Grand Hall1. Made in BRICS+. National brands - the basis of the single market
The most anticipated event on Day 1 was the plenary session – National brands - the basis of the single market. The session was moderated by Tina Kandelaki
‘The global fashion industry is currently going through transformations, and the game rules are changing,’ she said in her opening speech. ‘Local brands are getting go-ahead. A designer from anywhere globally can break into a big time.’ Reaffirming this statement, the honorary guest of the plenary session Ornella Muti, an Italian film actress, producer, and businesswoman
admitted that she loves Russian brands and wears them.Alexey Fursin, Minister of the Moscow Government, Head of the Department of Culture of the City of Moscow,
announced: ‘In 2022, we held the Fashion Week that was attended by 1.5 mln people. What was next? We had to gather not only the Russian regions at a single venue in Moscow. The objective was to bring together international communities from the BRICS countries, the Middle East, the Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Today’s Forum is a proof that the said countries are ready to work together, to develop their local brands, and to cooperate with Russia and each other.’
When asked about the secret of her brand’s success, Alena Akhmadullina
, designer and CEO, explained that every brand has a secret of its own, although the common feature is knowing how to get into the stride – not the fashion-related, but social. It is important that the designer feels the community’s demand. In her case, this demand included distinction, local stories, and a national code. ‘In opposition to massive utility and pragmatism, the time of design is coming back,’ she added. According to the designer, the fashion field is rapidly developing. Quite soon, big-name brands are going to give place to the local ones in this turbulent flow.
Tinatin Kandelaki asked Yang Jian
what brands he was wearing, and the Executive Chairman of the China Fashion Association replied, ‘My costume is locally made, but my shoes are from the UK.’
During the discussion, the participants brought up an important topic – why clothes design in Russia can’t be independent? Why do many producers keep making orders in China or using feedstock from Italy?
It was Oleg Bocharov, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade (Russia)
who tried to answer this question: ‘On the global scale, they’ve been cutting us of stock materials in the last three decades. To restore polyether production, I have to provide a guarantee to ‘Sibur’ or ‘Tatneft’ that we are going to consume 360 thousand tons of such threads. Alas, even if I consolidate all of the state and defense contracts, we’ll hardly reach 5% of this amount, as all the market is currently in the grey area. This is a disputable matter but I have to say that our consumers don’t have to be affected either when it comes to their wallets, or the assortment of goods. Our citizens change their clothes a lot. This year, the Russian consumer goods industry has seen a 6 to 7% growth, as we can produce things faster when we do it locally. Moscow is the major driver of the local industry, as we have about 40 thousand designers here.Cem Altan, Board member of the Istanbul Apparel Exporters Association
, remarked that large-scale design competitions can promote development of the local brands. ‘Most of those taking part in the Istanbul Fashion Week have come from the Emerging Designers Competition, which we established 26 years ago,’ he said. ‘Such initiatives are a way of taking brands out to the markets, including to the international platforms.’
Photos available at: https://disk.yandex.ru/d/rpSiZL9Maw19Gw2. Democratization of Fashion, how local becomes global
Moderator Tatyana Naumova
offered the central topic for the discussion – how is fashion being made more democratic and decentralized today, and what is required for that? How are these processes going on and what part BRICS+ countries can have in them?Senan Kamel Alwan – CEO of Baghdad Fashion Week
, answered the question about the influence that BRICS countries can have on fashion: 40% of the world's gross output product is generated by BRICS countries, so their economic power is quite obvious. But the second direction of fashion is about trends and designers. At the moment, we don't see trends coming from Brazil, China, or South Africa, so the BRICS+ alliance should work to develop trends of their own and to help them spread worldwide,’Tatyana Komissarova
– Professor from Higher School of Economics, suggested that new fashion influence centers are going to emerge, and Russia is one of the countries that is capable of establishing them. Despite the fact that the consumer audience in our country is rather conservative, it still reacts fairly quickly to changes and new trends. ‘On average, it takes a Russian consumer a year and a half to get used to new brands, which is relatively fast,’ she elaborated.Vitaly Stepanov
– CEO of the Moscow Export Center – talked about programs that support local businesses when they enter the global markets: ‘Our organization was established by the Moscow Government to promote and support Moscow's products in foreign markets. The Moscow Export Center offers 30+ different services and tools to the fashion business to enable brand promotion abroad. For instance, this year we've arranged an exhibition at the China International Fashion Fair (CHIC) in Shanghai, where 15 Moscow brands showcased their products and held B2B meetings.’Uma Rutanova
– CEO and co-founder of Two Eagles, shared her experience of working in foreign markets. In 3 years, she created a successful accessories brand. She used traditional ornamental fabrics as she had recognized a remarkable trend of using local cultural traditions in design.Binod Singh
– Managing Director at BRICS Institute, summarized the discussion: ‘Instead of competing in the fashion sector, we should join our strengths to achieve amazing results. Moscow is rich in design, while India is rich in traditional methods. We could create a fusion of technology and craftsmanship, and it will be beneficial for all.’
