How day 2 of Business program at BRICS+ Fashion Summit was held
Day 2 of BRICS+ Fashion Summit started with a new business program track. The Entrepreneurship track encompassed 11 panel discussions, 1 plenary session, and 3 TED talks. Lectures by fashion experts took place in the Grand, Chamber, and Open Halls of the Moscow Concert Hall Zaryadye. All the sessions were recorded and can be watched at the official website of the event
Similar to all other days of the BRICS+ Fashion Summit, the B2B showroom was open, where 120+ designers from around the world were presented. Then, there was the fashion intensive course part. Tomorrow, the participants of the Summit will have the opportunity to attend the World Fashion Shorts Festival at the Artplay Design Center (Multimedia Hall) and discuss the films demonstrated with experts.

The following sessions were held on Wednesday, November 29.

Grand Hall (Photo:

1.  The orbital race. High-profile discoveries, or offline shopping as a statement

During the discussion arranged at BRICS+ Fashion Summit, the speakers talked about the importance of flagship stores in the fashion industry. Today, a flagship store is not only a brand display but also a cornerstone of its philosophy, and its symbol, too. It draws attention to the brand and sets trends for the brand’s retail chain. Consumers don’t just visit such stores for shopping. They come for emotions, for a good mood, so the interior design is what matters. Founders of brands and designers of the most peculiar offline stores, which have made a real fuss in the fashion world, took place in the event. The main question of the session was, ‘How do availability and design of a flagship store contribute to the brand image and what impact can these have on the audience?’

Speaking about their brand, Alisa Boha – Fashion Designer of MONOCHROME, explained why they needed to go offline: ‘It’s important for us to meet our customers face-to-face. We want them to come to our store and feel our brand’s philosophy. When people come to us, it’s like they come to my place. They feel that they are welcome and well cared of by our employees.’

Valerii Sidorov, Founder of Prostranstvo Bureau: ‘Indeed, before going offline was the only way of telling people that your business is out there. But today, it’s important to establish offline venues, because this way you can build a tremendous and deep emotional connection with your customer. And, of course, it’s the home of the brand, where we welcome our customers and can share our values with them.’

Vassa Yakovleva, Brand Director and Chief Designer of VASSA&Co, answered this question, too. According to her, ‘Today, the energy of a place has a crucial role. This energy can be brought in by top architects. It should be a powerful experience that makes your customers willing to come again. This is what tells them a story about people working for the brand, the brand’s energy and the message it conveys.’

Maria Tsakharias, Architect and Retail-designer from RMMSH architect buro, noted that ‘their global mission is to inspire customers, to make them buy things by means of the interior. For example, when we worked with YULIAWAVE, we designed a flexible transformable space for their flagship store and added various unique features like an 8-meter display and TV panels, we used a background made of branded lining for jewelry and added one piece that became the main attraction – a concrete panel resembling the brand’s jacket.’

Angelina Aslanova, CEO of Angelina Aslanova Arсhitects, spoke about the importance of having all kinds of tricks and features in a flagship store, even if authenticity is at the core of your brand. ‘Our intent is to design eye-catching interior solutions. We exhibit various art objects in flagship stores, because art can interact with all other fields, whereas it cannot exist on its own. When visitors come to such a store, they get to know us and our brand, they learn the story we are willing to tell,’ she said.

When asked how a flagship store can be more than the endpoint for a brand and how to balance between offline and online so that such a store remains a point of attraction, Olga Leffers, Founder and Designer of Leffers, answered that boutiques should tell the story of the brand: ‘When a person puts on clothes, they want to communicate some message to the world. That is, each of us uses garments to tell the world a story about themselves in a nonverbal way. It’s the same with a boutique. If a brand has a store that doesn’t have a real idea at the heart of it, there will be no way to introduce it ‘by hand.’

Alina Farkhutdinova, Founder of the Bloggers Relations Advertising Agency, mentioned that she pays attention to specific things when working with flagship stores: ‘If we are talking about designer clothes, our goal is to sell not only some things, but also a lifestyle. That is, we want to have certain designer things because we want to be part of a relevant lifestyle. Therefore, when we advertise things, we should pay attention not only to the clothes we sell, but also to the services that we can offer at a certain store.’

Summing up, Anna Zabroda, Moderator and Presenter at RBC TV, said the following: ‘A flagship store is not only the ‘spokesperson’ of the brand. It is an opportunity to meet customers face-to-face and share your life force. And most importantly, it’s never too late to open a flagship boutique. The time is always right regardless of the crisis.’

