Open Hall (Photo: https://disk.yandex.ru/d/FxNqDblAUiVAEQ)1. On style, on futurism. The fashion of the future
During this session, the participants discussed issues related to forecasting of fashion trends in the coming decades, planning of the future of fashion and changes that will occur in the industry – from design to stores.
Planning of any industry’s future is a sophisticated and multifaceted process that includes analysis of fashion trends, consumer preferences, social and economic changes, as well as technological advancements.
One of the key questions discussed at the Forum was what fashion was going to be like in the coming decades. The participants considered various scenarios and trends that might impact fashion in the future. The speakers agreed that fashion was going to develop further based on technological innovation, sustainability, and the changing consumer preferences, which in turn would lead to the appearance of new materials, new design approaches, and new methods of clothing production.
‘As I see it, for many designers going digital and switching to more eco-friendly materials could help. Soon, we are going to see a symbiosis of science, technology, the fashion industry and even medicine, I dare say. It seems that all these industries should collaborate in this century,’ designer and artist Kirill Mintsev
shared his thoughts. ‘Speaking about the platform industry, we will never abandon hand labor, classic clothes, luxury, common offline stores and boutiques. People love other people, and this will be so no matter what, but at the same time, technologies, marketplaces, platforms and online sales are yet another tool that enables us to work at a more global scale.’Beona Gapare
, Director of Digital Talent, founder of Falcon Ventures Middle East, took part in the discussion, too.
The moderator, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors at Medianet Igor Didenko
summed up the session by saying, ‘Economy, eco-friendliness, and sharing – this is what our future is about. World futurologists believe that this is absolutely necessary if we want to preserve the ecology and the society we’ve got. It is only us who our future depends on.2. Street-style. Reflecting identity or losing authenticity?
The business program of the international forum BRICS+ Fashion Summit became a place to discuss an important topic – streetstyle. The participants were asked to share their opinions on how street fashion is evolving in different countries, how technology influences its progress and whether it is possible to predict trends.
Streetstyle has become an integral part of modern culture, where urban streets have become a place for self-expression and distinction. With the growing popularity of social media, streetstyle has gained even more influence and become an element of mass culture. People from different countries share their images online, create online communities and contribute to the global exchange by demonstrating their belonging to a particular culture.
Some of the participants believe that streetstyle is an organic manifestation for a person and for today’s reality in a particular culture. They don’t think such trends can be predicted. Others are positive that if we analyze the data and observe the evolution of street fashion, we can reveal common trends and predict their progress.
Moreover, the speakers talked about the key aspects of streetstyle. They discussed evolution, influence of technology, predictability of trends, as well as consequences of the global race for self-expression to better understand the part and significance of street fashion in the modern world.
‘Streetstyle is a kind of reworking of everything that happens in our world,’ Anton Gorbashov
, Head of Sportswear at Lamoda, said at the beginning of the session. ‘Indeed, this is a means of self-expression, but it is also a kind of word of mouth, where there are so many trends processed by the community, the culture, and the outdoors. It reflects modern trends, and this process has now been accelerated by social media.’
Talking about the fashion industry, the visionary and founder of the Beinopen Fashion Development Institute Alexey Bazhenov
outlined, ‘Recognition, working with streetstyle, uniqueness, and infrastructure are what a brand needs. If you want to keep your factories up-to-date, you can repeat after us. We have found such a solution, which is a partnership with associations abroad. Therefore, this Forum is a good thing because associations can learn from each other’s experience, while working to serve the interests of the businesses.’
‘Streetstyle trends aren’t really trends because people don’t try to look all the same,’ said Adama Ndiaye
, founder of Dakar Fashion Week and African Fashion Council. ‘It’s just something they choose to express themselves.’ Streetstyle depends on three things – the city you live in, the content you consume, and the culture that you like.Svetlana Shatunova
, CEO and Creative Director of SHATU, explained: “We, the designers, are turning towards streetstyle. This is the only way for us to understand people’s reactions to certain phenomena and trends around the world. Today, everything is going global, and we see what is happening in the streets in different countries: how streetstyle develops, what trends and directions emerge and so on. For any brand, the most essential thing is to see, feel, look into the world, but at the same time preserve its DNA. You don't have to rate streetstyle above your DNA. Indeed, you need to look into the world, to process, absorb, and let all of it all through your DNA. This is our way of making a unique product.’