Photos available at: https://disk.yandex.ru/d/1Jt1aabdlBq5bg3. Closed loop fashion. An inspiring utopia?
The session moderator and RBK TV presenter Elina Tikhonova
presented some statistics: over the past 15 years, clothing production worldwide doubled, and in terms of CO2 emissions, the textile industry has surpassed both maritime shipping and international flights. According to the Global Fashion Agenda report, by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions from the fashion industry will go up by 1/3 from now. Besides, the fashion industry ranks second in the world in terms of water consumption.
‘After the pandemic, consumer habits have changed a lot,’ said Aishwarya Sharma
– Sustainability Advisor for Fort Fashion Council. ‘Now, safety's become everyone’s concern.’ Marketplaces have emerged that sell only eco-friendly products. People are paying more attention to what they buy and what they wear. We can see it even in India.’Irina Leonova,
founder of Russia’s first vegan bioleather handbag brand, SEVEN PIECES, agreed that consumer mindset is changing, but added that this process is complex and slow, and has to be worked on. She elaborated that consumers who do not yet understand why they should choose eco-friendly products should be enlightened at the government level.
‘In Turkey, it took us 20 years to make sure that the state supports and even sponsors producing eco-friendly materials,’ said Nejla Guvenc
– multidisciplinary designer.
‘In 2001, Sustainable World Movement emerged in our country. When we started it all, we believed that only designers, only mass market fashion makers could change the world. We are grateful to our government for their support. Over the last 3 years, the demand for products made of renewable materials has increased by 450% in Turkey.’
The session was also participated by Viktoria Generalova
– CEO of General VI, and Margarita Reznikova
– founder and Creative Director of RISHI upcycling brand.
Photos available at: https://disk.yandex.ru/d/GMJf-eFka94WBg 4. Strategic entry. Expanding a fashion brand into new marketsDaniya Tkacheva
– consulting expert and CEO of Dynasty brand, who moderated this session, raised a hot point: what does the state do to help Russian brands get to BRICS+ countries?
‘We have all kinds of support arrangements for Moscow-based business operators, and they can be divided into two big portions,’ answered Kristina Kostroma
, Head of Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development, City of Moscow. ‘The first one is aimed at helping them create a product. The second part is about promotion. Anyway, thetextile and leather industry is one of the priority sectors, and we are doing everything possible to help entrepreneurs cut their costs.’ Kristina added that the Moscow Export Center had been opened for export proceedings. It offers business operators different kinds of help – from market approaching advice and contract making to direct financial support.Mmantlha Sankoloba
– CEO of Botswana Exporters & Manufacturers Association, added that to get to an overseas market successfully one should believe in their own identity, stand for their own culture, have general trends in mind but be unique at the same time.Anastasiya Vasilkova
– Business development director of Choupette, spoke about her brand’s successful experience of international scaling up. ‘It’s important to understand what your export product is, what exactly you are going to export,’ she said. ‘Not always you should take your entire brand overseas. You can come up with a special offer, something you are an expert in, something that is likely to be much-in-demand in a certain location.’Sameep Shastri
– Vice-Chairman of BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry – added that expanding any brand is a complex procedure, in which both logistics and understanding of the target consumer matters. ‘When interacting with the BRICS+ countries, you need to understand how people think there and how much they use the Internet. It is also important to gain insights into the local culture, which is of great importance in the fashion world,’ he added.
Photos available at: https://disk.yandex.ru/d/SQce7PMciwDTuA5. Codes of culture and the slippery slope of appropriated cultureAnna Rykova
– a stylist and a teacher at the British Higher School of Art and Design, started the discussion named ‘Codes of culture and the slippery slope of appropriated culture.’
She addressed her first question about the composition of country’s cultural code to Gulnara Agamova
– CEO of the Creative Industries Agency. ‘Recently, we’ve made a study to know how many crafts there are in Russia,’ Gulnara answered. ‘What we found were 63 thousand specimens of different goods. That is, our heritage is immensely rich. The question is how to integrate this cultural code here and now. You know, with it we will be able to convey our meanings, our values and priorities to the whole world.’Svetlana Rodina
– owner and designer of Loom by Rodina – confirmed that the time had come to pay attention to turn to arts and crafts, to change how they are seen. They should no longer be just souvenirs but deserve to get their previous value back. ‘After the pandemic, I started traveling around Russia to look for lace, because the borders were closed and the logistic chains were disrupted. I realized that we have more than 20 crafts dedicated to embroidery alone, she said.Antonio Shin
– founder and designer of Shin brand, expressed his regrets about no one in presentio wearing some traditional clothes. Then he added that production of traditional Russian lace is not enough to promote Russian culture across the world.
