Life at TFI

November 9, 2009

Each week, I will post a picture on the life and times of Savillian.

Guest Blogger – John Medalla (Savillian Intern)

The Future of Retailing Lecture at Ryerson University


Last week I attended the Fashion Forward: Future of Fashion Retailing lecture at the Ted Rogers School of Management. The whole auditorium was packed full of students from the management, fashion, and interior design schools. Professionals and business executives from various retailers were also in attendance and those that came late happily stood at the back. The speakers were Canada’s premier retailing mavens, which explained the great turnout:  Joe Mimran, The Creative Director of Joe Fresh Style & President’s Choice Home (Formerly of Club Monaco),  Larry Rosen the CEO of the Canadian High end clothing company  Harry Rosen,  Kimberly Newport-Mimran, The Creative Director and President, Pink Tartan. Also in attendance were Ganedra Nikhil, a partner at McKinsey & Company, and Adrian Mainella the host of Fashion File who moderated the event.

 The first topic they discussed was the recession’s impact on the industry. There are basically three changes happening in retail: customers are buying more basic goods from value retailers (Walmart), more customers are waiting till final sale, and customers are deferring the purchase of luxury goods. Due to this shift of values a majority of retailers are now struggling with maintaining their brands. Retailers face tough questions: should they discount their products heavily, increasing their sales but affecting their brand image? Or should they stay put and watch their sales decline?

The speakers advocated the importance of social media and e-commerce. Everything is shifting towards social media, the use of Facebook and Twitter as a way of connecting to new and younger customers cannot be ignored. Blogs and websites draw people in and can be used to deepen the customer relationship and their experience with the brand. Any retailer that does not embrace the web will be left behind.

There is a big movement towards sustainable/green products. With the fashion industry being one of the highest polluters, consumers hold the fashion industry accountable to create socially conscious and eco-friendly products. The speakers said that it is hard to be eco-friendly when customers are not willing to spend the extra cost of producing sustainable products. However, should consumers pay more for something fashion brands should already be doing? Why should the extra cost be passed on to the consumer? 

The event was definitely an impressive experience. The speakers gave great insights about the future of fashion retailing and I hope to attend another one of these lectures in the future.

 – John M


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