The Business of Fashion Podcast
Kim Jones on the Making of Air Dior

Kim Jones on the Making of Air Dior

February 9, 2021

The artistic director of Dior Men who is now also leading the women's collections at Fendi, speaks with BoF’s Imran Amed about the enduring power of youth and desire and the making of the Air Dior shoe.

Designer Kim Jones went from being a teenager with joint custody over one pair of on-sale Jordan 5s with three friends to creating one of the most sought after shoes in the world by bringing together three iconic brands: Nike, Jordan and Dior. To create the Dior X Air Jordan, which dropped mid-pandemic in June of 2020, he took the Jordan 1 silhouette, applied Dior’s leather and Italian techniques and infused it all with Michael Jordan’s personal cool-guy style.The much-hyped, $2,200 shoe sold out in minutes after being released online. Soon after, the shoes were spotted being resold for as much as $12,000 on StockX.In this conversation from VOICES 2020, Jones covers everything from ethical consumption to the enduring power of youth and desire.  

  • Young people influence the way Jones thinks about his designs. He invites his god children and children of friends over to watch them dissect his wardrobe, listening carefully to what they have to say. “Young people are learning they want to buy less, and things that last longer,” Jones said.
  • Buying vintage, handing things down through generations, and luxury all tie together for Jones. “The thing about luxury that I like is it’s clothes that are built to last and there’s not that many made of things,” he said. “I care about the world a lot so it’s something I do consider that there’s not much waste. We don’t have tons of stuff left over.”
  • The streetwear-meets-luxury space has exploded in the last few years. Jones sees it as a mix of comfort and easiness that fit in with modern daily life. His go-to is tailored pants and jackets with knitwear or a jersey piece. “When you’re working quite often, when it’s with your hands it’s easy,” he said.
  • He advises aspiring designers and other young creatives to think less about status and more about fulfilment. “Never think about the money, think about doing the job. Work hard,” he said. “Don’t think about social media, think about the actual reality. Just get on with it, and ask questions. I ask questions all the time and that’s why I’ve learned so much.”

     

 

Find out more about #BoFVOICES here.
 

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Dissecting the Rise, Fall and Future of Topshop

Dissecting the Rise, Fall and Future of Topshop

February 5, 2021

A new era for Topshop is about to begin. On Monday, digital fashion retailer Asos purchased the high-street label, along with sister brands Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, for £295 million ($403 million). The deal ended months of speculation about Topshop’s future after parent Arcadia Group fell into administration last November, as BoF senior editorial associate Tamison O’Connor reported in a BoF Professional article breaking down why Asos needs Topshop.

“It’s been very sad for me to see them go through what they’ve been through in the last few months,” retail veteran and former Topshop brand director Jane Shepherdson told BoF editor-in-chief Imran Amed on this week’s podcast.

Shepherdson discusses her time at Topshop when it was at the height of its success, the internal and external forces that caused the brand’s demise, before O’Connor weighs in on what the future might hold for the brand under Asos’ ownership.

  • Topshop’s decline was a long-time coming, Shepherdson said, reflecting on her time at the brand. She joined Arcadia as a young graduate and worked her way up the ranks as a buyer, spearheading Topshop’s transformation into a fashion destination. But she left the company in 2006 as Philip Green, who bought Arcadia Group in 2002, became more involved in the business. “He was an asset stripper, more than anything else. He bought businesses, and then sold them again,” she said. “My philosophy was that you would make sure that you designed and bought something that was so amazing that no one would be able to resist it.”

 

  • Asos’ ambition to capitalise on the newly acquired Arcadia brands and customer databases will depend on establishing a strong and independent identities for Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT on the Asos platform, O’Connor said.

 

  • O’Connor goes on to explain how the British high street’s transformation into a largely online market has been accelerated by the pandemic, having brought long-struggling British retailers like Debenhams and Arcadia Group to their knees.

     

 

Related Articles:

Why Asos Needs Topshop

Why Digital Fashion Companies Are Buying Up Tired Brands

The Rise and Fall of Topshop: What Went Wrong

 

 

 

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How Fashion Can Leverage the Audio Appeal of Clubhouse

How Fashion Can Leverage the Audio Appeal of Clubhouse

February 2, 2021

At VOICES 2020. Paul Davison and Virgil Abloh discussed the audio-only social network’s potential impact in the fashion industry with BoF’s Imran Amed.