Designer Alexandra Gapanovich
touched on the sensitive topic of cultural appropriation: ‘It is very important that the European world paid attention to this. First of all, to the fact that we must respect other people's culture. I think that this is primarily about respect, about dignity and focus. As a designer, I don't like that they won’t let me find inspiration in other cultures. It limits me as an artist. I wish I could look for inspiration in the Indian culture, African culture, or Russian culture, or whatever I saw yesterday. This is very important to me.’Nadezhda Abzaeva
– founder of ABZAEVA brand – remarked that creativity and culture should go hand in hand: ‘Hybrid mentality, I mean, when we explore ourselves by means of art, when we turn to our roots and genes, and history, is when we establish a connection that doesn’t promote separation but helps us find something in common.’
The session was also attended by Arzu Vagifgizi
– Head of PR Department of Azerbaijan Fashion Week, and Mansoureh Mirzaei
– Executive Director and Director of Fashion Department at Iranian Public Diplomacy Foundation.
Photos available at: https://disk.yandex.ru/d/2yRp5fV0KjrK9 6. Celebrity style on and off the screen
Day 1 of the business program in the Grand Hall of the Moscow Concert Hall (Zaryadye) was closed with a round table discussion about the celebrity style on and off the screen. It was participated by cinema officials from all over the world. The session was moderated by Madonna Mur
– journalist and media manager.
Cinema and fashion are tightly connected and can influence both each other and the consumer. What comes first, fashion or cinema? Do films and TV series set trends or just mirror them? What is cinema for fashion – a marketing tool, a means of communication, or just a source of inspiration? These were the issues offered to the participants.
Moscow is currently working to establish a major cinema cluster, announced Lyudmila Tsoi
, Acting Deputy Head of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development of the city of Moscow.
‘300+ hectares have been allocated in New Moscow area to construct this cinema hub. This will be one of the largest cinema parks in the world, and there will be enough space to build any sets one might think of. The studio filming zone is going to increase five-fold soon.’
Film costume designer Anastasia Batalova
admitted that in her work she is often inspired by things she sees at the catwalks. She suggested that emerging costume designers should watch as many fashion shows and catwalk looks, streetstyle photographs as possible.
‘Today’s Bollywood is the only industry that creates fantastic looks and images. Everything is so exaggerated, including the costumes. Every actor has a stylist of their own because the reality presented on screen is so very different from the real one,’ said actress Pavleen Gujral
, CEO of Cinettica Fashion and Art Film Festival, mentioned the new emerging trend – fashion films. In such films, costumes and fashion are the protagonists. For those who want to work and proceed in this field, there are dedicated festivals, including the Nick Knight Festival. ‘At first, I was stunned to learn that there are companies that produce fashion films alone. However, now I'm scouting for filmmakers working in this genre, the ones with bright and vivid ideas,’ he added.
The session was also participated by actress and designer Siena Lee
, Lizzy Wang
– artist, music producer and DJ from Warner Music Asia, Bench Bello
– Editor-in-Chief of Ganap Magazine, and Natalya Kanevskaya
– costume and fashion designer.
Photos available at https://disk.yandex.ru/d/bpFWZUB5tuLiiAChamber Hall7. Learning in style. Contemporary methods of education
Progress in education was discussed by Gulbash Duggal
– Dean of the International College of Fashion, Yulia Kopchikova
– founder of Leetme Pro, Greg Maragelis
– Director of the Cape Town College of Fashion Design, Olga Mikhailovskaya
– Creative Director of Front Fashion School, Ekaterina Beresneva
– founder of REIN, Sergey Sysoev
– designer of SERGEY SYSOEV, and Elena Shestakova
– jewelry designer of ERE. The session was moderated by Victoria Romashova
, Head of Fashion and Digital & Communication Design Departments at the British Higher School of Art and Design.
During the session, the participants discussed many issues – from getting to the bottom of business procedures to significance of cultural codes in collections. The session participants agreed on the main issue with today’s education, which is the lack of practicing experts in teaching. Another pressing matter is the myth about education in fashion being exclusive and elite. Students fall for the ruse, but while working on their first project, they start to suspect that this activity requires continuous development, education, and training.
