The Business of Fashion Podcast
10 Retail Archetypes for the Post-Pandemic Era

10 Retail Archetypes for the Post-Pandemic Era

April 9, 2021

As retail stores begin to re-open this summer after a year of lockdown, Doug Stephens shares strategies for post-pandemic success from his new book, Resurrecting Retail.

 

Retail’s Darwinian shakeout over the last year has consolidated market power in the hands of dominant e-commerce players. But a brand, even if small, can still be mighty. The key is focus and finding a relevant niche, Doug Stephens said at VOICES 2020, previewing his new book, Resurrecting Retail, out on April 13.”

In the post-pandemic retail era, purpose will be the new positioning,” Stephens said. “What will be your brand’s reason for existing?” he asked.Stephens outlines 10 reasons why retail should exist in 2021 and beyond, from product education to activism.

  • “I see Covid-19 not as a mere accelerator, I see it as a threshold,” said Stephens. “As a unique wormhole in time where society as a whole is being pulled out of the industrial era and across the threshold of the digital age.” Though 2020 was challenging for a lot of retail companies, it has made the big ones like Amazon, Alibaba, JD.com and Walmart even stronger and better prepared to capture more of the global retail economy.

  • Brands must think about purpose: what is the question your brand answers? Companies that succeed in the marketplace do this well. “When we buy Nike products, we’re buying a cultural point of view, and Nike answers a very specific consumer question. The question, of course, is ‘Who inspires me?’” Stephens said.

  • In the post-pandemic world, the media will no longer be just the message. “Every form of media now, that the consumer has exposure to, is no longer simply a call out to go to the store,” Stephens said. “Every form of media must be the store.”

 

Related Articles:

Take a Look Inside The Post-Pandemic Store

The New Rules of Brick-and-Mortar Retail

Tapping Into the Future of Physical Retail

 

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A Crash Course on The BoF Sustainability Index

A Crash Course on The BoF Sustainability Index

April 2, 2021

BoF’s London editor Sarah Kent and editor-in-chief Imran Amed delve into The BoF Sustainability Index, measuring fashion’s progress towards avoiding catastrophic climate change and achieving broader social imperatives by 2030.

Fashion’s negative impact on people and the planet is in focus like never before. Pressure to change is coming from investors, consumers, regulators and even inside big brands themselves. Companies are responding with high-profile commitments to do better. But are they actually making a difference?

In the latest episode of the BoF Podcast, London editor Sarah Kent and editor-in-chief Imran Amed discuss The BoF Sustainability Index, an in-depth analysis of how 15 of fashion’s largest companies measure up on sustainability.

  • The fashion industry has an important role to play in tackling global sustainability challenges, both because of its impact and its influence. “Fashion often flies under the radar,” explains Kent. “[But] it has power to really change people’s views and behaviours and drive a shift that other industries cannot so easily engage in.”

  • Overall, BoF’s analysis found that the big companies’ commitments are outpacing action. “Some [companies] are leading the pack and some are just getting started, but overall things are not changing fast enough.”

  • While the pandemic remains an immediate crisis for the industry, the climate crisis is increasingly in focus ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference due to take place in Glasgow later this year. “I think what is pretty well established now is the direction of travel that is needed,” says Kent. “What we need to start seeing is the strategies that are going to get us there. Where are the investments going to be made?”

 

Related Articles:

Sustainability: What Brands Are Prioritising in 2021

The Waste Opportunity: How Fashion Could Turn Trash to Treasure

Fashion’s Long Road to Transparency

 

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The Multi-Versal Self and the Rise of Virtual Fashion

The Multi-Versal Self and the Rise of Virtual Fashion

March 30, 2021
 
The Year That Changed the World

The Year That Changed the World

March 19, 2021

A year after coronavirus lockdowns swept the world, BoF’s Imran Amed looks back at a period of sweeping change in conversation with leading voices from inside and outside fashion.