2.  Growth hormone. How to become a fast-growing brand?

One of the main questions of the session was ‘How can fashion brands grow faster and get to a new level?’ Participants discussed various tools that can help fashion entrepreneurs grow and develop faster, be more competitive in the market, and get into the focus of investors. Moreover, the discussion revealed the optimal strategies and opportunities for cooperation between different participants of the fashion industry.

Ilya Bulichev, Founder and Chief Designer of BLCV brand, said: ‘It looks like all of us are currently looking for some kind of a magic pill that will help the brand grow. But the most essential thing is that even if such a pill exists, it will kill the brand and prevent it from surging forward. If one would like to try some growing elixir, this could be the ability to sell correctly. But how does one sell correctly? This is a wide range of different things, from understanding who your target audience is to realizing what kind of content they want to get.’

Talking about her own brand, Radical Chic, Aleksandra Kaloshina, Founder of Solstudio Textile Group, outlined that ‘the path they’ve been treading is a perfect example of what a creative company can achieve. The important thing was that we worked on our own analytics, because textile designers are ahead of everyone. It was analytics that gave us all the opportunities. From a small studio that sold fabric designs for literally every textile exhibition, we managed to become a brand with a factory of its own.’

‘Today, brands can’t do without storytelling because it’s what creates an emotional connection between the customer and your brand,’ said Shirene Rifai, Founder and CEO of Jordan Fashion Week & Shirene Consulting. ‘Next, you need to constantly focus on making sure your brand has a unique identity. This is what makes you different from other designers. Make sure the consumer looks at your stuff and is instantly able to tell it apart from all others. It makes your customer trust you and makes them loyal to you. Today, it’s also important to rely on innovation in design, to incorporate technology into your products.’

‘Innovation can be in fabrics, in your equipment, in promotion, but not in design making,’ Gyulnara Agamova, CEO of Creative Industries Agency, shared her point. ‘It’s also important to realize what kind of brand you are, if you are developing or if you have already been established. That’s because when you are a beginner, your task is not about innovation at all. You need to get to the heart of all the trends, to know what you are going to produce, and what is unique about your collections. When you are an established brand, you can introduce some innovations like AR.’

Talking about advanced technologies in the fashion industry, Alexey Kulakov, CMO of Lamoda, said: ‘I think the big technology trend in fashion is the way of speeding up the industry. That is, in a few years we are going to come to a point when following the trends, finding a conceptual insight for a collection, launching it for production, and releasing it will be happening really fast. But this speed and technology will never replace the idea itself. Art is about our sense of time, and technology will never be able to replace it.’

To draw a line in this talk about innovative technologies, David Tlale, Founder and Creative Director of David Tlale, expressed his point of view, too: ‘We have to appreciate technology, but we also need to upgrade our professional skills in order to do what we do. When we talk about the product we make and the growth hormone, we forget about the most important thing, which is learning how to make clothes properly. If you have mastered that, you can do anything you choose.’

Alia Khan, Chairwoman of Islamic Fashion and Design Council, spoke about how audience attention can be captured in the biggest operation countries: ‘Stop focusing on ethnic clothing. Local culture is a good thing, but they want something different. They want something up-to-date. Choose a different language to communicate with the audience, offer them good fashion. Just do what you do best. Remember there are some subtleties, but once you find out what they are, then that's it. You’re on an easy street.’

The session ended with a quick poll arranged by the moderator, Tatyana Naumova, Project Manager at NTV. She invited the speakers to imagine that a brand’s ‘growth hormone’ had its own formula, and each speaker had to name an ingredient they would add. The fashion industry experts offered influence via accessible media, making products for a loyal audience, passion, conscious vision, and continuous learning.

3.   Staff in trend. Skills required for a fashion business operator

The speakers discussed new business competencies and compiled a portrait of an up-to-date manager. To rapidly develop a private company or a brand, a fashion business operator needs to be flexible and easily adjust to the continuously changing market and consumer demands. He or she should also possess some skills in management, know the basics of marketing, trade, production, and even design. The most important thing is to emphasize your strengths, but also remember that you have to work on your weaknesses and turn them into advantages. The session was moderated by Alexey Svishchev, Dean of the Faculty of International Relations IBDA (RANEPA).