While the influence of Clubhouse has been growing in the power corridors of Silicon Valley for almost one year, the audio-only social network officially hit the mainstream this month, having grown to more than 2 million users and closed a funding round valuing the business at $1.4 billion. Then, on Monday, none other than Elon Musk made a surprise appearance on Clubhouse, driving global news coverage of his impromptu conversation with Robinhood’s co-founder, Vladimir Tenev, about the remarkable rise in value of Gamestop shares driven by passionate Reddit users.

But what could the rise of Clubhouse mean for fashion? In December, the company’s co-founder and chief executive officer Paul Davison made his first public speaking appearance at BoF VOICES alongside Virgil Abloh to discuss the power of creating a space to listen and learn — and how the fashion industry can get involved.

“All the conversations that I’ve hosted or been a part of on Clubhouse related to fashion in a weird way have been more in-depth than interviews or regular-format media,” Abloh said. “It’s an interesting case study making sure brands have something to say when you can’t escape to creating an image.”

 

Related Articles:

LVMH Is Trusting Kim Jones to Define Fendi’s Post-Karl Look
Dior’s Air Jordans and the Return of Pre-Pandemic Hype
Will Luxury Streetwear Get Millennials Into Department Stores

 

 

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Lulu Kennedy on London’s Young Creatives

Lulu Kennedy on London’s Young Creatives

September 24, 2020

BoF’s Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks speaks with the Fashion East Founder about the future of London’s emerging designers.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — For twenty years, London's Fashion East has helped incubate and support emerging designers hoping to establish themselves as the industry’s next big thing. The imperative to nurture emerging talent is even more urgent now, as young designers enter an increasingly uncertain industry. In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks speaks with Fashion East Founder Lulu Kennedy about what the future of fashion might look like for emerging creatives and independent designers.

  • One major change in the last twenty years is the decline in funding available to stage grandiose fashion shows. “Sponsorship was very good [20 years ago],” Kennedy said. “It’s not as easy now; you have to work harder with the budgets you have.” While strict financial limitations can help foster creativity, it also adds pressure on young designers hoping to compete with more established players.
  • When asked why London remains a central hub of exciting new design talent, Kennedy points to its stellar colleges and powerful and pervasive youth culture. But London-based designers also face specific challenges. “There is a lot of frustration with designers trying to get stuff made on time, in budget and that’s good quality,” Kennedy said. “Going forward with Fashion East, I would love to secure some manufacturing partnership.”
  • Lookbooks and short films have become crucial for designers during the pandemic, when real-life shows are restricted. But standing out amid the social media noise is no easy feat. In fact, the best advice Kennedy has to offer is authenticity: “Be true to yourself. Don’t be second guessing and looking at what other people are doing over your shoulder. Just do you.”

 

Related Articles:

In London, Emerging Designers Face a Critical Season

Where Do Independent Fashion Brands Go From Here?

How to Break Into Fashion When You Don’t Already Have Money

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

 

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Stella Jean Asks ‘Do Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion?’

Stella Jean Asks ‘Do Black Lives Matter in Italian Fashion?’

August 27, 2020

The Italian-Haitian designer and the only Black member of Italy’s Camera della Moda speaks to BoF Editor-in-Chief about racism within the country’s fashion industry.