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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Big Tech’s Threat to Fashion

Big Tech’s Threat to Fashion

January 12, 2021
It’s hard to imagine running a successful brand in 2021 without advertising on Instagram, buying search ads on Google or selling on Amazon. At BoF VOICES, H&M’s Christopher Wylie and venture capitalist Roger McNamee talked about why that’s probably not a good thing — and how the industry can reduce its reliance on tech giants.
 
Before the pandemic, social media and e-commerce giants like Facebook and Amazon were ascendant. The physical isolation caused by the ongoing global health crisis has only consolidated their power. Nevertheless, fashion brands can’t rely on a handful of Silicon Valley firms to run their businesses, venture capitalist Roger McNamee said at BoF’s VOICES.
 
In an interview with Christopher Wylie, who blew the whistle on Cambridge Analytica’s improper use of Facebook user data during the 2016 election, McNamee outlined how big tech has touched off a “cascading series of catastrophes going from the online world into the real world.”
In fashion, Facebook, Amazon and Google have inserted themselves between brands and their customers. Though they offer unparalleled marketing and commerce capabilities, McNamee noted their clients pay a steep price in the long run by ceding control of such crucial elements of their businesses. But all is not lost.
 
“The fashion industry has a superpower,” he said. “You’re actually connected to culture, so people care what you have to say. You have to recognise as an industry that these guys are changing the rules and you have to fight back.”
 
 
Find out more about #BoFVOICES here.
 
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How to Master Sleep During the Pandemic

How to Master Sleep During the Pandemic

December 3, 2020
Good sleeping habits have been linked to higher productivity and better health. At BoF VOICES, Imran Amed discusses the secrets to a good night’s rest with neuroscience Professor Matthew Walker and Oura Founder Harpreet Singh Rai.
 
Thanks to the pandemic, people are spending more time in their pyjamas, but their sleep patterns are worse than ever. Job loss or worry about job loss and general anxiety surrounding staying healthy are among the chief causes for why sleep, on the whole, has become worse both in quality and quantity for so many.With “sleep hygiene” more important than ever, BoF’s CEO and founder Imran Amed spoke with Dr. Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California Berkeley, and Harpreet Singh Rai, CEO of wearable technology company Oura, as part of BoF’s 2020 VOICES conference.Deep sleep is when you refresh your “immune weaponry in your health arsenal,” Walker said. And better sleep has also been linked to making individuals more receptive to vaccines.
  • Singh Rai — whose wearable product, the Oura Ring, helps track sleep and other health information — explained that international stay-at-home orders during the pandemic have made many people less active. That’s bad for sleep quality, especially when coupled with an increase in screen time. “All of us are sleeping less on average and we’re more distracted than ever before,” said Singh Rai. Sleep progress should really be tracked like diet or a workout regimen because “whatever gets measured gets mastered,” he said.
  • A cavalier attitude to sleep can be costly because it is intimately linked to health and productivity. For example, Walker cited a study that found insufficient sleep costs most nations about two percent of their gross domestic product, amounting to $411 billion in the US. “If we could solve the sleep loss crisis within most first-world nations, [we] could almost double the budget for health care or for education,” Walker said. He added: People should consider sleep to be an “investment in tomorrow” rather than a cost on one’s time.
  • Among Walker and Singh Rai’s top sleep hacks: saunas and warm baths are highly effective at helping the body expel heat once you exit those environments, and help set ideal conditions for sleep; setting sleep alarms (those reminders that nudge you to bed at roughly the same time every evening) is just as important as an alarm to help you wake up in the morning; avoiding naps during the day, caffeine in the afternoon and alcohol in the evening allow people to grow tired enough for sleep at night; and finally, abide by the 25-minute rule: if you’re lying in bed for longer than that trying to sleep, then go and do something else (that does not include screen time or food) until your body is tired. “You would never sit at a dinner table waiting to get hungry. Why would you lie in bed waiting to get sleepy?” Walker said. “The answer is, you shouldn’t.”
 
