On June 17th, the distance between Riyadh and New York got shorter. Fashion Futures relaunched as a digital platform with an online event. Fashion Futures Live, powered by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and programming in collaboration with Fashinnovation, raised important discussion topics. The event united 40 speakers from 5 continents.
The audience could hear some of the most inspiring and revolutionary voices from the fashion industry. And, in case you’ve missed it, don’t worry. The full event is available on YouTube and here we’ll tell you all about the highlights.
Fashion Futures Live
Fashion Futures Live started at 8 AM EST and delivered more than 6 hours of important discussions to the audience. The TV presenter and Journalist, Taghrid Alhowish in Riyadh was the MC alongside Jordana Guimarães, Co-Founder of Fashinnovation as the MC in NYC. During the programming, they presented poll questions to the viewers, not only inviting everyone to participate but discussing important topics and building with them an inclusive dialogue.
Her Highness Princess Noura bint Faisal Al Saud opened the event. She proposed an important discussion on how to raise awareness and use fashion for good.
Following her, Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief UNCTAD of the New York Office of the Secretary-General spoke a few, but strong, words. She emphasized that raising awareness and promoting cooperation and networking are key to evoking change.
Fashion Futures Live Part 1: Entrepreneurship & Experimentation
Global Fashion Agenda (GFA): Sustainability Fashion’s First Priority
To open up the discussion on the first part of the program, Morten Lehmann, Chief Sustainability Officer of GFA, did a keynote. “If we change fashion, we can change everything”, he stated. Therefore, to promote the changes needed, we need to act now, and “act even though the perfect solutions are not in place yet”. Truth is, the consequences of not acting are bigger than acting now, so it’s a risk worth taking. It is only possible to reverse climate change and protect the environment if we do it right away and not wait any longer.
Entrepreneurship as a Collective
This panel had Katia Beauchamp, Co-Founder of Birchbox, moderated by Stephanie Cartin, Co-Founder of Socialfly & Entreprenistas. Beauchamp shared with us a little about her journey. She said that her role in her company changed a lot since they started it. She proudly says that, now, they can be more democratic and work with smaller companies to help them grow. Katia also opened her heart and told how she manages her entrepreneurial life with her four children.“It’s okay to understand that your life is happening around you, along with the business”.
Building a Legacy – Fashion X Design
The third panel of the day had Marie Driscoll, Managing Director Luxury & Fashion of Coresight Research. She received Lamia Al Otayshan Aydin, Designer at Les Benjamins; Sara Sozzano Maino, Deputy Editor-In-Chief of VOGUE Italia, Head of Vogue Talents; Oskar Metsavaht, Founder of Osklen; and Nadja Swarovski, Chair at Swarovski Foundation. The panelists discussed building a profitable and successful company but without leaving important values behind. They also emphasized that the young generation is the future. Therefore, companies need to give them space to create, innovate, and be listened to!
Entrepreneurship Mindset Inspiring the Fashion Industry
Aizel Trudel, Founder and CEO of AIZEL, “had a bigger dream and wanted to be an independent woman”. That’s what motivated her to create her company and work hard on it. She always believed in her idea of bringing designers from all over the world to Russia. Trudel also left an inspiring message for young entrepreneurs: “no fear, follow your gut and believe in your dreams. Mistakes can be painful. But the pain goes away and experience is what is left”.
Fashion Futures Live Part 2: Culture & Style
The Face of Leadership
Our Co-Founder, Jordana Guimarães, moderated this panel. She proudly spoke with four women: Helen Aboah, CEO at Urban Zen; Abrima Erwiah, Co-Founder at Studio One Eighty Nine; Arwa AlAmmari, Designer at ArAm; and Bazza Al Zouman, Designer. Embracing individuality, women empowerment and ethics were some of the subjects discussed on the panel. They all left a beautiful message for companies: if still today you’re not inclusive, eventually, you’ll fade away, because inclusivity, diversity, and plural voices won’t be silenced.
Inspiration in Design via Culture & Style
Fernanda Simon, Sustainability Editor at Vogue Brazil, and Sebastien Kopp, Co-Founder of Veja, got together to raise awareness on ecological practices. Kopp said that to make sure a brand is truly sustainable and socially conscious, they need to take care of every step of production. Kopp asserted their no advertising strategy. Instead of spending money with propaganda, Veja uses it to build a sustainable production and assure that their workers are being fairly paid. “Everybody is talking about growth and money. We need to spend more time and love on things that are good for everyone. Not just for a part of society”, said the entrepreneur at the end of the conversation.
