A Letter to the BoF Community

Today we are delighted to announce a significant milestone in the history of The Business of Fashion. We are launching a new website, managed by our growing London-based team and backed by a great group of new investors, to help us achieve our vision of becoming the digital hub for the global fashion community. Here’s the story of how we got here and a little bit about our plans for the future from BoF’s editor-in-chief Imran Amed.

LONDON, United Kingdom – I’ve always had little creative projects in my life that quickly became obsessions. During my youth, these included my stamp collection, my smurf collection, my record collection — it was usually a structured collection of creative things that I loved to curate and present.

I guess BoF started in a similar way. Through my consulting work, writing and teaching in the fashion sector, I came into contact with a great number of people and places that inspired me, so I started writing things down and collecting these experiences to share with my friends and family.

It just so happened that a perfect storm would soon turn the global fashion industry upside down, laying a fertile ground of fascinating new topics to explore, beyond the superficial gloss of celebrities and faux ‘reality’ shows. Rapid globalisation, the digital revolution and the largest global economic collapse in a generation were a wake-up call for an industry that had stubbornly stuck to traditional business models for far too long.

Importantly, the rise of easy-to-use digital publishing tools enabled me to reach a global audience across a number of platforms. From the very beginning, each time I updated the blog, an email newsletter was automatically dispatched to a growing number of readers. This was the first way people could ‘follow’ BoF. Then, as social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter hit critical mass, BoF was able to reach an even larger audience and spark a conversation in realtime.

Slowly but surely, a global community of fashion nerds now numbering over one million people, came together around BoF. And engaging with all of you soon became the defining purpose of my professional life. Along the way, and often as a result of your generous invitations, I have attended off-piste fashion weeks, student design competitions, technology conferences and business symposiums in more than 30 countries and 6 continents, often traveling for more than 100 days each year. And as I passed through the conference rooms of Google, LVMH, PPR and Richemont; the halls of Harvard, London Business School and Central Saint Martins; and the studios and offices of hundreds of young fashion designers and technology entrepreneurs, somehow I became something of an accidental moderator of an interconnected global conversation on the future of the fashion industry.

But I didn’t do it alone. Along the way, a number of people have encouraged me, offered help and even agreed to write for BoF. It felt like there was something unique that tied us together because of our shared interest in the global fashion business. As each of these original, independent voices were added to the website, one by one, they became crucial to building our point of view. The passion and generosity of these individuals has been remarkable and BoF could not have grown without them.

Sometime last year, I realised that to continue on this exciting trajectory, BoF needed more structure. I needed to find financial partners and build a professional team. We could still be scrappy, of course, and use affordable, lean technologies, but the core team needed to be in one physical place and we needed to focus on BoF full-time.

Earlier this month, our growing team came together at our very first office in London’s Soho. Managing Editor Vikram Kansara has recently relocated to London from New York. And Suleman Anaya, another New York transplant and one of our early contributors, has joined the editorial team full-time. My trusted assistant Emma Clark now sits with the BoF team and one of my oldest friends, Arsalaan Hyder has graciously agreed to join our brood of fashion nerds to provide the operational and strategic discipline we need to help us grow a business.

We have also taken on a seed investment of $2.1 million to support our growth. Our new investors come from across the worlds of fashion, media and technology — and each one can support us in a unique way. We were thrilled when Index Ventures, the world’s leading venture firm in the fashion-tech space, agreed to lead an investment round for a minority interest in BoF. Index has been joined by LVMH, Samos Investments, Cabus Ventures, Advancit Capital and Novel TMT Ventures, as well as a wonderful, supportive group of individuals, friends and family who have all shown a belief in our team and what we are trying to build. This will enable us to build our team, as well as a scaleable technology infrastructure, to continue to grow BoF and turn it into a full-fledged business.

All of our investors have re-affirmed our strong belief that BoF’s complete editorial independence is of crucial importance to the strength of the business and our position as a trusted fashion industry resource. So important are these values that we insisted that they be enshrined in our company documents, which all investors were required to sign.

Many of you will wonder what our specific business plans are. We are aiming to create a next generation B2B media company, designed to inform, stimulate and inspire today’s highly connected, globally-minded, fashion industry professionals.