Paul Antaki – Chairman at EFDC: ‘Today, a fashion business operator requires a whole set of skills, including a clear understanding of the local market, an ability to manage finances, and leadership skills. This is extremely important for any business. There should always be a person who can manage numbers – a Math person, who shouldn’t necessarily be a creative genius, someone who can take charge of the business, find the right people and bring them together as a team, who can establish the necessary workflows. This way, your brand will move forward.’

Anna Dreinberg, CEO of Tomorrow's render Team, told the audience about the current digital trends in the fashion industry: ‘We live in the economy of focus, and we buy clothes not only when we have a real need to cover ourselves and get warm, you know. Today, we buy things to feel the vibe and to learn the story. Therefore, there are three directions in digital fashion right now. They are technology-based 3D design, photo and video content making, and game-ready clothing.’

Vlad Ivanov, CEO at SL1P: ‘As a fashion businessman, I am low on regular professional workers: sewers, garment process engineers, apparel cutters. We have many marketing and sales specialists, but unfortunately, technical specialties are not that popular. Therefore, the main task for institutions is to make these professions more prestigious and popular.’

When asked about the skills that fashion entrepreneurs need, Gregg Maragelis – Director of Cape Town College of Fashion Design, remarked that education is of prime importance in this sphere: ‘First of all, every fashion business operator needs top quality education in order to be sure that they have the basic skills. This is necessary so that in the future they can understand which path they’d like to tread. It is your education that can guide you and show you your strengths. Until you have this basis, achieving anything specific will hardly be possible.’

Yana Kuznetsova, Designer for Yana Besfamilnaya brand, spoke about continuous training: ‘Today, it is important for all of us today to continue our education on the go, because everything is changing so quickly, and the marketing they taught us 7 years ago is no longer on the table. Let’s say I haven’t been taught to compile an assortment matrix. Then, I would not be able to get anywhere with my creativity alone. Therefore, it is essential that all of us get consistent education in certified institutions.’

Ekaterina Cherkes-zade, Director of the Center for Creative Economy Development (Agency for Strategic Initiatives to Promote New Projects) offered her opinion about the primary task for a fashion business operator: ‘Today, the main task for a fashion entrepreneur is to integrate local brands into the global market. Because it is the creative economy that works as a wrapper for the entire Russian economy. It is through the products made by the creative sector that our country can be seen as attractive by investors. People from other countries look at our brands, watch our movies and cartoons, play our games, and that is how the image of Russia is formed in their minds.’

At the end of the session, Alexey Svishchev, Dean of the Faculty of International Relations IBDA (RANEPA), summed things up as follows: ‘The fashion market is changing along with the world, and it is ahead of other sectors. Continuous learning is of essence today. It is important to gain knowledge not only practically, but also in specialized institutions. What I find the most comforting is that the Russian state is eager to help and support this process. Therefore, choose the fashion industry! Go learn, help each other, and let’s make this market the most technologically advanced, the most rapidly developing and the most popular one.’

4.   Investing wisely. What can investors give to a fashion brand?

The participants arrived at a conclusion that financial investment is not the only key factor behind the fashion business success. It is necessary to have a really good project team that is creative, knows how to collaborate with designers and manufacturers, can analyze the market and understands what the target audience wants.

Investors can offer the team some of the competencies that can be useful for the brand's successful development. Besides financial funds, they can share their knowledge and experience, which are valuable assets. Typically, investors have business expertise that can be used to enhance the brand's strategy and competitiveness.

During the discussion, they broached the issue of funding for emerging fashion brands and compared investment generation with one’s use of their own start-up funds. The participants exchanged their opinions as regards to the prospects of different financial support formats and discussed where the best financial support for a brand should be sought for.

At the beginning of the session, Willy Batura, CEO and Founder of Fort Fashion Council, explained what steps can be taken if you want your brand to get to another market: ‘Any brand needs to adjust in an overseas market and the changes it offers. You really should check how the Middle East is doing it. There are many opportunities there, but you should choose what to focus on. Anyway, adjustment to the market is essential. Let’s say you’re going to enter the Dubai market. You will have to make sure that your work is absolutely legitimate. At the same time, you shouldn’t forget about promotion. The locals have to make sure that your products live up to their expectations.’

Victoria Potapova, PR manager of ‘The benefits delivered by crowd-funding are financial support, PR, concept testing, and pre-order. Therefore, you need to go for crowd-funding, because it can help to solve several major problems at once, no matter if your are an emerging, or an established brand. This way, you can reach out to a new audience and get a chance to tell about yourself plus raise some more money.’

