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Three Gatherings That Will Set Fashion’s 2023 Agenda

The World Economic Forum in Davos, a retail convention in New York and menswear shows in Paris will command the industry’s attention. Plus, what else to watch for this week.
The Global Fashion Agenda will update its sustainability playbook for fashion executives at the World Economic Forum in Davos | Source: Shutterstock

If you’re someone important in fashion, there’s a good chance you’re in one of three places this week: Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, New York for the National Retail Federation’s annual convention, or Paris for the men’s shows. Each has its own role to play in setting the tempo for the fashion industry this year.

Davos

The annual gathering of global heavy hitters is back in its usual winter slot for the first time since 2020. On the official agenda for the audience of politicians, investors and executives is climate change, the dangers of social media and the promise of artificial intelligence. In a pre-forum survey that will surely resonate with fashion industry executives, respondents said they were grappling with how to balance short-term disruptions, such as the war in Ukraine, with the need to address long-term challenges such as sustainability and the environment.

Davos can also provide a window into how world leaders are feeling about the economy. They’re sending mixed signals ahead of the meeting: last week saw encouraging signs on inflation and employment in the US, but the World Bank cut its growth forecast and warned the global economy is “perilously close” to recession.

New York

The National Retail Federation’s annual gathering is one of the biggest trade shows for US retailers, from fashion and beauty to grocers and home goods. The main action is on the convention floor, but a series of panels and speakers will have plenty of overlap with the big-picture conversation in Davos, while also broaching more parochial concerns such as the latest innovations in inventory management and point-of-sale systems.

As at Davos, attendees will no doubt seek clarity as they parse through conflicting information: already this year has seen some retailers, including American Eagle and Abercrombie & Fitch, report promising holiday sales, while others, most notably Lululemon, are downgrading their 2023 outlooks. The conference is also being held against the backdrop of layoffs at tech firms, which could bleed into fashion retail if the economy continues to worsen.

Paris

The start of the week will bring some major menswear shows in Milan from Italian brands Prada and Zegna, plus the UK’s Charles Jeffrey Loverboy and JW Anderson will also show in the Italian fashion capital. Paris kicks off on Tuesday with Kidill and Wales Bonner. However, all eyes will be on Louis Vuitton, which shows on Thursday. The announcement last week that Colm Dillane — better known as KidSuper — would be collaborating on the latest collection restarted the rumour mill about whether a successor to Virgil Abloh had finally been found. Dillane is a familiar face to LVMH, having won the company’s 2021 Karl Lagerfeld Prize. Last week’s executive reshuffle only heightened speculation that a new creative director would soon be named.

What Else to Watch For This Week

Sunday

The National Retail Federation’s annual convention begins

Etro, Prada, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, JW Anderson and others show menswear collections in Milan

Monday

Giorgio Armani, Zegna close out Milan’s menswear fashion week

Love Island’s new season premieres, with fashion partner eBay returning

China reports fourth-quarter GDP

Tuesday

Kidill, Wales Bonner, Saint Laurent among the highlights of Paris Men’s first day

Wednesday

Givenchy, Bianca Saunders show in Paris

UK, Eurozone report December inflation figures

US reports December retail sales

Thursday

Rick Owens, Louis Vuitton, Isabel Marant, Dries Van Noten, Amiri show in Paris

Friday

Dior Homme shows in Paris

UK reports December retail sales

Saturday

Hermès, Bode shows in Paris

The Week Ahead wants to hear from you! Send tips, suggestions, complaints and compliments to brian.baskin@businessoffashion.com.

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