Diversity & Inclusion as a Business Model
In this panel, Yousef Akbar, Designer at Yousef Akbar; Elle B. Mambetov, Fashion Designer at Elle B Shou; Zizi Cardow, Designer; and Bandar Hawsawi, International Supermodel spoke on important matters. Alexandra Finkel, Director of Talent Acquisition & Inclusion of Bustle Digital Group moderated the discussion. Between all of the topics, they touched on one of the industry’s pain points. As Yousef said, “even though it’s always something good to highlight, diversity and inclusion, a lot of brands just do it, or say they do it, but don’t actually do it. The real test of diversity is within the company”. Therefore, companies and citizens need to really act. Not just say they do it because consumers are now demanding these actions.
Fashion Futures Live Part 3: Investment in New Business Models and Innovative Solutions
Technologies Across the Supply Chain Towards Sustainability
Three important voices were moderated by Michael Ferraro, Director of Dtech Lab at FIT. Stephanie Benedetto, CEO & Co-Founder at Queen of Raw; Veronica Chou, Founder & CEO of Everybody & Everyone; and Francesca Rosella, Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder of CuteCircuit got together to open the third part. As they said, the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter of water in the world. Stephanie said that concerning sustainability, most of the industry is only focused on small collections. So her hope for the future is “that we realize that sustainability can be automatic, on a large scale and profitable”. In addition, the panelists pointed out how technology is the game-changer for the industry in that fashion can be functional, technological, beautiful, and environmentally responsible.
Female Founder – Being Fearless
Rebecca Minkoff spoke with Raisa Bruner, Editor at Time Magazine. The creative director at the brand with the same name as hers talked about her recently launched book, Fearless. She shared with the audience a bit of her entrepreneurial journey. She redefined the word fearless and stated that “you’re gonna have fear, but you won’t let it stop you”.
Influence of Fashion for Social Cause
Carry Somers, Co-Founder and Global Operations Director at Fashion Revolution, did an inspiring speech. By telling an interesting story of a woman that used to work in slavery conditions for the fashion industry, she reinforced how powerful storytelling can be to make a change. The idea is to tell stories and, in the end, leave a call to action so that these stories touch people’s hearts and make them act.
Environmental Efforts in Fashion via Entrepreneurship
Konrad Olsson, Editor-In-Chief & Founder of Scandinavian Mind, spoke with Giulio Bonazzi. He is the CEO and Chairman of Aquafil Group, which sells products to 200 fashion companies worldwide, such as Gucci and Stella McCartney. As he said, recycling is not so easy, “but it’s just a matter of time before textile waste starts to be collected”. Their discussion highlighted how important it is to circulate and reduce all kinds of waste. And, above all, “if you’re willing to change the world we need three things: Good legislation, education, and eco-design”, Bonazzi affirmed.
Fashion Future Lives Part 4: Sustainable Development Goals
Transparency via Partnerships in Fashion
Jill Dumain, former CEO of Bluesign discussed how transparency needs to be part of every company. They need to be aware of their production process and share it with their consumers. “The partnership needs to respect all of the players in the system” Dumain affirmed. She also emphasized that business owners must make sure that every corner of the supply chain, from the raw material to the end consumer, is being respected.
Institutions & Media Focusing on Sustainability
Lewis Perkins, President at Apparel Impact Institute, had a conversation with Kerry Bannigan, Founder of the Conscious Fashion Campaign. Perkins spoke about how the industry was ready to scale impact in a way in which the consequences will be minimized. He also said that “we have to come together as one to present that approach”. In other words, the intersection of two different worlds must happen to create the transformation we need in the industry.
Influencing Towards Sustainability
“Why can’t we repeat an outfit? Why is it considered a tabu ”, those were some of Marina Testino’s words in this panel. The creative director and activist at Point Off View Inc. talked about her projects to raise awareness among people regarding consumption. Her idea is to “remark sustainability in a different way from what people have in mind”, create awareness, and provoke change.
The Future of Fashion – Conservation, Oceans & Activism
Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud and Susa Rockefeller, Founder of Musings, got together on this panel. As they said, the fashion industry has many issues that just with education and action they can be fixed. Waste is one of the biggest problems and everything around it must be reconsidered and rethought. H.R.H Princess Reema said that empathy is the key to transformation, along with slowing down the production process.
Future of Fashion is Now
Burak Cakmak, CEO of Fashion Commission, closed the event highlighting its takeaways. As he said, technology must be considered when it comes to making a cleaner and more conscious fashion industry.
Most panels also mentioned how the younger generations are the future. We were born in a world in which we already knew its issues. We have the power, the resources, and the chance to change this situation and leave a positive legacy.
Which part of the event was your favorite? Share with us on Social Media. And, in case you didn’t watch Fashion Futures Live yet, don’t forget to check our Youtube channel. These discussions are amazing and can’t be forgotten.