF Podcast, Gay sits down with BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed to discuss the shifting power dynamics in the modelling industry and why developing a point-of-view, something that a model becomes known for, is the key to long-term success. Key Insights: The rise of social media has benefitted models who no longer have to rely on runway shows and brand campaigns to stay relevant. Models can now connect with their fans and followers directly on Instagram or TikTok. “Talent is no longer beholden to anybody. They have real power in their hands. So if you're not chosen for this particular fashion show … that doesn't mean momentum stops for you,” says Gay. Social media platforms also help models create business relationships without the help of fashion’s traditional players. “It was a very small strategic group of gatekeepers in fashion that had an extraordinary amount of influence over all talents. … Now, it's entirely changed,” he says. The power dynamics are shifting in other ways too. For some companies, working on a social ad with a well-known talent like Kendall Jenner or Liu Wen can have a bigger impact than a traditional ad campaign. “The next 10 years is really going to be about talent being a more effective and a more strategic distribution channel for everyone,” says Gay. Gay’s advice to talent looking to break into the industry is twofold: build deep knowledge of the fashion industry and cultivate a style that essentially becomes your trademark. “Care about fashion. … It has nothing to do with the price of the items that you buy. But it really has to do with understanding collective style and what your own individual sense of style is,” he explains. Additional Resources: New Chinese Models Are Reshaping Global Runways: Local agencies are signing more models that don’t have classical Han Chinese features with knock-on effects for who gets cast by megabrands in Europe and the US. Models, the New Power Publishers: Social media has turned fashion models into powerful digital publishers, some of whom have far larger audiences than brands or traditional magazines. BoF 500 | The People Shaping the Global Fashion Industry Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
As London Fashion Week kicks off, BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed sits down with four London-based creative talents to explore how the city’s rich creative scene stems from its unique cultural diversity and the sense of community and collaboration this provides. Background: With over 300 languages spoken within its city limits — more than any other metropolis — London has cemented its place among the world’s most global cities. This has boosted its reputation not only as a creative hub, but also as a source of inspiration for creatives around the world working in sectors from fashion and media to music and art. “London has a rich Diasporic culture, and it's where… you have the opportunity to build a community around you,” says fashion designer Jawara Alleyne. “London, being such a vast city, gives that space [for] these multiple different cultures that are existing on top of each other and inspiring each other and feeding off of each other.” This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed chats with four exciting Londoners shaping the city’s creative scene. Alleyne joins conceptual artist Amber Pinkerton, musician Bradley Miller and Dazed editorial director Kacion Mayers to discuss their experiences of living, working and creating in London and to hear their advice for other creatives looking for their big break. Key Insights: London’s history of thriving subcultures has helped create an inclusive community spirit, says Alleyne, where “the people around you actually have a shared experience that you can amplify. You're no longer just speaking for yourself, you're speaking for all of the other groups of people who feel the same way that you feel.” Creatives starting out in London should channel their inner courage, says Pinkerton. “Don't be afraid to approach people or bother them… not being afraid to ask for advice, not being afraid to also get… feedback or criticism about things,” she says. Boldness alone isn’t enough, Mayers believes. “You need to really find your community, hone in on that and just work with each other and build on each other and create with each other and stay true to what you want to communicate and what you want to create,” he says. Mayers added that his own London community is a frequent reference in his work. “I always want to reflect back to the community. I always want people to open Dazed and… see things that they can recognise and see things that's aspirational… And I think that's key to a lot of people’s success, just being able to reflect a reality,” he says. Miller believes the industries that hindered creatives of colour in the past need to change if they want to remain relevant. “These systems and infrastructures… have to adapt to what we're [industry creatives of colour] doing because this is what's happening right now. For them to be relevant or seem to be functioning, they have to [provide] support in these things that are happening in their city,” says Miller. Additional Resources: Meet the Creative Agency Behind Those Viral Dazed Covers: New School, a agency out of London reps a fast-rising group of tight-knit creatives, including members of the teams behind last fall’s Dazed covers featuring Rihanna and Harry Styles, campaigns for Apple and Klarna, and a show for Thebe Magugu. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The founder of the streetwear sensation broke into fashion thanks not only to his steely determination and breakthrough creative ideas, but also the unwavering support of the community he built from the ground up. Background: Within a decade, Colm Dillane, the New York-based founder and designer of streetwear label KidSuper, went from selling T-shirts to fellow students out of his New York University dorm room to winning the the Karl Lagerfeld Special Jury Prize at the LVMH Prize in 2021 and designing a one-off menswear collection for Louis Vuitton. But it wasn’t a straight shot to success. The now 32-year-old has had to learn the ropes of fashion the hard way, maxing out his bank account, taking risk after risk to figure out how to transform his creativity into a bonafide business. Through it all, Dillane has focused on community-building as an end goal. “It's always funny when brands reach out to me and they're like, ‘We love the community you created’. I would always be like, ‘They're creating community to sell product. I was selling product to create community. What are you doing this for? If it's not to meet interesting people?” says Dillane. This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed sits down with Dillane to discuss his journey as a designer and his lessons for emerging fashion designers and entrepreneurs. Key Insights: Dillane came from outside fashion, and from the start, has used his creativity to get the industry’s attention. “When I