LONDON, United Kingdom —  For designer Stella Jean, enough is enough. “It’s time to turn the page” and demand fashion reform, she said. Last month, alongside Milan-based designer Edward Buchanan, Jean issued letters to Carlo Capasa, president of the Camera della Moda, and to the organisation’s 14 executive members in what Jean described as “an historical appeal to bring to the forefront for the first time in our history, the paradoxical taboo topic of racism in Italy… and also to support Black designers who are still invisible in the business of Italian fashion.”
In the latest episode of The BoF Podcast, Jean sat down with BoF Founder and Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed to share her personal history growing up the daughter of a Haitian mother and Italian father, discuss the systemic racism within Italy’s fashion sector and focus on fostering change.
  • The self-taught designer, whose clothes have been worn by the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna and Zendaya, called out fashion giants for making “performative gestures of public support” regarding racism in America, while simultaneously “overlooking what is happening to the Black minority in their own country among its workforce.” During the virtual call with Amed, Jean shared that she had received a letter from Capasa regarding the creation of a new unit in the Italian fashion council to tackle racism within the sector. Jean hopes that this will transform her question “do Black lives matter in Italian fashion?’” into the statement “Black lives matter in Italian fashion.”
  • In order to effect change, fashion leaders and executives must have an open discussion about what more can be done to boost diversity within their organisations, Jean said. While brands rushed to post black squares on social media, Jean urged leaders to first address the lack of diversity within their corporate structures. “[Brands] have long preached multiculturalism but have rarely applied such concepts beyond the media window… [and] in the spaces away from the spotlight where no one is watching,” she said. “[This is a] wound that we have ignored for far too long… If you don’t understand that awareness is the first step in solving the problem, this wound will never heal.”
  • For Jean, who founded the sustainable development initiative Laboratorio delle Nazioni, growing up in the 1980s “and struggling [with] being so diverse from [her] fellow citizens has motivated [her] to find a way to show people not to be afraid of different cultures and colours, but instead to see them… as a chance to grow better and together.” Jean recognises fashion as a tool that can offer fair and equitable opportunities for people in low-income countries. When Jean creates a collection she meets and works with various artisans in countries like Peru, Haiti, Burkina Faso, Mali or Pakistan for example, researching and learning about the local indigenous skills to then create a textile or garment, combining the country’s traditional craftsmanship with Italian design. “The beauty of fashion is it has no borders,” Jean said.

Related Articles:
Op-Ed | Fashion Is Part of the Race Problem
Op-Ed | Inclusivity Demands More Than a Show
Fashion's New Stella

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

 

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Jerry Lorenzo Says, ‘I Know What I’m Fighting For’

Jerry Lorenzo Says, ‘I Know What I’m Fighting For’

August 18, 2020

The Fear of God designer talks American luxury and why feeling like an outsider is a strength.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — For Fear of God Founder Jerry Lorenzo, being an outsider is an advantage. “I just feel like I never fit,” he told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. “I’ve gotten to a place where I’m ok with that and I don’t need to fit within fashion to be validated… and so I know that I’m outside but I feel like my strength is that I’m outside. My strength is that I see [things] differently.”

Lorenzo has often taken a less-beaten path, but it’s his approach to collection drops — his latest is the first he has released in two years — as well an ability to use fashion as a platform to foster social change, that have helped to position him as an industry leader. An outsider no longer?

  • "The Pelican Brief," "The Breakfast Club," "License to Drive" and "Rocky IV" are just some of ‘80s movies Lorenzo often references. “There’s something about that time period that to me was the highest level of effortlessness and sophistication,” he said. That spirit is alive in his seventh collection, which offers an “unfiltered vision of tailoring and suiting” for the first time, as well as accessories and handknits. “It’s a move from an emerging brand to a foundational brand,” Lorenzo said. “What we’re doing with [this] collection is purely our point of view.”
  • Using his platform, Lorenzo looks to inspire young people to pursue their passions relentlessly in whatever field. “I know what I’m fighting for and I’m clear on that,” he said. “Some kids just don’t have the example of someone that looks like them… and without that visual example, sometimes it feels impossible… fashion just happens to be the platform that I’m using to do that.”
  • Fear of God might be rooted in streetwear, but Lorenzo explained why it’s more than that. “Some people just chalk it up to be a hoodie and that’s okay but we understand that we’re providing the solution for the lifestyle that today is the modern man,” he said. “We’re putting out clothes when we feel like… we have something to say… [and] that we have solutions for what’s missing in the marketplace. We don’t feel like we’re operating from a place of a capitalistic spirit, we feel we’re proposing what’s needed.”

 

Related Articles:

The Decade When Streetwear Rewrote the Rules of Luxury

What the Merger of Suiting and Streetwear Says About the Men’s Market

Streetwear Took Over the Fashion Industry. Now What?

 

Watch and listen to more #BoFLIVE conversations here. To contact The Business of Fashion with comments, questions, or speaker ideas please e-mail podcast@businessoffashion.com.

 

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Tackling Systemic Racism in the Fashion Industry

Tackling Systemic Racism in the Fashion Industry

August 6, 2020

Harlem Fashion Row’s Brandice Daniel, Black in Fashion Council Co-Founder Sandrine Charles and creative consultant Henrietta Gallina on actionable anti-racism steps brands must take to move the industry forward.