The very first step in this journey is the launch of a new BoF beta website which goes live today. We have shifted from the blog structure of our first six years to a layout structured around a series of key channels: News & Analysis, Intelligence, Global Currents, Fashion 2.0, People, Education and Opinion. But we will retain our highly-curated approach in order to cut through the noise and deliver content with the high quality you are accustomed to.

Our very popular Daily Digest now has its own dedicated channel and will be updated throughout the day as fashion news breaks from top quality sources around the world. And our Daily Digest email newsletter will continue to bring you the 5 most important fashion news stories to your inbox everyday, as well as one daily must-read of great BoF writing.

BoF Web App ScreenshotMany of you have also been asking for a BoF iPhone app. We think we have delivered something even better and we hope you’ll agree. In a world where mobile platforms and operating systems continue to proliferate, providing native apps for every device isn’t ideal. Instead, we have developed a BoF web app that will respond and adapt automatically to desktop, mobile and tablet screen resolutions, delivering the best possible experience across all devices and platforms. And for iPhone users, you can add a BoF icon to your home screen simply by going to businessoffashion.com in your mobile Internet browser.

Our new site is still in beta, so there will be the inevitable quirks and we plan to iterate and look forward to receiving your feedback. Please let us know what you think!

We are also building our team here in London and around the world. Many of our team were hired from within our community, something that I’d like to continue to do. We are especially interested in talking to editorial interns, developers and commercial and sales people who have a strong interest and experience in the fashion media space. Please send CVs to: jobs@businessoffashion.com

Finally, I’d like to thank you for all your ongoing support. We wouldn’t have reached this exciting moment without you! While there is a lot of change in store for BoF in the coming months and years, rest assured that we remain steadfast in our mission to provide an independent and unique point of view on today’s fast-paced, high-stakes fashion world.

We look forward to continuing this journey with you.

Sincerely,

Imran Amed, Editor-in-Chief

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30 comments

  1. Imran, I just want to say thank you for the time and dedication you have taken to build this community and business. Reading your website has become a daily ritual for me for about five years now, and my understanding of the fashion industry would honestly not be the same without it. Best of luck to you and your team and thanks again for the inspiration. David. Ibelieveinluxe.tumblr.com

    David Edison from Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
  2. This is so exciting! Congratulations and best wishes for future plans. Very much appreciate everything you do for the community.

    Cat from Seattle, WA, United States
  3. The new site looks wonderful. It’s refreshing to see a site that treats fashion seriously; looking forward to seeing BoF develop further.

    danielalecg from Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  4. Congratulations Imran! xo

    Meeta from Jersey City, NJ, United States
  5. Congrats and best wishes. Love this site and it is part of my everyday routine to read.

    Josh from New York, NY, United States
  6. Congratulations on your success.

    Sam Hinds from Brooklyn, NY, United States
  7. Imran, congratulations! Your platform has been a voice of reason in these ever dynamic times. We send love and light to you, your team & investors. May the $cale be with you.

    Jey Van-Sharp of MyUberLife, NYC

    Jey Van-Sharp from Brooklyn, NY, United States
  8. thank you for sharing that with all of us!
    I’m excited as well <3

    ktg from Long Beach, CA, United States
  9. Superb news – well done, Imran. Presumably, this means BoF will have structured salaries for their staff now – another hidden weakness of the industry that people prefer not to discuss. If so, then we should all stand up in applause. BoF leading the way once again, go tiger

    Paul Davies from Hove, Brighton and Hove, United Kingdom
  10. Congratulations, Imran, to you and the BoF team. I’ve been a dedicated reader – and recommender! – of your site for years and am never disappointed. In fact, you continue to surprise on the upside – which is the best achievement of all.

    I look forward to seeing where the journey now takes you – and us. Again, congratulations to you and your team…as well as to your investors for making a very good investment decision.

    Leslie Kossoff from Belmont, CA, United States
  11. Excellent news! It is always a pleasure to confront intelligence within this community. And an added pleasure is the quality of writing, and this on a daily basis.

    HMBaron from Guyancourt, Île-de-France, France
  12. Huge news Imran, this is fantastic and so well deserved – congratulations all around to you and the team. Lovely to see the investor/venture world is seeing the potential for growth in fashion related businesses such as yours more and more in the past decade!

    Helen from Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
  13. Congratulations and wishing you continuing success!

    Tom Marshall from Hackettstown, NJ, United States
  14. Thanks, Imran, I enjoyed reading BOF newsletter.