Tatyana Repina – PR Director at Moscow Small Business Credit Assistance Fund, presented the guarantee fund concept and basic principles: ‘More than 17 thousand contracts have been registered by our fund as we granted surety for them. We act as a guarantee for small businesses that require loans. Loans are our main product. We can cover up to 70%, but 30% of the secured amount are to be raised by the business operator. In total, during the time of its existence the fund has offered assistance with debt financing that amounts to 330 bln RUB. This year, small businesses have already received 57 bln RUB thanks to the support from our fund.’

When asked how a young designer in Paraguay can get investment support, Pablo Tome, Founder and Director of Asunción Fashion Week, said that ‘one of the ways is the state program for various kinds of startups. You must have a business concept, which is related to fashion and material recycling. This way you can get extra points towards funding.’

Lyudmila Tsoi, Acting Deputy Head of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development of the City of Moscow, explained why Fashion Weeks are really needed: ‘Many people think that fashion weeks are like beautiful shows, and that’s it, but this is not so. Economics is at the core of such activities. During every catwalk show. you have buyers who watch the collections. This is one of the promotion tools. This is a way of selling everything the fashion industry makes.’

5.   Wow marketing. Impact content in the fashion industry

The participants were both Russian and foreign speakers. They discussed which fashion marketing strategies have been effective recently, what is the most attractive for the audience, how emerging designers can get into big companies, and much more. The speakers came to the conclusion that good marketing is impossible without a unique approach. If a brand contacts an influencer to have their goods advertised, it is essential that the image of this page-owner matches the brand concept.

Blogger Alexey Zhidkovsky described his collaboration with the Russian jewelry brand Viva La Vika and explained that in order to attract the audience’s attention to a certain product, you need to make sure they think of the influencer when they see the item. The blogger explained what the collaboration was going to be like: ‘There will be decorations shaped as my cap. They are also working on the jewelry with the things I usually say. I believe these are the things I can be associated with.

Alexey Zhidkovsky added that an influencer should really match both the external and internal visuals of the brand. Otherwise, the advertising campaign is unlikely to be successful. The same method works backwards, too. Aristide Loua, Creative Director at Kente Gentlemen, admitted that he chooses designers, photographers, stylists, and makeup artists based on whether their work matches his ideas or not. He also expressed his desire to collaborate with Russian specialists: ‘Before leaving Moscow, I would like to find some specialists who share my vibes. The main thing is that it should be a relationship similar to love at first sight.’

When asked how designers, who are unheard of yet, can become part of large companies, Gennadii Lokhtin, Head of Department Store of Yandex Market, replied that when scouting for new employees, they focus on several parameters, namely: operation efficiency, labeling, fashion compliance etc. At the same time, it is very important that the designer offers something new to the world.

Other speakers at the session were Ruslan Martynov, Creative Director of AE CORP, and Marshall Mutsamwira, Director of Zimbabwe Fashion Week.

Chamber Hall (Photo:

6.  Upgrading to premium. Pricing and choosing your brand segment

In the times of economic uncertainty, fashion brands face a number of challenges associated with pricing, like instability of currency exchange rates, volatile consumer demand, and competition from other brands. Issues that are important for brands today were discussed during the session: Who defines the consumer – the brand or the consumer? Is it possible for a brand to move from the medium to the premium segment? What time are we living in: the era of heavy luxury or basic democracy?

When speaking about pricing, Renata Mansurova, Owner of ‘CDD Concept Store’ multi-brand chain of stores, founder of Art x Fashion Gallery explained that it is the designer who should raise the price, not the clothing manufacturer: ‘If this is truly a designer who has something unique to offer, something really genuine, with a touch of the artist, then it is ethical to raise prices.’

Alexey Aksenov, Co-founder and Curator of the online platform for local brands LCLS.RU, remarked that the heavy luxury segment was still out there. ‘Today, people are ready to invest in a premium product if you help them realize that product is unique.’

However, there’s a problem, which was announced by Renata Mansurova based on a statement she had heard earlier: ‘Right now, Russia (well, they said it few years ago) is a clothing manufacturer, but not a designer. It hurts to hear that.’

