So, today I took to this stage at Fashion SVP (there was an audience by the time I got up there!) to deliver a talk on the challenges facing the buying community in the current, ever changing and volatile retail market. It’s always a little bit of an unknown stepping into an arena like this, you never know quite who might be in the audience, or at what level to pitch it. However, the response was overwhelmingly positive, and serves to remind me that my many years of experience could be invaluable to those starting a career in buying. I really enjoyed chatting to some of the audience afterwards, and hopefully they were able to leave better informed and full of the enthusiasm that I tried to instill into my presentation.
This edition of Fashion SVP was built around two key areas of development, one being Denim, and the other being sustainable fashion. There were a number of other great speakers and panel sessions discussing/debating these topics, and the challenges facing us as an industry. I met several truly innovative garment and fabric suppliers, as well as labelling and packaging sources, all of whom are challenging the norms in development and production of clothing. I have learnt an enormous amount in a single day, and attending the show has reinforced the message that we are at a real turning point for the fashion industry and it is critical that we all play our part, however small, to bring about change in reducing waste, generating and using renewable energy, and creating a more sustainable and cyclical fashion supply chain. There was also a huge amount of discussion about how we become truly ethical, and this extends worldwide to include the workforce involved at every stage of the production process. As an industry we have a mountain to climb, but as with every challenge or difficult situation, we can turn this into an opportunity to really make a difference through innovation, creative product development and understanding the new ways in which our customers are interacting with the shopping experience.