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BoF’s Latest Print Issue: ‘The New World Order’

BoF is pleased to unveil its latest special print issue, The New World Order, focusing on the ‘broken’ fashion system and the disruptors aiming to fix it, including cover star Demna Gvasalia, the wunderkind designer behind Vetements and artistic director of Balenciaga. The limited-edition issue will be released Feb 8th.
Cover of BoF's 'The New World Order’ Special Print Edition
By
  • Imran Amed

LONDON, United Kingdom — Much has been made of fashion's annus horribilis of 2015 — what with the sudden departures of prominent designers and a fashion system seemingly at breaking point. As 2016 begins with economies around the world teetering, stock markets crashing and oil prices plummeting, this year will be no cakewalk either.

For the latest special print edition of BoF, we are focusing on the positives; including potential solutions to some of the industry's most pressing issues. The New World Order of fashion is upon us and we have some bold predictions to make.

The “broken” fashion system will splinter into a variety of new operating models. Some will focus more on the consumer, others will streamline the number of collections and others will leverage digital marketing and e-commerce.

To understand the various models being put forward, we spoke to industry veterans and creative disruptors alike to understand their ideas for new ways in which the fashion industry could work. Demna Gvasalia, the wunderkind designer who was appointed artistic director of Balenciaga last October, has made a name for himself as the head of the Vetements collective, known for its creative and buzzy shows and product-focused approach, with his brother Guram by his side as chief executive. If the Gvasalia brothers get their way, their impact on the industry will go far beyond creativity, and perhaps set an entirely new rhythm for the fashion calendar.

British fashion legend Sir Paul Smith, whose business in recent years proliferated up to 28 lines, and Esteban Cortázar, who was once built up and then torn apart by an unforgiving fashion system, also share their ideas about new approaches, each offering a different perspective on how we can solve fashion's much talked about woes.

We will also highlight some of the growth opportunities for brands and look at the exciting areas of innovation that will define fashion’s future. Growth will be a challenge in 2016 — no doubt. But for smart brands, exercising new muscles, there are still opportunities to be had, notably amongst the ubiquitous travelling Chinese consumer, but also in the fast growing luxury e-commerce segment and via opportunistic mergers and acquisitions.

Speaking of the Internet and e-commerce, the growth of digital marketing by fashion brands will continue unabated — but not necessarily in the way you might expect, and impacting the business far beyond e-commerce. This year will see a digital tipping point of sorts, with brands moving on from commoditised banner advertisements, to staging consumer-facing exhibitions and travelling, consumer-focused fashion events designed to feed the insatiable feed of social media, which increasingly — and compellingly — creates brand awareness and drives revenues. But the cost of doing business is going up, and unlimited price increases are no longer sustainable.

Regionally, while China’s luxury market will continue to contract, Dubai will assert itself as the global fashion hub of the increasingly important Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and make a play for relevance on the international fashion stage. Even though the region is highly impacted by plummeting oil prices and held back by some conservative laws, its position as a travel hub remains unchanged, offering a bright spot for growth amidst a tough global market.

Elsewhere, in an Olympic year, sporting giants Nike and Adidas will battle it out for dominance of the exploding ‘athleisure’ market in Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro, one of the sexiest, sportiest cities in the world. What better canvas for the growing interest in health and wellness than the toned bodies of Ipanema and Copacabana. Expect the athletic wear market to record its biggest year ever.

And looking further into the future, keep your eyes on three emerging technologies — asynchronous instant messaging, 3D digital printing and virtual reality — which will begin to make their mark on fashion marketing, product development and sales. Although still in their nascent stages, these are the technologies causing a stir in Silicon Valley’s venture circles for their potential to be truly disruptive.

So 2016 will be the year of creative destruction in fashion. We need to destroy what we have, in order to reset, refocus and rebuild.

Imran Amed
Founder and Editor-in-Chief

BoF's limited-edition print issue, 'The New World Order,' will be sold exclusively at select retailers around the world and shop.businessoffashion.com. Click here to pre-order your issue now.

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