At the same time, the speakers believe that the Moscow audience is already ready to invest in smart fashion. As for upgrading from the mass market to the premium segment, the speakers concluded that it was necessary to see what a certain brand can do about that. The speakers also focused on the fact that premium quality is not a competitive advantage. It’s more about uniqueness and the narration behind a piece that are valuable. An interesting part of the session was about the potential possessed by the brands that refer to ethnicity. They agreed that use of specific ethnic motives can contribute to brand recognition and therefore increase the price. At the same time, it is important to distinguish between ethnics and local identity, and it is also important for the designer not to position their goods as ‘arts and crafts.’ Then, the speakers talked about some Russian brands and used their cases to tell the audience what they did right and wrong when upgrading from the mass market to the premium segment. Finally, the speakers answered questions from the audience and bate their curiosity.

Other speakers at the session were Daniya Tkacheva, CEO of Dynasty brand, and Irina Stepasheva, Director of MoyMart.

7.  Honest environmental marketing or greenwashing. Where is the line?

Speakers who took part in the session: Oksana Kostiv (Team Leader of Corporate and Social Responsibility at Lamoda), Alexey Pimenov (CEO of Svalka Project), and Ali Charisma (Chairman of Indonesian Fashion Chamber).

At the session, they discussed several pressing issues related to the fashion environmental agenda, including the following: What is environmental marketing and greenwashing? How do these impact consumers and the environment? How to keep your environmental initiatives transparent and ensure they are actually working? What are the benefits of collaboration between fashion brands and non-profits dealing with social or eco issues?

Ali Charisma spoke about the experience of his Indonesian colleagues in switching to eco-friendly production. He said: ‘BRICS+ Fashion SAMMIT does not only help designers show their product, but also gives them a chance to tell their story in the Russian market,’ he believes.

Oksana Kostiv told the audience about some features as regards to support of the ‘green agenda’ by a large Russian brand. In her opinion, the main problem in Russia is that in recent years brands haven't been supporting the environmental agenda in order to ‘avoid accusations of greenwashing.’

8.  Manufacturing strategy. How to create a marginal business model?

During this session, the participants talked about the possibilities that Russian brands have today. The speakers talked about ways of analyzing the market, locations and means of producing goods, quality assurance, and methods of building effective sales systems.

Andrey Obukhov, Project Lead at SberAnalytics, told the audience that at SberAnalytics they consider every brand’s niche through the prism of its target audience. The Russian market has been expanded, and all the speakers who agreed with that, as they have seen it with their own eyes.

Anis Montacer, Co-founder of Sea Design Lab, explained that interesting videos and photo shoots for designers can help with their promotion. According to him, ‘Designers require good materials and fabrics.’ He also believes that products should be offered to Russian designers in the first place. Thanks to innovation complemented with proper marketing and production they managed to create a marginal business model and now they are capable of competing with fairly large brands.

Evgenia Belozerova, Director of 4NIGHTS, said that an eco-friendly approach to sales is immensely important. ‘It is essential to be flexible in sales management and be able to respond to changes. Thanks to this, we can keep business and sales at a certain level,’ Evgenia said.

At the end of the meeting, the participants arrived at a conclusion that the fashion business needs a long-term plan that would cover all the issues they had discussed.

9.  Reverse pitch. Country expert session. MENA

Ümit Temurçin, Founder and Creative Director of UT Projects, moderated the session. Invited guests from India, Turkey, and the UAE shared their business models and approaches with the audience.

‘We are here today to discuss MENA as a region and what we have in terms of investment there,’ started Priyanka Sarkar, CEO and Head of Design at House of Biori. She told the listeners about the main business trends in the Middle East, ‘why we need to consider this region,’ and ‘what growth points there are.’

Willy Batura, CEO and Founder of Fort Fashion Council, Founder of Fort Fashion Week Middle East, was the next speaker. He talked about ‘why brands should enter the Middle East.’ The speaker presented Dubai and highlighted the advantages of sales in that city, since it is the fashion capital of the Middle East.

Turkish multidisciplinary designer Nej Nejla Guvenc spoke about her journey towards building a brand. The designer was allergic since she was a child so she decided to make eco-friendly materials for people who suffer from artificial fabrics. Nej Nejla Guvenc thanked the Turkish state, which had provided her with strong support while she was working on the establishment of her brand.

At the end of the session, the speakers talked about how they can be contacted for cooperation. Priyanka Sarkar and Willy Batura shared their opinions about Dubai. Priyanka believes that it holds tremendous potential, especially for those who have just set their foot on the path of their brand’s promotion and development.

