May 30, 2012 Leave a comment
It has been a crazy two weeks so it took me a while before I could sit down to write about the Asia Fashion Summit I attended from 15 to 17 May 2012.
The conference was designed for a high level of exchange and dialogue amongst the speakers and the audience. With one or two exceptions, it actually achieved its objective. Unlike most conferences, this one was not boring and tedious, instead I found it quite inspiring and refreshing. I guess the Spinelli’s coffee provided helped a great deal as well. In a nutshell, Asia is coming up in a big way because the West has dominated the scene for such a long time. Our purchasing power is a force to be reckoned with and our designers are a new breed of bold and original individuals with both tradition and innovation skills. In a way, fashion is very much similar to the arts. Just like how Chinese collectors are buying works by Chinese artists, we should really support our local designers.
Speakers from the Buyer Panel: Moderator Lorna Hall, Senior Retail Editor, WGSN with panellists Sarah Curran, Chief Executive, my-wardrobe.com; Jan Quammie, Buyer, Source; Ann Kositchotitana, Founder & Managing Director, Front Row Group
Social media is also an important and essential tool of communication and connection between designers and their ‘fans’. Just like how it has changed our lifestyle, it has also made a significant impact on the way consumers shop these days. Through the summit, I experienced the possibility of an entirely different shopping experience and I feel that the ecommerce market in Asia has even greater potential compared to the States, simply because returns is not as common amongst consumers here. I like to assume that Asian consumers do more homework before they buy something online and rely less on instant gratification as a form of escapism. There were many useful tips and advices that Alex and I will try applying to the alexandria chen label.
The highlight of the event is probably Nicola Formichetti and Colin McDowell’s session where Formichetti talked about his background and how he met Lady Gaga who convinced him to accept the post of Creative Director at Thierry Mugler. He enjoys what he does and hence, it doesn’t feel like work. I believe this is the case for some in the creative industry. When there is no other option but to create or do something you like, it becomes your calling and no longer a job. His advice to emerging designers? “It has to be pure and come from you.” Well said.
Last but not least, both Nobuyuki Ota, Merchandising Officer at MATSUYA departmental store and Ravi Thakran, Group President for South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia at LVMH Group had inspiring presentations with very encouraging messages. Japan’s efforts to recover their fashion market has created new partnerships and opportunities and their successful branding of their pioneer designers (Issey, Rei and Yohji) is a lesson Singapore can learn from. Ravi Thakran had fantastic things to say about Asia and his savviness is reflected in his strategies and industry knowledge. After his presentation, I couldn’t help but turn to Alex and say “Wow. He is so smart.”
And it is nice to learn from such experienced intellects in the fashion industry. I feel like I’ve gained a lot from this summit, so much so I’m already looking forward to the next one.
(Images provided by Asia Fashion Summit)