Posted 14 June 2015
Reporting from the fashion frontline
It’s been 10 years since I, Stuart Gonsal, established my business and, as the Director, I need to be very selective in which business events I attend. My time is valuable. Networking is a bonus, but the real benefit comes from seeing live case studies and hearing from true industry leaders, in particular relating to digital solutions.
I discovered the L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival in 2010, and was absolutely blown away by the quality of its presenters. Whilst the event was indeed very glamorous, it also had a terrific business rigor. Due to the changing nature of the fashion and retail world, I was thrilled to see a strong focus in online retail.
Host for the day was renowned publishing executive and fashion commentator Robyn Holt. In leading off proceedings, she expained the purpose of the event was to provide real life observations and case studies relating to branding for the future. In particular, identifying new ways to connect to the consumer and via which mediums. What language to use, and differences between how to best handle the traditional bricks and mortar retail, versus promoting/ selling online.
The first keynote was by Mikael Schiller, CEO of ACNE Studios. If I could sum up his background and focus, it’s to manage dynamics between art and industry. ACNE is first and foremost a fabulous fashion brand, and interestingly they have embraced other creative mediums including blending music, film and furniture. In terms of the internet and e-commerce, this was a key part of their strategy right from the outset and now makes up around 10% of their revenue. Like their beautifully designed products and flagship stores, Mikael sees their website as an image portal. So, the balance between great site visuals and practical catalogue selling is always a tricky. He suggested that it’s crucial to find the best people possible to collaborate with, let them develop, and don’t try to achieve all of your ideas. Simplicity and coherence of brand is crucial. Also, working with great photographers is key. However, unlike a magazine shoot where 5 killer shots for a day’s work is fine, his website requires up to 5,000 shots so it’s a big challenge.
Originally published 21 December 2014