 

NEW YORK, United States — The anti-racism protests that erupted across the US over the last two months have brought conversations around racism in the fashion industry to the fore. In the latest #BoFLIVE event, BoF’s Lauren Sherman spoke with Harlem Fashion Row Chief Executive Brandice Daniel, Sandrine Charles Consultancy Founder Sandrine Charles as well as brand and creative consultant Henrietta Gallina about combatting systemic racism in the fashion industry.
  • In order to implement meaningful change, brands must introduce clear, public goals for which they are accountable. Vague, performative messages will no longer suffice as employees and consumers put pressure on brands to deliver actionable progress. “When we talk about the problem, I always come back to equity and that’s what I’m striving for,” said Gallina. “We are no longer asking for the industry to support us, we are asking for the power structures to be rebuilt.”
  • Companies must be holistic in their approach when tackling racism in the workplace. “It absolutely starts at the leadership level and C-suite level,” Daniel said. “Black people have set the foundation for the fashion industry but we’ve never held leadership roles.” Hiring a D&I chief, while a step in the right direction, doesn’t hold much weight if anti-racism measures aren’t implemented throughout the business, both from the bottom up and the top down.
  • “What’s really important is that everyone else acknowledges where they have a privilege in this industry,” said Charles, who is also the co-founder of the Black in Fashion Council. “Moving forward, they also have to do the work.” Charles, Daniel and Gallina all underscored the importance of introspection and then action, particularly from white and non-Black people. Committed allies are a crucial step to moving the fashion industry forward. “It’s essential that we do the work with everyone because there are various spaces that we don’t have access to,” Charles said.
 
Related Articles:

 

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LOVE Magazine’s Editors on the Fashion Magazine’s New Role in Culture

LOVE Magazine’s Editors on the Fashion Magazine’s New Role in Culture

July 30, 2020

Ben Cobb and Pierre A. M’Pelé discuss the creative process behind LOVE’s latest two-volume issue and how they responded to the unprecedented events of the last six months.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — What is the role of a fashion magazine at this moment in time? For Ben Cobb, editor-in-chief, men’s, of LOVE Magazine, and Pierre A. M’Pelé, the title’s senior editor, community and collaboration is key.
Launching August 4, the latest iteration of the biannual magazine is two volumes of hardback books, titled “LOVE ‘Diaries 3 March - 4 July’ Volumes 1 and 2” featuring a total of four covers. “I hesitate to even call it a magazine,” said BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in conversation with Cobb and M’Pelé. “[It’s] a remarkable time capsule of this remarkable time.”
  • Despite its triumphant final form, the process behind creating the magazine has not been without its challenges. “There were three senior members very ill with Covid,” said Cobb, describing how the team stepped in to carry out work depending on how healthy they were feeling each day, ahead of M’Pelé joining the team in late June. “We were exhausted and suffering from fatigue, [but] Pierre came in with so much energy.” As a highly collaborative process, it also dissolved the traditional hierarchy of the masthead — “a new way of putting together a magazine,” said Blanks, reminiscent of “the idealistic height of the ’60s.”
  • Producing a fashion magazine — particularly one as extensive as LOVE’s two-tome edition — typically takes a long period of planning and forethought, but the seismic and fast-developing events of the last six months required quickfire changes. The Black Lives Matter protests of May and June “changed the course of action,” said M’Pelé, who himself attended protests in Paris. “The team was very reactive because it was a matter of ‘let’s speak now, let’s take a stance now and let’s be clear of our intentions now...’ If we hadn’t added these Black Lives Matter and systemic racism conversations into the magazine, it would have been too late.” In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, M’Pelé’s “manifesto,” a portable pamphlet-like insert in the book, “became a lot more about new voices, bringing people of colour into the picture,” he said. “I want someone to be able to take it out and give it to their racist aunt.”
  • This period has also called into question the formats and fundamental role that fashion magazines assume. “Editorial perspective…[typically] crystallises a moment and it’s about dictating what that moment means,” said Cobb. “I think what’s been really incredible and transformative about this is that … that dynamic has been completely reversed and the moment tells you what it needs to be.” As for what the next issue of LOVE will look like, “Who knows?” said Cobb. “Maybe a magazine can just be a film.”
 