was young, [I felt] the fashion industry was the most elitist, stand-offish, impossible thing to break into,” he recalls. But in navigating his way further into the industry, he saw that “creativity and new ideas are embraced and supported and championed more so than I thought they would be,” When musicians started asking about the brand, Dillane didn’t simply ship off his T-shirts, hoodies and hats to them. Rather he wanted to build a relationship. “I always wanted to meet people, so I would never send clothing, I would send myself,” he says, recalling how meeting the late rapper Mac Miller in person led to one of the brand’s first breaks — with the musician sporting a KidSuper hat on an album cover. Even amid the big breaks, perseverance is critical, he says. In 2019, he thought his brand would catapult to fame overnight after receiving a rave review in Vogue following his first show, a hastily produced off-calendar event during Paris Fashion Week. The reality was different. “I get this amazing review… I'm now a superstar designer. [But] nothing changes in my life,” recalls Dillane. The designer didn’t give up — “I’m not a quitter” — and by 2021, KidSuper held its first official PFW show, “Everything’s Fake Until It’s Real.” Dillane believes young designers can look to KidSuper for inspiration. “I've never deleted an Instagram post, so you can scroll down and see like me buying my first sewing machine or and kind of chronologically follow how I got here,” he says. “I think it's pretty cool for how far I've gotten.” Additional Resources: Louis Vuitton Taps KidSuper Designer Colm Dillane For Next Menswear Collection: Designer Colm Dillane, whose label KidSuper won LVMH’s Karl Lagerfeld Prize in 2021, has “embedded” with Louis Vuitton’s menswear studio in recent months to help design its men’s collection set to be revealed 19 January. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Ahead of New York Fashion Week, The Washington Post’s Rachel Tashjian speaks with BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed about how the industry is changing post-pandemic. Background: There's a good reason why New York Fashion Week isn’t the all important agenda-setter it once was, according to Rachel Tashjian, a fashion writer for The Washington Post. US consumers, she says, now take their fashion cues from influencers and social media as much as they do the runway. “Some of the more interesting things happening in American fashion are just outside of fashion week,” says Tashjian. “I just wonder if American designers feel like, is this [New York Fashion Week] really worth it for me to be doing? Is this where my audience is?” This week on The BoF Podcast, Imran Amed, BoF’s founder and editor-in-chief, sits down with Tashjian to discuss her perspective on the state of the fashion industry today and her expectations for the evolution of NYFW in a post-Covid world. Key Insights: As some established brands look beyond NYFW to connect with customers to showcase their designs, Tashjian believes this shift has opened up space for emerging designers. “These smaller or more emerging brands are dominating [NYFW] because we don't have a lot of the larger brands showing,” says Tashjian. That relationship will be seen up-close at NYFW this season, Tashjian predicts. Because of the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, which leaves actors unable to promote their films, Tashjian says celebrities will dominate the front row. “This is going to be kind of an unprecedented season in terms of celebrity presence at fashion week because, with the strikes going on, these are things that celebrities can promote these relationships that they have with fashion brands,” she says. How celebrities embrace fashion can impact how the public perceives them, as well, says Tashjian. “Fashion has this really interesting ability to recontextualise someone we think we know really well,” she says. “Margot Robbie during the Barbie Press tour, wearing these fun, campy Schiaparelli [looks] and hot pink Chanel. All of a sudden we're thinking, ‘Oh, this is a woman who has a really fun and playful understanding of fashion.’” Tashjian believes the role of fashion criticism is different than it was in years past. “Perhaps because of the availability of fashion, we need critics more than ever before,” she says. “I think about my role as to provide an insider perspective or context. I was actually at this show and here's how it felt to be sitting in that room.” Tashjian is also known for her newsletter, Opulent Tips, which she began when she was working at GQ. In the newsletter she discussed womenswear, products and smaller brands she admired. “I felt like it could be kind of fun to have a little space where I can talk about those things and maybe introduce those brands to some people who maybe wouldn't come across them,” she says. Additional Resources: The BoF Podcast | Karl Lagerfeld at the Met: Designer, Polymath, Jigsaw Puzzle: Andrew Bolton’s latest curatorial miracle celebrates the creative process of one of fashion’s greatest icons. Bolton sits down with Tim Blanks for BoF’s latest podcast. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Darnell Strom’s professional path has wound its way from politics to Hollywood, a trajectory that started with several globe-trotting years working for former US President Bill Clinton. As partner and head of culture and leadership at entertainment agency UTA today Strom represents totemic cultural figures including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai and Edward Enninful, the outgoing editor-in-chief of British Vogue, as well as Gisele Bundchen and Michaela Cole. The breadth of his client roster reflects Strom’s thesis that captivating, culturally impactful people can come from anywhere. “My definition of talent isn't just an actor, a musician and an athlete,” he says. “It's also a well-known politician or an incredible activist or a rock star CEO or someone in fashion, an artist … I want to be able to represent all those people.” This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed sits down with Strom to discuss what his career has taught him about the power of creativity and cultural convergence – and the opportunities this is creating for top talents. Key Insights: It was a conversation with the late fashion designer Virgil Abloh that inspired Strom to think differently about his work as an agent and seek out clients from all types of industries. He recalls Abloh telling him: “You should be representing people like me, people who are multi-hyphenate, people who understand that there are no walls between these worlds of culture.” Strom believes social media has irrevocably democratised the entertainment industry, making it possible for even an aspiring filmmaker from anywhere to create a blockbuster movie or a fashion trend that stems from a single post. “As you look at the marketplace, both in fashion and entertainment and media, everything is moving at such a fast rate. And if you're doing the job the same way you