OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — “Social media has blown open fashion weeks. How do we create and keep that interest?” said Caroline Rush, British Fashion Council chief executive in December at VOICES, BoF's new annual gathering for big thinkers.
Rush was speaking on a panel of the heads of the world's four major fashion weeks and was joined by Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana president Carlo Capasa, Council of Fashion Designers of America chief executive Steven Kolb and Fédération Française de la Couture executive president Pascal Morand. In a conversation moderated by BoF founder and CEO Imran Amed, they discussed the challenges of rewiring the way fashion brands create and communicate clothing around the shifting needs and expectations of today's consumer.
“It always comes back to the relationship with the consumer and creating and presenting product in a way that the consumer wants to buy it,” said Kolb, who addressed some of the findings outlined in the CFDA and Boston Consulting Group’s March 2016 study that suggested designers would adopt a wide spectrum of approaches, from “see now, buy now” to forgoing a runway show in favour of salon-style private appointments.
“It really comes down to who you are trying to reach,” said Kolb, citing Givenchy’s show in New York in 2015, which was open to select members of the public, as well as Hilfiger’s upcoming Los Angeles effort. “There will always be fashion week and there will always be fashion shows. But we’ll see them being less about the unique personality of each city and more a global period of time that shows are happening.”
Morand, though acknowledging the “acceleration” social media has brought to the communication of clothes, cautioned: “We must preserve creativity. Not everything is instant.”