 

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Fabien Baron Says, ‘The Way We Communicate Is Going to Change’

Fabien Baron Says, ‘The Way We Communicate Is Going to Change’

July 28, 2020

The celebrated art director Fabien Baron talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about the future of image-making.

 

LONDON, United Kingdom —  For famed art director Fabien Baron, the chaos and uncertainty brought on by the pandemic presents an opportunity for the fashion industry to go “back to basics.”

“When there’s doubt like this there’s not really an answer… so there’s opportunities to take more risks and be more creative,” Baron told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. “It’s going to bring a lot of changes… but there’s something very optimistic about change. To be forced to change allows one to really [reflect] on the issues we are all facing.”

  • This period of uncertainty has unlocked conversations that were rippling below the surface, said Baron. Both the pandemic and the recent political unrest has highlighted an opportunity for the fashion industry at large to reshape “old formats” that feel at odds with the world’s new normal. For Baron, that means “a new way of looking things… which may lead you to a new path… it’s going to be an evolution [for the industry].”
  • According to Baron, creativity is the key to unlocking change and as the world adjusts to a new set of challenges, industries must do the same. From this health crisis a new way of approaching magazines, photography, styling and the buying and selling of merchandise will emerge where storytelling must supersede superficiality, said Baron. Brands and publications must hone an authentic voice which reflects the time and inspires “people with new ideas and new ways of looking at things. You need freshness and you need a lot of positiveness.”
  • Simplicity could be the antidote to the incessant pace at which the industry has been operating. The months of travelling it took to view runway shows or presentations, whether it was buyers or editors, hopping from “this city to that city just to see a show… After a while it [didn’t] make sense.” However, the outbreak of the coronavirus brought the fashion calendar to a standstill and designers turned towards digital tools in order to showcase their collections. This new way of using technology means “the way we communicate is going to change because the tools are changing and they’re opening new doors,” he said.They allow us to do different things and view things [from] different angles.”

Related Articles:

A Year Without Fashion Shows

Who Will Win the Digital Fashion Week Battle?

Fashion’s New Outlook on 2020

Fabien Baron Is Not Nostalgic

 

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Amber Valletta Says, ‘I Don’t Want to Work in an Industry That Is the Same as Before’

Amber Valletta Says, ‘I Don’t Want to Work in an Industry That Is the Same as Before’

July 14, 2020

The supermodel, actress and environmental activist talks to BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks about why the fashion industry cannot return to ‘business as normal.’

 

LONDON, United Kingdom — “The uncertainty has forced us to get really present.... We have an amazing opportunity to restart and to begin again,” Amber Valletta told BoF Editor-at-Large Tim Blanks in the latest episode of The BoF Podcast. “It is an incredible opportunity to stop and really figure out where we want to go from here. We can redesign a future.”

 

The American supermodel and actress, who has graced the cover of American Vogue 13 times and starred in various television and film series, including Revenge, Legends and Hitch, shared her thoughts on why the pandemic and political unrest has signalled the need for an equitable supply chain and an overhaul of the fashion calendar to reflect the industry’s “new normal.” 

 

  • Following the outbreak of the coronavirus, many garment workers in countries like India and Bangladesh were left destitute as textile factories shuttered and retailers in the west cancelled orders. “Before the designers make this amazing piece, [garment workers] are the people who put in the blood, sweat and tears,” Valletta said. . “In the 21st century, we should have a supply chain that’s fair and equitable.” 
  • Affecting change may not be simple but it is definitely required, Valletta said. In order to thrive in a post-pandemic climate, the fashion industry at large needs “to be resilient… which means we have to really stop doing business as normal because normal is archaic now.” For Valletta, fashion is about change and innovation: “I don’t want to work in an industry that is the same as before,” she said. 
  • “Why aren’t we slowing down the calendar?,” Valletta asked, addressing the industry’s incessant output of clothes that has accelerated over the years. “I was blessed to live in the most spectacular time in fashion… the crews were smaller, everything… There was an intimacy and excitement that we don’t have today,” she said, reflecting on her modelling career. . “There was no [social media]... and there was anticipation of the next season… Everything coming at you was a discovery.”

 

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