Find out more about #BoFVOICES  here.
 
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Aniyia Williams on Why Self-Examination Is Critical to Dismantling Racism in Fashion

Aniyia Williams on Why Self-Examination Is Critical to Dismantling Racism in Fashion

July 1, 2020
LONDON, United Kingdom — Aniyia Williams is ready for difficult conversations. The opera singer-turned-fashion tech entrepreneur has navigated systemic racism within corporate culture for years. And as companies slowly begin the process of dismantling policies and norms that harm Black people within them, Williams has a few ideas on where they go from here.

“The biggest thing that gets in the way is self-interest,” Williams told BoF Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed in the latest edition of the BoF Podcast. “Discomfort is the key ingredient to getting to the other side.”

  • Self-examination is critical. “It starts with the blind spots,” Williams said. “You are going to find things you don’t like about yourself.” Companies should look to their own practises and corporate culture to understand who they benefit and what needs to change.
  • You’re not going to hire your way to diversity, inclusion and equity. “What’s more important,” said Williams, is the environment that exists to support those people once they’re hired. Diversity and inclusion initiatives can only go so far, and it starts with senior leadership recognising the need to change both policies and company culture. “If the leadership isn’t buying into those ideals... I don't know how you can expect anyone else to,” Williams added.
  • Act to make it true. Aside from social media posts and one-time donations, fashion companies need to push for a larger, longer-term change. Diversity and inclusion at its core is about creating shared realities that understand what each employee is facing. “What is our relationship to each other going to be and is it going to be as fair and equitable as it can be?” asked Williams.
 
 

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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Scott Galloway on Breaking Up Big Luxury | Inside Fashion

Scott Galloway on Breaking Up Big Luxury | Inside Fashion

May 29, 2020

The bestselling author and business professor offers his insight into the challenging market and M&A landscape that industry players of all sizes have to navigate.

Scott Galloway is no stranger to expressing views as provocative as they are incisive. The author, business school professor and serial entrepreneur has a lot to say about the state of the market in the era of Covid-19, but his observations and predictions are also, crucially, grounded in wider social, political and economic arguments — whether that’s the now-untenable position of American exceptionalism, the burden of student debt or the failings of intergenerational wealth distribution. Speaking in conversation with Imran Amed, Galloway shares his thoughts on the state of the luxury sector, importance of e-commerce and the indomitable power of Amazon, a company he describes as “firing on all 12,000 cylinders” yet still can’t crack the fashion market. Here are some of the key takeaways:
 
  • “The class of IPOs that will come to the markets in the next 3-6 months will boom,” said Galloway. “I think the markets are going to accelerate but people conflate the markets with the economic health of america. The markets are nothing more than an indication of how the top decile of Europe and America are doing.” 
  • Amazon’s tricky relationship with fashion and luxury is hard to reconcile. “Amazon partners with an industry the way a virus partners with a host,” he said, which explains why luxury brands have traditionally kept the e-commerce giant at arm’s length. Even with the remarkable acceleration of e-commerce in the past eight weeks, however, Amazon’s algorithmically driven retail model does not allow for the forward-looking trend cycle on which the fashion industry operates.
  • Luxury is a relatively well-positioned industry. “The majority of sectors in the world would pray for luxury’s problems right now,” he said, but much like big tech companies, conglomerates in the luxury space create “an unhealthy environment where too few players are allowed to [accrue] too much power... if you wanted to oxygenate the economy around luxury you would go ahead and break them up.”
 
 
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Special Edition: Journalist Rana Ayyub on Why Social Distancing Is a Privilege

Special Edition: Journalist Rana Ayyub on Why Social Distancing Is a Privilege

April 3, 2020

In the latest special edition of the BoF Podcast, Indian journalist and author Rana Ayyub joins BoF’s Editor-in-Chief Imran Amed to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on the lives thousands of migrant labourers, many of whom work in India's now-shuttered textile industry.

 

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