Today, many education programs have appeared in the market, from fundamental training and professional retraining to short-term courses that allow one to quickly get the necessary skills and give young specialists a chance to scale new heights. Approaches to education are transforming, too. Today, universities are talking about setting up a portfolio and about practice-focused learning, the problem-based approach, and collaborations with the industry. At the same time, emulated business procedures are being integrated into education programs.
Photos available at https://disk.yandex.ru/d/95Lm6_4ZUet-bg 8. Fashion brands as an integral part of urban identity
The speakers discussed the connections between fashion brands and the urban identity. Every metropolis is a platform where fashion brands originate and come into being – the ones that can absorb the local specifics. Similarly to urbanism, fashion has an important part in creation of a visual image. One of the main ideas for discussion was announced by Ksenia Guseva
, curator of the exhibition ‘House of Models. Industry of images’: ‘Today, a metropolis is the place where trends come into being. Of course, there are cultural codes encrypted in the regions of a particular country, but the main factory of fashion is in big cities. Moscow is one of such factories, indeed.’
During the discussion, Ariadna Grant
– documentarist and journalist at Itaca Documentaries & El País Semanal outlined that a relevant national brand does not necessarily encompass some typical ethnic motives. It is enough to take a single element and make it popular throughout the world.
One of the most hot topics for discussion was the impact of urban infrastructure on our clothing habits. After all, the city imposes own rules of style and fashion on its citizens, which leads to a conceptual relationship and makes the urban identity impact the fashion trends. Different city districts can have their own fashion trends and styles, highlighting significance of the urban environment context. Yurate Gurauskaite
, founder and Creative Director of U Magazine, stated: ‘Today, there are so many people who where cool clothes, who have established a style of their own, with sportswear in the lead. This urban style followed by the younger generation offers hope that fashion will not go evanescent or fade into insignificance, but on the contrary, we will be able to move it forward.’
At the end of the session, the participants agreed that the term ‘fashion capital’ is quite flexible and can be understood differently. However, over the coming years we can expect both Moscow and Mexico to approach this status. The session was also participated by: Larisa Koltashova
– CEO at Fashion Trends, and Vsevolod Okin
– CEO and co-founder at horovod.space.
Photos available at https://disk.yandex.ru/d/QScXvP6i9P5SOQ 9. (Not) a useless agent. Buyer public talk
As part of the discussion program, speakers talked about essential aspects of successful brand promotion and working with buyers. Buyers have the key role in brand promotion, as they communicate with each other, share experiences, and talk about new brands and designers. If a designer collaborates with a buyer and manages to sell his or her collection in the buyer’s boutique, it is highly likely that others will hear about the brand soon. Then there will be photographic coverage by magazines, publications in the media, runway shows, advertising with influencers, and perfect brand design. All these activities help to increase brand awareness and get into the spotlight of potential buyers.Francieli Vargas Hess,
CEO of Hess, mentioned the following: ‘What’s important now is not fast fashion, but a story, or a narration. We no longer have to follow certain trends. The time has come to showcase something bigger In the future, very designer is going to have his or her 15 minutes of fame.’ Alexandra Varchuk
, Head of Department at Bosco di Ciliegi, said, ‘We see many trends every season, and on average each of these trends has been formed by an agency and fashion mass media.
These are a few subjects the designers ask us to focus on. A buyer has to collect all this information, study it carefully, and then adapt the designer’s message for the customers. The buyer’s task is to know your target audience, to know who you buy things for, and know how many of these you should buy. It is the buyer who is the agent between the designer and the consumer of the goods.’ Giulio Di Sabato
– President of GDS Group and Director of Sari Spazio, made the audience focus on the matter of working together – ‘My slogan is “We should collaborate.” Today it is important to communicate, to get to know people, and to be close, because we need to rebuild our future. Why does Italy remain one of the major countries in terms of the fashion industry? That’s because we have a unique fashion chain: first fabric producers, then clothing manufacturers, then distributors, and finally the consumers.’Chen Nicole
, CEO and founder of NC SPACE, drew attention of the participants to the part that social media have in any brand’s development. ‘I have to be a blogger and a fashion buyer, because if I fail to attend to my social networks, my store will collapse the next day,’ she said. ‘Today, there’s the only way to do things. I have to present designer products, stores and myself, too, because otherwise no one will see the difference between my store and any other boutique.’
The session was also attended by Ali Shafaque
– founder and Creative Firector at Shafaque and Shafaque Designs, and Marina Kostyuk
– Brand Manager of the Section Department at Bosco di Ciliegi.Photos available at https://disk.yandex.ru/d/xAPcXXqIqloRYA