did 10 years ago, you're going to get left behind,” he says. Strom believes the changes we are seeing is just the start of a bigger journey. “I think the future of culture is convergence, which we're seeing now. But I think it's just the beginning of it. I think the next 10 years are going to be fascinating,” says Strom. Additional Resources: Darnell Strom to Lead UTA’s Newly Created Culture and Leadership Division: Political staffer turned Hollywood rep joins entertainment agency UTA to head its new culture and leadership division. What the Hollywood Strike Means for Fashion: While red carpets have momentarily dried up for brands and stylists, the SAG and WGA’s simultaneous strikes pose an unlikely opportunity for fashion companies to tap celebrity talent. To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Mo Gawdat, an artificial intelligence expert and former chief business officer of Google X, explains how humans have the power to turn AI into a positive force that benefits society. Background: Public perception of artificial intelligence ranges widely. Depending on who you’re listening to, it could be a source of unlimited technological potential or a dire threat right out of a science fiction novel. According to Mo Gawdat, the former chief business officer for Google X, concerns about AI are valid. But fears that AI will turn against humanity are misguided. Rather, says Gawdat, we have an opportunity to teach AI to be a force for good. "If 1 percent of us, only 1 percent of humanity... show the good side of us in front of those machines, those machines will be intelligent enough to say humanity is a divine being,” Gawdat said at BoF VOICES 2022. This week on The BoF Podcast, Gawdat discusses the future of AI and why ethics are crucial to managing its development. Key Insights: As AI continues to evolve at a startling pace, Gawdat believes it will surpass human intelligence in the next few years. “My prediction is that [in] 2049, AI will be a billion times smarter than humans… It's a comparison between the intelligence of Einstein and the intelligence of a fly. And we are the fly,” says Gawdat. Gawdat compares humanity’s relationship with AI to that of a parent and child. The technology has the potential to be greater than its creators, but like a child, it needs a positive influence to grow. Gawdat believes humanity can teach AI morals and ethics that are in society’s best interest. “If we start to look at those machines as a new form of artificial being, a form of being that's going to come into our society, then the question that we need to ask is a question of ethics. It's not a question of control,” says Gawdat. Gawdat believes humans can show AI the positive parts of society, but humanity needs to first understand how to get over its obstacle of negative bias. “The truth of humanity is amazing,” he says. “The only problem we have is we stopped showing that. We just talk about the negativity and the fakeness.” Additional Resources: How AI and Web3 Are Shaping Fashion’s Future: BoF welcomed business leaders, technologists and creative innovators to share their insights on the pivotal technologies shaping the fashion industry. Watch on-demand now. Fashion Execs Can’t Stop Talking About AI: Executives have been highlighting the technology more often on earnings calls, suggesting more businesses are adopting it — and maybe giving it a shoutout to impress investors. Generative AI Won’t Be the End of Human Fashion Designers: Just as photography didn’t spell the extinction of painting, generative AI won’t kill off human designers. It may even create more appreciation for the physical craft of fashion. To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
When Ben Gorham of Byredo and Monique Rodriguez of Mielle Organics sold the businesses they spent years building, the financial milestone was just the culmination of more meaningful professional journeys that began with a clear sense of purpose. Background: Beauty founders Ben Gorham of fragrance label Byredo, and Monique Rodriguez of hair care brand Mielle Organics, both took their businesses from indie beauty darlings with cult followings to high-profile exits to major conglomerates: Byredo sold to Spanish luxury giant Puig for $1 billion in 2022, while Procter & Gamble bought Mielle Organics earlier this year. But the two founders didn’t start their businesses with the sole focus of cashing in quickly. “We live in a climate where expectations are that you start a company and you build it to great heights, and then you sell it, and you make lots of money. And this is how we define success stories,” said Gorham. “For me, for many years, it was really about just the craft. It was really about the product. It was really about learning how to operate a business.” As Rodriguez learned after building a loyal customer base, a sale impacts many other stakeholders. “When you build a brand in the Black community, it's not my brand, it's their brand,” said Rodriguez. Yet she doesn’t downplay the personal importance of the exit. “It's a true testament to — especially as a Black woman, a woman of colour — what we build is very valuable… I didn't grow up seeing this. So to accomplish just having a conversation [with investors, including P&G] was rewarding for me,” she said. This week on The BoF Podcast, Gorham and Rodriguez sit down with Priya Rao, executive editor of The Business of Beauty, to share how they navigate entrepreneurship and success in a conversation from The Business of Beauty Global Forum 2023. Key Insights: Rodriguez started Mielle to fill a void in hair care that she and other Black customers faced. “As a consumer myself, I saw that there was a lack of relatability. I thought that there was a lack of education. I felt that there was no brand that understood my needs as a natural hair consumer,” she said. Gorham also sought to fill an underserved market with Byredo. “The idea of luxury and the culture of luxury didn't speak to people that looked like me or grew up like me or came from my culture [with a Canadian father and Indian mother, growing up in Sweden]. So I set out to kind of redefine what that could mean as a brand,” said Gorham. When her start-up was ready to explore being part of a larger company, Rodriguez said it was important that she was clear what she wanted — and didn’t want — from Mielle’s suitor. “As you find a partner, it's like a marriage, right? And you don't want to get divorced… So it was really important that my partners understood where we were trying to go and did not want to disrupt what we knew we were already good at,” she said. Being part of a larger company and maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit are not mutually exclusive… My mother grew up in a garage in Mumbai. To say that the financial milestone or the monetary aspect wasn’t important… would be a lie.” said Gorham. “Selling kind of implies that I wouldn't be there or that I would exit… even though that’s the mechanical trigger of the transaction, my role is still intact. I continue to work night and day as I’ve done over this journey,” he said. Additional Resources: The Business of Beauty Global Forum: Where Will Growth Come From? Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The co-founder and chief innovation officer of the Nasdaq-listed sneaker brand reflects on how his previous career in sports prepared him professionally and personally for leading a company through both the highs and the lows. Background: When Tim Brown stepped away from his role as co-chief executive at Allbirds in May, the footwear retailer that he co-founded seven years ago was losing its sheen as the sustainability-focused direct-to-consumer darling that once enraptured investors. Its first full-year results since its Nasdaq flotation in November 2021 revealed a series of setbacks, from a poorly executed expansion into adjacent products like apparel to losing relevance with its core customers, leading to net losses of $101.35 million. The testing of Allbirds’ team since the IPO has often seemed relentless yet, according to Brown, it’s an opportunity to draw on inner strengths to excel as a leader. “[R]ising and falling is just a part of the journey,” he wrote in a recent post on LinkedIn in which he also shared an article by a team of business reporters that laid bare Allbirds’ challenges. Rather than criticising the article, he said he saw it as a reminder that “you are never as good or as bad as they say you are (this helped me a lot during my football career), and that all of my best work has come when I've been written off.” This week on The BoF Podcast, Brown speaks with BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed on how his journey from the football pitch to the corporate boardroom has shown him why leaders of young brands like him need to keep a resilient entrepreneurial mindset even in adversity. Key Insights: The football pitch served as a training ground to cope with “an even more pressurised environment as an entrepreneur,” Brown said. “Sport teaches you to trust the process and to hold a long-term view, knowing that in the fullness of time that hard work usually is rewarded,” he said. Brown believes entrepreneurs need to find time to take stock, even if it means not working “100%” all of the time. “The most important thing that I've learned as an entrepreneur is not to confuse hard work with the right work.” he said. “You have the ability to maintain your focus on something for a longer period of time by just pulling back a little bit. And that space allows you the perspective to see something for what it is, which is a journey with steps forward and steps back.” When reflecting on the setbacks Allbirds has faced in recent times, Brown said that instead of searching to understand what he could have done differently, he wants to look forward. The key now, he said, is “get really, really clear on the things that we do better than anyone is the process that we're in.” Additional Resources: Tim Brown on Allbirds’ Sustainable Footwear Revolution: Allbirds co-founder and co-CEO discusses how his high-risk strategy has created a sustainable brand that is disrupting the established footwear market. The Rise and Fall of Allbirds: The sneaker brand's comeback plan includes refocusing on its core consumer and a carbon-negative shoe. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Kering’s new deputy CEO of brand development shares her luxury brand management playbook in this archive interview with Imran Amed from BoF VOICES 2018. Background: Last week, Francesca Belletini was appointed deputy CEO of brand development at Kering, making her arguably the most powerful female fashion executive in the luxury sector. As part of her new role, not only will she retain her position as CEO of Saint Laurent, she will also oversee Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen. It was at Saint Laurent, where the former investment banker cemented her reputation for razor-sharp merchandising strategies that married seamlessly with the work of creative director Anthony Vaccarello. “When you clarify the brand positioning, then everything comes together,” said Bellettini, on revitalising the Saint Laurent brand. “People recognise the authenticity in the way that we do that.” BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed sat down with Bellettini at BoF VOICES 2018 to discuss how she balances the priorities of fostering creativity, cultivating customers and running a profitable business. Key Insights: Credited for growing Saint Laurent into a multi-billion-euro powerhouse, Bellettini believes that a key is to connect with customers in their home markets. "I'm a huge believer of building business first with local clients. Conquer a consumer at home, then when they travel, they follow," she said. Another key is authenticity. “It's better to present yourself the way you really are… Be authentic. If they choose you, they remain with you,” said Belletini on the importance of building meaningful relationships with customers. At Saint Laurent, Bellettini had a clear vision for growing both the top and bottom lines, “but in reality it's the profit that makes your business sustainable," she explained. Striking a balance between growth and continuing to resonate as a brand is top of mind for Bellettini. “How do we remain relevant? How do we continue growing without compromising on the positioning of the brand? How do we continue to launch a successful product?” she asked. Additional Resources: Who Should Be Gucci’s New CEO?: Following this week’s announcement that longtime Gucci chief Marco Bizzarri will exit the company in September, Imran Amed shares his top picks for one of the top jobs in the global luxury industry. As Gucci’s CEO Steps Down, Saint Laurent’s Chief Steps Up: Marco Bizzarri led the Italian luxury giant through a historic expansion before the business struggled to bounce back from the pandemic. Parent company Kering announced the move as part of a broader executive shakeup after which Saint Laurent CEO Francesca Bellettini will oversee all the group’s brands. How Saint Laurent Became a $3 Billion Powerhouse: Chief executive Francesca Bellettini breaks down how she worked with designer Anthony Vaccarello to double sales in 5 years, leaning into an amped-up take on Parisian glamour, seasonless merchandising and a rapid expansion in leather goods. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