    Ashok from Delhi, Delhi, India
  15. I’m so glad I discovered your blog while still in college. It definitely shifted my thinking from solely the creative process but to the commerce too. The saying “Art meets Commerce” truly made sense after reading BOF. Thank you again for creating such an informative platform

    KD from New York, NY, United States
  16. Congratulations! The new site looks great! I read it every day from Argentina!

    Lucia Medina from Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal, Argentina
  17. Imran, I’m a necomer to BOF and thoroughly enjoy the articles, which inspire me to keep pushing. Thanks so very much.

    Sumiyyah A. Rasheed.
    Ann-Nahari
    Los Angeles, CA

    Sumiyyah A. Rasheed from Los Angeles, CA, United States
  18. I enjoy very much BoF, but not as an information website, rather as an opinion website. The reason is that the contributors being not paid, they have other aims while writing their features than to give objective information. They want to give an opinion, send a message, influence the readership. So will this new version turn into an information website – in other terms, will you pay your contributors now?

    McGuffin from Paris, Île-de-France, France
  19. Such a wonderful journey! Congratulations!

    Reez from New Westminster, BC, Canada
  20. BoF is one of my staples – I really love the new layout, congratulations!

    Genevieve Wastie from Salisbury, Wiltshire, United Kingdom
  21. Congrats on the financial steps forward! I love all the new content options and have always appreciated the blog. The new layout could use some more design consideration. It has a tendency to blend together. Perhaps tweaking the borders, darker background breaks. I dunno. It’s reading more like a magazine but a magazine has pages to turn-there are minimal clues to tell you what headline goes with what content and how long the piece is. I would also suggest placing your logo/main nav on a side bar. As a reader scrolls down they tend to forget what site they’re on. Your website could easily look like T Magazine or NYT. Once you’re past the header nothing tells you that you’re on the BoF site-except for the search bar. Just some sort of grounding menu to continuously remind the viewer where they are and what they might want to read next.

    So excited about the site and your new mobile app!

    Congrats again!

    Miss B from New York, NY, United States
  22. Please don’t ever scare me like that again! The sonorous tones of “a letter to the B of F community”. Seriously, I thought you were in peril, or some kind of seismic shift.
    I can’t imagine life without the letter every day now and the way you make the business of fashion as riveting as the style. So no more making me speed read and jump to the last paragraph.
    Carry on.

    SueM from Kitchener, ON, Canada
  23. congrats and thank you for the all the effort you put into curating the content you publish.

    Maneesh from India
  24. Imran Congratulations. This is refreshing and exciting news. BOF allows the community to have a conversation from a business level that fills a huge gap in the market. Mainstream trade mags just don’t hit it.
    I’m off to get the app….

    Andrea from Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, United Kingdom
  25. Congratulations! Future plans sound very exciting!

    The new site is lovely and I completely agree that it’s a much better experience than an app could ever deliver.

    Renee from New York, NY, United States
  26. Hello Imran,
    Thank you for the heart-felt letter – if I could, I would make it required reading for my students. I teach flat pattern-making at the Academy of Couture Art in Los Angeles.
    Kay Enyart

    Kay Enyart from Los Angeles, CA, United States
  27. Bravo, Imran. You continue to impress and inspire.

    xDotty

    Dotty Giordano from New York, NY, United States
  28. Imran, I’m amazed to see how far you’ve come from when I first stumbled upon your site 6 yrs ago. Not even a decade yet and here you are with your team and your first office in London! A heartwarming congratulations to you and your team. You certainly deserve it. I’ll continue watching you guys from afar as you rise to the top. Cheers and much luck to your new endeavours!

    Dahlia from Los Angeles, CA, United States
  29. Congratulations Imran and Team BoF!
    As an early reader and fan, I have enjoyed witnessing the evolution of Bof and wish you all the Best for the latest incarnation. From day one, your editorial has been intelligent, analytical with an eye to the future and (sometimes fiercely) independent. I believe this is what has and always will set you apart!
    Best wishes,
    Pia

    Pia Stanchina from Chessington, Kingston upon Thames, United Kingdom
  30. I love this website to death, and appreciate the need for change. However, I’m a little bit sad about some of the changes. For example, the “Emerging Designers” section seems to be gone, and I really liked the previous blog approach that had subject groupings on various pages rather than just what is most current….

    Debbie from Pittsburgh, PA, United States