Open Hall (Photo:

10. Resale platforms are the new black

This session was moderated by Malika Madaeva, Partner at Guestmanagement. She shared some analytical results and outlined that the resale market is currently developing 5 times faster than the usual retail. In 2022, the total market volume reached about $100 bln.

Nikita Shashkevich, Head of Clothing, Footwear, and Accessories category at Avito, said that the fashion goods sector on their site is among the most advanced ones and accounts for approximately 1/4 of all the transactions performed. ‘We now have over 28 mln users a month,’ he added. ‘After February 2022, we had a surge in traffic, as people were desperately looking for the brands that had left the country. In addition, the demand for local designers is growing, too.’ Among the brands that sell the fastest on Avito are Monochrome, SHU, Ushatava, Belle You, Econika, and Namelazz.

Ekaterina Romashko, Brand Director of Second Friend Store, spoke about the mergers between resale and traditional retail that had become quite the thing: ‘There is a slowdown in the luxury segment – I mean, the classic retail, while resale is growing rapidly. This is no surprise that brands don’t want to miss their chance. By the way, today any business needs integration of sustainable practices.’ An example of such interaction was the launch of the Second Friend Store resale section at Lamoda – an online marketplace. ‘I should say that our cooperation has been beyond our expectations, which were quite cautious. There were advantages for both sides: Lamoda was able to proceed with its sustainable development and expand the pool of the brands, and we’ve got new users, including from the regions.’

Marina Demchenko, Editor-in-Chief of WE magazine, expressed the opinion that mass market resale cannot be deemed as an environmental practice. ‘Now, we are learning to live differently. Some platforms have banned resales of fast fashion brands, and rightly so.’

‘We invest a lot of money in PR,’ said Arina Ivanets, Director of (ex)bags, when asked about promotion of the resale project and whether the attitude towards secondhand things was changing. ‘We pay different bloggers to advertise us – the ones who believe that resale is cool. Often, we work with them on a barter basis, and they do wear these bags and are happy. We are watching the world’s influencers, too. When Kim Kardashian gets up the catwalk in a vintage dress or a vintage bag, it’s always a wow.’

‘We have a community marketing department, and it is now larger than the classic marketing department. Because resale is about people. This is a business where people buy from people,’ added Anna Petrosyan, Head of Community Marketing at OSKELLY.

11. Big small brands. Collaboration between the world of fashion and mass production

The moderator was Anna Rykova, Stylist and Curator of Fashion Educational programs at British Higher School of Art and Design. ‘We know that small brands are in a tricky situation now,’ she began the conversation. ‘After global brands left the market, brands began to break through like sprouts through asphalt in spring.’

‘Today, a designer can follow one of the two paths. The first is to join a team, a ready-to-use business, and use your insights to promote and develop a third-party brand. In order to develop a brand of your own, you need to be a little more than just a designer. And all educational programs will tell you that your product is only a fifth of the brand that you are trying to create,’ said Leonid Alekseev, Designer at HOUSE OF LEO and Curator of the Fashion Direction at HSE.

Diana Vakhrusheva, Buyer, Founder of Noblesnob boutique, offered her advice to young designers on how to get into the spotlight for a fashion store buyer: ‘When you’re working on your brand's DNA, you should think of your target audience: what is this person about? what style he or she prefers? what he or she is interested in? It is the same with a store: your sales team should study the store’s brand mix and the message it has to convey. When a feminine brand with an audience of 35+ wants a concept store with dark fashion aesthetics, this will naturally be a miss.’

Yanina Goncharova, Chairwoman of Belarus Fashion Council NGO, said their fashion industry is fine. ‘There are more than 2 thousand designer brands in Belarus, at least, the officially registered ones. If we are talking about individual business operators, this means hiring 8-10 people; if we are talking about fashion brands, this means 20 or more people per a factory. Everything I am wearing today was made by Belarusian designers. They make affordable things that are easy to buy, and the prices are okay,’ she said.

Experts such as Anna Nichkova, CEO at DNK, Olga Nichkova, Creative Director at DNK, and Mutukkumar Dhasinamoorthi, Chairman of Komarapalayam Hi Tech Weaving Park, took part in the discussion, too.