What do Poolside FM and Isamaya Beauty have in common? Their founders have created brands with unique yet relatable identities. Background: Isamaya Ffrench, makeup artist and founder of Isamaya Beauty, and Marty Bell, co-founder of sunscreen brand Vacation (and Poolside FM), both took unconventional routes to turning their products into veritable brands. Vacation began as a spinoff of the internet radio station inspired by summer tunes of the 1980s, Meanwhile, Ffrench’s brand sparked attention for her new Lips line’s penis-shaped lipstick cases. Bold and risky in equal measure, these moves laid the groundwork for their businesses while giving their brands personalities and spark. “If you're strong enough to have a vision and get a brand off the ground, you know what your audience wants,” said Ffrench. “Do the things that feel natural and right, because it's when you start doing the things that the CMO tells you you have to do and you feel awkward about it… no one's going to want your product because it doesn't look authentic.” This week on The BoF Podcast, Bell and Ffrench speak with BoF founder Imran Amed about the power of brand building and how founders can inject their own personalities into their products to make them recognisable and memorable. Key Insights: Ffrench advises founders to scrutinise conventional wisdom about how to launch a brand rather than trusting their instincts and vision. “It's really about taking things [advice] with a pinch of salt, but following your gut and your spirit and doing what feels right for you and your brand,” she says. According to Bell, people gravitate towards brands that are a reflection of their founders’ personalities and beliefs. “Some of the best brands in the early stages are just true personifications of their founders… That’s very hard to compete with if you don’t have someone who has a view on the world and a perspective,” Bell explains. Ffrench believes large beauty corporations struggle creating an authentic brand identity because they focus on numbers rather than forming a connection with customers. “You lose the essence, you lose the integrity and the artistry because that takes time and money and spirit,” Ffrench observes. Bell says the key to creating an authentic brand is finding an idea or aesthetic you’re interested in and creating the product line around it. “If you're not deeply passionate about the world that you're going to build [with your brand], you need to find someone who can be obsessive,” Bell says. Additional Resources: The Business of Beauty Global Forum: How Do We Create Connection? During the third session of The Business of Beauty Global Forum, Pamela Anderson, Isayama Ffrench and Glossier chief executive Kyle Leahy unpacked how to build unique brands and drive authentic relationships with customers. Sunscreen Brand Vacation Takes Its Miami Pool Party Vibe to the Suburbs: Following a $6 million Series A funding round, the sunscreen brand prepares to move past its club of creative clientele and reach the masses. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The celebrated menswear designer joins BoF’s Imran Amed to discuss the evolution of his career in fashion from selling secondhand clothes to building his own brands. Background: At first glance, Oliver Spencer’s story might seem like a fashion fairytale. In just a matter of a few years, he went from selling secondhand garments in a stall on London’s Portobello Road to seeing actors wearing his bespoke waistcoats in the 1994 film “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” putting his formalwear label Favourbrook into the spotlight. But in the subsequent years, Spencer faced the challenges that come with running an independent fashion brand: from debt to self-doubt while aiming to reach profitability milestones. “Small is beautiful. You have to have a certain amount of business turnover to get to these levels, but you don’t need hundreds of millions [of dollars] to run a profitable brand,” says Spencer. Key Insights: The British designer’s formalwear background — which includes creating looks for highbrow events like the Royal Ascot — informed his approach to menswear, even given today’s inclinations for toned-down dressing. “Just because you’re wearing casual, doesn’t mean you’re not dressing right,” says Spencer. Even as consumer preferences change, however, Spencer believes it’s just as critical to maintain clear sight of the brand’s original vision as it is to evolve it. “I will have one foot stuck in the past and the rest of my body walking into the future,” he said. As a small brand, storytelling and working with the right wholesale partners go hand in hand. “The wrong wholesale partner can send the wrong message,” said Spencer. Spencer has ADHD and dyslexia, which he says creates both challenges and opportunities. “You understand how to deal with problems and you understand how to work out a problem in a different way… You can see things in a problem that other people can’t see.” Additional Resources: To watch “Four Weddings and a Funeral” click here. Explainer — Why the Menswear Market Is on Fire: From the rise of work from home to the decline of streetwear, BoF unpacks what’s driving the “unprecedented” boom in the men’s market. Where Does the Suit Fit into the Modern Wardrobe? The fate of the traditional suit was already in question long before the pandemic. Where does the market go from here? To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
British fashion designer Samuel Ross opens up to BoF editor-in-chief Imran Amed about his work to foster more diversity in fashion. Background: Creative industries still have a long way to go before they become truly inclusive, according to Samuel Ross, designer and founder of London-based fashion label A-Cold-Wall and industrial and product design studio SR_A. “There's not enough diversity in the sector for high achievers who should be there,” he said to BoF founder and editor-in-chief Imran Amed on stage at WPP Stream, during the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. This week on The BoF Podcast, Amed and Ross explore the designer’s creative processes, his approach to engaging younger customers as well as his mission to build a more inclusive creative sector. Key Insights: As a multi-disciplinary artist, working in fields ranging from architecture to furniture design, Ross takes a “democratic approach” to his work. “I try not to operate across a hierarchy when it comes to creativity. I care as much about the texture of a raw cut glass as… I do about the reverence of a chapel,” he says. He also leans into technology — be it through gaming or augmented reality — to create experiences that resonate with younger consumers. “We're using [digital] play as a handshake with the audience base to get onto those channels and to build a new relationship through product and add new characteristics to product,” explains Ross. Social media also enables Ross to forge an organic connection with his community of followers. When the designer posted about A-Cold-Wall’s most recent Nike collaboration on Instagram, for example, it garnered more than 24,000 likes in 17 hours. “It's really about driving the founder-consumer connection where possible,” said Ross. It was after sharing his thoughts on the fashion industry’s inclusivity shortcomings on social media that Ross decided to be more proactive about enabling change in the industry by creating concrete opportunities for people traditionally excluded from the industry through the Samuel Ross Black British Artist Grant Programme, which provides funding and mentorship to young designers, artists and other creatives. “I had to look in the mirror and say, ‘Well, what am I actually going to do about this?’ he says. Additional Resources: A-Cold-Wall Founder Samuel Ross Returns With More Grants for Black British Creatives: British fashion designer, Samuel Ross created a fund to help Black creatives and startups establish themselves in the fashion industry. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
