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BoF’s Latest Print Issue: 'A Connected World'

 How does our increasingly interconnected world — with its opportunities and its challenges — impact the way we create, communicate and consume fashion?
Cover of BoF's 'A Connected World’ Special Print Edition, featuring Jonathan Anderson photographed by Alasdair McLellan
By
  • Imran Amed

LONDON, United Kingdom — A few weeks ago, I tuned into the final of the Eurovision Song Contest, an annual Olympics-style competition for European pop music, featuring contestants from more than two dozen countries and beamed live to a global television audience of over 200 million people. I followed along on my mobile phone, tracking live updates on Snapchat and Twitter, sharing the experience with friends and strangers around the world.

It might have been that my mind was focused on BoF’s latest print issue — but as I experienced Eurovision for the first time, I couldn’t help but see parallels to our issue theme, “A Connected World.”

A tally of votes from national juries put Dani Im of Australia in first place. That a Korean-born pop artist representing Australia was the front-runner at a European music competition playing out on social media seemed to neatly sum up just how interconnected the world really is. Indeed, driven by growing Internet access, international travel and economic integration, we increasingly share common experiences and our collective fates are now tied more closely together.

In its final stages, the Eurovision competition came down to contestants from Russia and Ukraine, two countries still at loggerheads after Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean peninsula in March 2014, attracting punitive sanctions from Western nations, further accelerating the decline of the Russian economy already suffering from plummeting oil prices, and raising geo-political tensions, fuelling what some observers have seen as a new Cold War.

But while, at times, the world seems to be splintering into factions — what with religious wars in Syria and Iraq, an impending ‘Brexit’ vote in the UK, a divisive US presidential election campaign and chest-thumping in North Korea, China and, yes, Russia — there’s little doubt that despite these growing tensions, we are more connected than ever. So, how does our increasingly interconnected world — with its opportunities and challenges — impact the way we create, communicate and consume fashion? That's the question this issue sets out to answer.

Our cover star, Jonathan Anderson, is one of the most influential and watched designers of his generation. As creative director of Loewe, he is also the youngest designer to helm a global luxury brand and the first 'millennial' to take up such a role at the world's largest luxury conglomerate LVMH. Growing up with Internet culture means Anderson's creative process is rooted in an altogether different point of view on image appropriation, especially when compared to some of his more experienced peers. Rather than start from a proverbial blank slate, Anderson remixes an eclectic set of existing cultural references to birth something altogether new.

Nick Knight first entered fashion in the early 1980s, but with SHOWstudio, his pioneering website conceived in 2000 to bring new transparency to the behind the scenes of fashion image-making, Knight has gone on to embrace the creative potential of the Internet like few others in fashion. In an in-depth interview with Tim Blanks, two of fashion's biggest thinkers discuss creativity in a connected world.

Meanwhile, talk show host and comedian Ellen Degeneres, one of the most connected celebrities on the planet, is making her own play in the fashion space, with her new direct-to-consumer brand ED by Ellen. In an exclusive interview, she tells BoF about her unique connection with over 130 million social media followers, and how she plans to leverage this connectivity to make her new lifestyle brand the pillar of the next phase of her career.

Our global interconnectedness also has wide-ranging implications for fashion well beyond creativity and celebrity marketing. Price transparency, managing risk amidst growing global uncertainty, new ‘glocal’ retail strategies and income inequality are all topics we tackle in-depth in this issue.

Back at Eurovision, it was Ukraine that ultimately took the title, after people around Europe resoundingly voted for Jamala, who sang about the Soviet persecution of the Crimean Tatars at the end of the Second World War, while also seeming to make reference to the ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia today. Unable to vote for their own countrymen, per the rules of the show, the people of Ukraine voted their arch-rivals Russia first, while Russians voted in big numbers for Ukraine, placing it second, only to Armenia.

It seems consumers are already looking beyond historical borders and conflicts. Now it's time for governments and businesses to do the same. We hope you enjoy the issue, and as always, look forward to your feedback. Click here to pre-order your issue now.

Imran Amed, Founder and Editor-in-Chief

To pre-order your copy of BoF's special print edition, A Connected World, for delivery anywhere in the world, visit shop.businessoffashion.com.

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