12. Shortage of raw materials

The problems currently encountered by the consumer goods industry were discussed by Gulnara Agamova, General Director of the Creative Industries Agency, Kamola Gulyamova, Design Development Advisor for Uztekstilprom, and Khristina Poltanova, Founder of Texturelle. The session was moderated by Renata Mansurova, Owner of ‘CDD Concept Store’.

As many importers had left the Russian market, the remaining companies had to deal with the lack of raw materials they needed to produce fabrics locally. Although the lack of imported materials had a serious impact on small businesses, it is still possible to maintain price and quality levels. This can be implemented, especially if we turn to support programs offered to companies, in particular, as regards to making fabric production local.

‘The consumer goods industry is one of the most import-dependent ones in the world market. This is because of the lack of raw materials needed for fabrics production, as well as lack of equipment and qualified staff. All of this directly impacts the final designer product, its price – and the prospects of it being released at all,’ said moderator Renata Mansurova, founder of the Central Design House, to start the discussion.

‘The textile industry of Uzbekistan is extending its export potential,’ said Kamola Gulyamova, Design Development Advisor for the Uztekstilprom Association. ‘We can provide any amount of fabrics. This is not just cotton, but also silk, wool, and literally anything. Our Association includes 2,000+ companies, and in total there are about 7,000 companies working with textiles in Uzbekistan. The most important thing the Association has done so far is ensuring 100% procession of cotton fibers produced in Uzbekistan. Previously, our country was a feedstock base. We were only able to provide raw materials, but now we process the whole bulk on our own. In 2022, exports amounted to $3.2 bln with more than 50% of exports going to Russia.’

Khristina Poltanova, founder of Teksturel Factory, which deals with digital pigment printing on fabrics, spoke about the difficulties faced by a textile company in Russia: ‘From the very first days, we were guided by the needs of Russian brands in the high, medium and premium segments. And they had set a really high-quality level for us. During our establishment, we faced lots of challenges, and first of all there was the lack of qualified staff. This profession isn’t taught in our country. We have neither operators, nor technological engineers for that. We had to invite technologists from overseas so that they could train our staff. We asked for advice and studied through professional books. I’m proud of my employees: they never cease learning and keep upgrading our production.’

13. TED Talks Series

The final sessions of Day 2 under the business program were a series of 3 TED talks. Alia Khan, Chairwoman of Islamic Fashion and Design Council, held a session named ‘The Spending Power of the Modest Fashion Consumer’ and talked to the audience about the development of modest fashion. Pablo Tome, Founder and Director of Asunción Fashion Week, offered a new perspective on failures in business in his session ‘Failure – The Secret to Succes’. Mmantlha Sankoloba, CEO of Botswana Exporters & Manufacturers Association, addressed the issue of fast fashion and consumption in her talk ‘The Fashion Incubator: Cultivating a Global Tapestry of Style.’

The Spending Power of the Modest Fashion Consumer
Alia Khan, Chairwoman of Islamic Fashion and Design Council: ‘The modest fashion market is worth $250 bln and mostly encompasses Muslim consumers. They prefer a conservative elegant style and want brands to be sensitive to their choices and requirements. Modest fashion accounts for a significant portion of the global market covering about 2 bln people. Besides Muslims, there are other groups of consumers, too, for whom this style is relevant. Their purchasing power is growing, as evidenced by many studies. Surprisingly enough, their needs haven’t been completely met so far. To reach this group of consumers, the designers should realize that there is no uniform clothing in Islam. Muslims from different countries are very different in their fashion and their preferences.’

Failure – The Secret to Success
Pablo Tome, Founder and Director of Asunción Fashion Week: ‘I am the founder and director of Asunción Fashion Week, an event that I have been producing for 25 years. I also arrange other events. And I chose this topic because these guidelines work in any business. Everyone is afraid of failure, but failure can be the key to success. This is the most important step towards growth and development. There is a myth about failure. All of you know the story of Walt Disney, who was fired from a newspaper, was told that his insights were no good, that he lacked genuine spirit. And then he just established the largest entertainment company in the world.’

The Fashion Incubator: Cultivating a Global Tapestry of Style
Mmantlha Sankoloba, CEO of Botswana Exporters & Manufacturers Association: ‘Working with the use of incubators and mentoring programs can help with professional experience sharing. It is structured experience that matters, establishment of hubs, arrangement of internships and practice models that matter in this case. Incubators will ensure that knowledge is transferred properly, as experts who define tastes and good knowledge of the market will be engaged.’

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