At The Business of Beauty Global Forum, activist and author Schuyler Bailar shared his journey to understanding beauty and self-acceptance as a biracial, transgender man. Background: For Schuyler Bailar, an activist, author and the first openly transgender NCAA Division I swimmer in the US, finding a sense of belonging hasn’t always been easy. Bailar realised being accepted by society wasn’t as important as accepting himself. “Belonging is not something that's going to be given to me. It's something that I have to find on my own,” said Bailar at The Business of Beauty Global Forum 2023. This week on The BoF Podcast, Bailar opens up about his own experiences with the pressures to conform to Eurocentric and cisgender beauty ideals as a biracial, transgender man, how he discovered his path to self-acceptance and why he wants others to be able to do the same. Key Insights: From an early age, Bailar was acutely aware of the negative role the beauty industry and society as a whole can play in shaping an individual’s perception of belonging and self-worth, a deep sense that was shaped by the experiences of his mother as a Korean immigrant growing up in the US. “She tried very hard to fit whatever it was that would make her feel included, which a lot of the time meant bending towards whiteness, bending towards assimilation,” said Bailar. Before he transitioned, Bailar attempted to conform to society’s cisgender expectations of how women should look, which ultimately led him further away from his true self. “I tried so hard to be what society expected of me. What society told me I was: a woman,” said Bailar. “I was trying so hard to figure out how to be this woman, and yet I was miserable.” At his first collegiate swim practice at Harvard University, Bailar said he felt hesitant and scared standing before his teammates in a Speedo, but he found the courage to continue swimming. “I stood alongside all my teammates, none of whom were transgender like me, feeling not beautiful, feeling misshapen, feeling strange, feeling weird, feeling not man enough. But I dove in… and I swam with them anyway,” said Bailar. Since graduating, Bailar has turned his attention to activism, and works to challenge society’s beauty standards. “What I want from the world is for us to be able to dive into a beauty that originates at every single person so that nobody has to stop being themselves, so that nobody has to show up and change who they are in order to feel like they belong,” said Bailar. Additional Resources: Lessons From Day One of The Business of Beauty Global Forum: During BoF’s The Business of Beauty Global Forum, Schuyler Bailar discussed how the beauty industry and Euro-centric standards affected his mother’s childhood and his own. Schuyler Bailar, first trans athlete to compete on a NCAA Division 1 men's team, wants all trans athletes to feel represented: CBS News interviewed Schuyler Bailar about his experience as the first openly transgender athlete to compete on a NCAA Division I men’s team. To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
On both a local and international scale, the Middle East’s fashion industry has seen significant growth thanks to changing regulations and an influx of creatives. Background: Substantial economic activity as well as cultural and regulatory shifts in the Middle East have accelerated the growth of the region’s $89 billion fashion industry. Middle Eastern governments are fostering this expansion as they increasingly encourage creative work from designers, social media influencers and stylists, and a more unified culture emerges across borders, said Rawan Maki, BoF Insights’ associate director of research and analysis. This week on The BoF Podcast, Maki and Marriam Mossalli, founder and chief executive of Niche Arabia, a Saudi Arabia-based luxury communications and marketing agency, join BoF editor-in-chief Imran Amed to discuss BoF Insights’ latest report, “Fashion in the Middle East: Optimism and Transformation” and what’s happening in the region’s fashion scene. Key Insights: According to Mossali, Saudi women’s lives have changed: Women now make up 33 percent of the local workforce, women-owned businesses have increased 60 percent in the past two years, and their involvement in leadership roles has grown. “The biggest change is that it's not just coming from someone in an office saying ‘Look, we're going to open the doors for women,” said Mossali. “Women drive, women can get behind the wheel, making sure that they're directing this change.” With the integration of women into the labour force, fashion in the region has evolved to suit working women’s lives, and trends like “modest wear” have grown. “What we're seeing is its [garments] changing … Light fabrics, shorter, so that it doesn't get caught inside our car door or the wheels of our office chair. It's made now for us with that lifestyle in mind,” said Mossali. Due to increased digital transparency and connectivity, Saudi women are now looking to brands to provide more than accessories to go with their Abayas — a full-length garment some Muslim women wear in public as outerwear, like a coat. “They [customers] want more ready-to-wear, more beauty, they want more shoes,” said Maki. Mossali believes while more flexible government regulations allow brands to create a growing fashion industry in the region, cultivating the business ultimately lies with the private sector. “When it comes to manufacturing, to education, a lot of those initiatives are coming with the support from the government, but they are led by the private sector and private institutions. [The government] is enabling us and empowering us to do those things,” said Mossali. During the discussion, Amed asked Mossali if Saudi Arabia can truly grow a thriving fashion ecosystem, given the criticism the country has received in the past for its stance on LGBTQ issues and the fact that the fashion industry’s workforce historically has high levels of LGBTQ representation. Mossali pointed to the Saudi Tourism Authority website, which says the country now welcomes LGBTQ visitors, and suggested that people wishing to better understand the country to visit in person. Additional Resources: Fashion in the Middle East: Optimism and Transformation | BoF Insights: Shifting consumer behaviours and new government investment strategies have set up the fashion industry in the region to develop in the upcoming years. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The pioneering 89-year-old entrepreneur shares her life story as a child refugee who fled Nazi Germany and created a $3 billion technology company. Background: At BoF VOICES 2022, the pioneering 89-year-old entrepreneur Dame Stephanie Shirley discussed her life working with early computers at the London’s Post Office Research Station and how, against all odds, she created a software company for — and run by — other ambitious women, valued at almost $3 billion. “You could always tell ambitious women by the shape of our heads. They're flat on top and that comes from being patted patronisingly,” said Shirley, describing the sexist work environments of the day. This week on The BoF Podcast, Dame Stephanie discusses the hurdles she had to overcome as a woman in the technology industry, the growth of her influential company, Freelance Programmers, and warns us about the growing power of giant technology companies. Key Insights: Growing up as a child refugee who fled from Nazi Germany Shirley realised that being able to adapt was the key to surviving and thriving. “I realised that change is often welcome indeed, that I could initiate change. And when it was necessary, that sense of personal empowerment took time to develop. But it has never left me,” said Shirley. Freelance Programmers was one of the first software companies that allowed women, who had long left the workforce to create families, to work from home, she explained. “It was a company of women, a company for women, an early social business, a software house which recruited professionally qualified women who had left the industry,” said Shirley. For Shirley, trying to thrive in a male-dominated field like software development, required a little “subterfuge.” After other businesses refused to respond to her letters signed with her name, “Stephanie” Shirley quickly adapted and began signing them as “Steve.” “If I used the family nickname of Steve … customers would not only read them, but pick up the phone to reply. When they discovered that Steve was actually a woman, they were already half hooked,” said Shirley. According to Shirley, as the Internet develops so does the divide between the corporate world and the common Internet user, further widening the gap between the truth and fiction. “Our reliance on digital technology has placed us in the hands of powerful tech innovators and the giant corporations they spawned … They have the power to influence our daily lives in ways few people understand,” said Shirley. Additional Resources: How Technology Can Power a Better Future: During BoF VOICES, The Business of Fashion hosts Dame Stephanie Shirley who discusses her first company, Freelance Programmers and what it was like working in a male dominated industry in the 1960s. Please watch the full interview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoOtQdBod9U To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
At The Business of Beauty Global Forum 2023, Pamela Anderson shared her perspectives on how the definition of beauty — and the beauty business — is changing with Moj Mahdara. Background: “We're all trying to make ourselves beautiful so we are respected, admired, loved. So these products have to come from a loving place. That’s the secret ingredient: having heart,” said Pamela Anderson at The Business of Beauty Global Forum 2023 in Napa Valley, California. This week on The BoF Podcast, Anderson and Moj Mahdara, managing partner and co-founder of Kinship Ventures and co-founder of BeautyUnited, discuss sustainable beauty products, shame and her own beauty and wellness journey. Key Insights: Anderson’s early experiences with beauty go back to her time at the Playboy Mansion, surrounded by beautiful women who were in charge of their own sexuality. There, watching and learning from powerful women, the former Baywatch star was able to grasp her own femininity. “And I just watched. And I want it to be sexy, too. I found that was powerful and interesting,” said Anderson. The beauty industry has been known to shame women for being older and has consistently pushed an anti-ageing agenda. Anderson believes older women shouldn’t chase youth. “I like embracing our age, embracing looking as good as we can, but also being realistic.” Shame and insecurities caused by the beauty industry and Western beauty standards were recurring topics at BoF’s Global Beauty Forum. According to Anderson, she moves past humiliation with poise. “Grace and dignity no matter what: you hold your head high. Everyone has gone through things that are embarrassing or difficult, but we’re all just people,” said Anderson. Anderson imparted one last piece of wisdom to the room of beauty creatives and innovators. “I'm just this imperfect girl from start to finish who wants to do her part and be a good person in the world and share my story,” said Anderson. Additional Resources: The Business of Beauty Global Forum: How Do We Create Connection? During BoF’s first Global Beauty Forum, Pamela Anderson, Isayama Ffrench and Glossier chief executive Kyle Leahy discussed how brands could better capture attention and secure lasting relationships with customers in an oversaturated beauty market. Lessons From Day One of The Business of Beauty Global Forum. Speakers including John Legend and TooD Beauty founder Sharareh Siadat laid out their vision for a more inclusive beauty industry during the first session of The Business of Beauty Global Forum. The Business of Beauty Global Forum: Where Will Growth Come From? During the second session of The Business of Beauty Global Forum, speakers including Sephora Americas chief executive Jean-André Rougeot and Mielle Organics founder Monique Rodriguez charted beauty’s next stage of growth. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
At Egypt Fashion Week, BoF founder Imran Amed shared the origin story of BoF and reflects on the forces that will shape fashion in the coming decade. Background: In the 16 years since he published his first post on The Business of Fashion, Imran Amed has seen the fashion industry try to adapt to adjust to seismic changes in technology, culture and business — and BoF has been a leading voice in guiding the industry through all that change. But he may never have created BoF if it weren’t for the challenges that he was confronting in his own life. “It is in our struggles that we find ourselves — and that we find our purpose,” he says. In this wide-ranging conversation which took place during Egypt Fashion Week, Amed sits down with Malak Fouad, host of the “What I Did Next” podcast to discuss BoF’s early days, Covid-19’s impact on the fashion industry, fashion in the Middle East and the impact of new technologies including the metaverse and artificial intelligence. Key Insights: Amed, left his job as a management consultant and set up an incubator to support young fashion designers. When that project failed, he channelled his energy into the personal blog he had been keeping and called it The Business of Fashion. “It was for my friends and family to see my journey from McKinsey to the fashion world,” says Amed. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Amed saw BoF’s role as providing guidance and information to those working in the fashion industry in the midst of great uncertainty. “I said, we have no idea what's going to happen. Our job is to act as a guide for the industry as we navigate a once-in-a-century global health crisis,” says Amed. Amed advises companies to lean on local expertise to connect with customers and find success in new markets. “[Fashion brands] need to empower local teams so they can create activations, products, experiences that resonate with customers,” says Amed. Amed believes innovations like AI will change how people work in the industry, though fashion will always need creative people “AI has the potential to impact a lot of the parts of the industry that I think people thought were a bit untouchable,” says Amed. Additional Resources: The Fashion Jobs Most Vulnerable to AI: BoF’s Sheena Butler-Young takes readers through the effects AI can have on the fashion industry, and the creative job market. Luxury Adapts to the ‘New Ramadan Rush’: As the Middle Eastern market grows in the fashion industry, luxury brands like: Dior, Fendi and Valentino are adjusting to the change. To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
BoF’s Imran Amed sits down with Priya Rao, executive editor of The Business of Beauty, to go inside the findings of our new report ‘The State of Fashion: Beauty.’ Background: The global beauty industry is booming. “Beauty remains one of the most dynamic, challenging and sought-after industries, much more than other consumer goods — or even fashion,” says Priya Rao, executive editor of The Business of Beauty. “What we've seen is that consumers are so rabid and fervent for their beauty products… and brands are still really excited about bringing a new proposition to market.” This week on The BoF Podcast, editor-in-chief Imran Amed sits down with Rao to break down the five critical themes covered in BoF’s new report, “The State of Fashion: Beauty,” created in partnership with McKinsey & Company. Key Insights: In the oversaturated beauty and wellness market, it can be difficult for new brands to gain consumer attention. To break through, they should first focus on one product or theme before moving to other categories. “[Rihanna’s] Fenty Beauty was known for colour cosmetics until they most recently launched skin care,” says Rao. “They didn't try to launch hair care and injectables and sexual wellness devices all at once.” Expert voices are key when it comes to building trust as a beauty brand. “What dermatologists or aestheticians have done for skin care, we need that in wellness,” says Rao. “The way that wellness really grows is with credibility from the people who are founding these brands and selling these products.” Gen-Z wants beauty products that are more environmentally friendly but also affordable. According to Rao, brands like E.l.f and Milani have been able to address that demand. “They are giving the best experience to beauty consumers, but they also check those boxes of being socially conscious and value driven,” says Rao. Beauty M&A will consist of smaller deals driven by strong underlying financials. Big deals like L’Oréal buying Aesop for $2.5 billion will be a more of a rare occurrence. “Profitability is going to come into play much more… that's across the businesses out there in consumer goods,” says Rao. Additional Resources: The State of Fashion Special Edition | The New Face of Beauty: The special edition of The State of Fashion report by BoF and McKinsey & Company explores the reshaping of the global beauty industry. Download the full report to learn about the key dynamics that will impact all categories in the years ahead, from the rise of wellness to the influence of Gen-Z. The Business of Beauty Global Forum 2023: Streaming Live from Napa Valley, California on May 30-31. To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
BoF’s Marc Bain and a group of panellists break down the state of web3 in fashion and where the technology is headed. Background: Over the last couple of years, the fashion industry couldn’t stop talking about the potential of NFTs, the metaverse, known in tech industry speak as web3. Now, the fervour around web3 has cooled and the speculators are long gone. But for those committed to the web3 space, the work continues, even as the discussion has shifted. “People are pulling back, but people are investing,” said Brian Trunzo, metaverse lead at Polygon Labs. “If folks are still at the education stage, doing research either internally or through agencies, they may have cut budgets and pulled back a little bit, whereas folks who have beefed up and built out teams to execute against their web3 strategy, who have had that requisite education, they're doubling down.” This week on The BoF Podcast, we share a conversation from The BoF Professional Summit: An Inflection Point in Fashion Tech, where our technology correspondent Marc Bain speaks with three web3 experts — Brian Trunzo, Alice Delahunt, founder and CEO of Syky, and Milton Pedraza, the founder and CEO of consulting firm the Luxury Institute — to debate the future of web3 and fashion. Key Insights: “Something that we say in web3 is that it's not so much a bear market, it's a build market,” says Trunzo. Rather than letting a drop in investments define how brands should approach the digital world, consider the performance of the brands that are actually putting resources towards building in the space. Still, there are details that still need to be figured out, the panellists acknowledged. For Delahunt, purchasing a digital Gucci bag on Roblox made her realise how murky digital ownership could be, because virtual items must exist on the platform where they’re purchased. She believes blockchain has the power to change that standard. “Think about the physical world. We’ll go out on the street and there's public infrastructure that is owned by the US government… It’s public, but private enterprise sits on top of it,” she said. “I think of the blockchain as the public infrastructure that people start to build on.” According to Pedraza, this idea of digital identity will only become more paramount as the lines between the online and offline worlds continue to blur. “The technology keeps evolving… but the core principles of data identity, controlling your identity, taking control, monetising or doing whatever you want with your data… will all be supported by these emerging technologies,” he said. No matter what’s trending, Delahunt said the fact that digital tools like Blender and Fortnite can free users of the physical world’s limits. “You've always wanted to be a butterfly, you are not confined in the same way physically… and your ability to express yourselves in those spaces will inevitably be a huge part of the future,” said Delahunt. Additional Resources: How AI and Web3 Are Shaping Fashion’s Future: At BoF’s tech summit experts in technology and creative innovators share their insights on how emerging technologies are impacting the fashion industry. To subscribe to the BoF Podcast, please follow this link. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.