When asked what brands have to do today, Nana Tamakloe
, Managing Director of Accra Fashion Week, replied, ‘We need to make sure we offer top-quality and unique things, but at the same time we should remember that we need to promote our brand, as it is brand that sells in the first place. Emerging designers are trying to compete with the established brands. They take beautiful designs up the catwalk, but really, we hardly know who they are. Unfortunately, they don’t bother to promote their brand, while focusing on the design alone. Your DNA mustn’t be only about design. It is your name and your brand that has to be recognized.’Olga Bukhtiyarova
, Art Director of Branded Products Department at Sbermegamarket, explained how streetstyle influenced the merchandize they make: ‘Streetstyle resulted in oversized and semi-oversized clothes, hoodies and zippers. Such apparel are the most popular model in every second merchandize collection. Naturally, we also work on the prints and types that are used in streetstyle fashion. We follow the trends and include them into our merchandize.’
President of the Creative Economy Marina Abramova
stated: ‘The legend, one’s own name, the emotion invested in this name are important components of the brand,’ and the speakers were then offered a brief survey – What aspects should a designer pay attention to before establishing a brand? This was the advice they offered to an emerging designer: think about the narration and the story of your brand, find your niche, know the business procedures, follow the industry, set up a universal team, select sales points and distribution strategies, make sure your design is top-quality, and love whatever you do no matter what.3. Putting people first. New approach to fashion industry ethics
As part of the business program, a session was held on reformation of the fashion ethics. This event was about the changes in the strategies followed by fashion brands, inspired by new generations – millennials and zoomers, who are avid users of advanced technologies. Fashion and trends are currently changing dynamically against the backdrop of new ethics. The participants discussed that fashion brands have to be ready to follow the changing consumer preferences and quickly respond to new trends. This requires the fashion industry to create innovative approaches to design and production, and to participate in the discussion and creation of new communication cultures.
Reshaping of the ethics in this field is a result of changes within the fashion industry. Designers and business operators have to reconsider their beauty strategies and standards, as well as pay focus on their HR policies. Besides, the social agenda of brands and consumer preferences in fashion is of essence when it comes to the new ethics. The speakers agreed that advertisements that often include some too perfect people do not reflect the reality and expectations of consumers. This led to a discussion about the need to create human-focused fashion that would embrace diversity and ethnicity.
‘Design has gone beyond things. Now, it is a kind of a consumer community, and consumers are our best value,’ shared her opinion Victoria Andreyanova
, Director of Victoria Andreyanova Fashion House. When speaking about trends, we used to impose them before, but we have to propose them now. Russia has some local trends emerging. For example, today typical folk arts and crafts are relevant. Today everyone uses them without any pressure, just because they see potential in this feature, this cultural code.
Executive Director of the Afro Fashion Association Michelle Francine Ngonmo
spoke about global trends:
The agenda is really diverse at the international level. Today, many large-scale brands focus on the social agenda because a modern consumer no longer wants creativity. There is a need for a brand to provide value and stand up for ethical issues, so brands have started to integrate all of this into their agenda.’
Talking about her brand, Head and Chief Designer of Mono-Style Elena Melnik
outlined, ‘A product should be socially useful and only such a product is capable of generating income, but at the same time we should not forget about marketing ethics. We have many different development paths to choose from. If we want to play a long game, if we want the brand to be steady, we have to proceed ethically and organically. We realized this back in 2015 and set our course on a person. For me, it is my customer that is important, so I looked at my brand through the eyes of my customer and tried to make a product that would be socially useful and beneficial to them, that could resolve their problems and fears. However, in today’s market, solving problems is a secondary issue. Now, we have to move on – to resolving of our customer’s fears.’
The idea of socially useful products was continued by KULT BEDRA designer Anastasia Kostyuk
: ‘Once upon a time, the global trend for body positivity reached Russia. Now, this trend is gone as a concept, but plus-size clothing and culture remain. Here we are talking about a woman who loves herself and knows what she wants. She is ready to express herself and respects the wishes of other women. At the same time, our brand has not slipped into some subcultural domain. We’re still talking about Russian women.’
When asked about the programs in place to support fashion businesses, entrepreneur and politician Elena Nikolaeva
explained: ‘For us, the law makers, as well as for executive authorities, the fashion industry is a priority. Today, we are working to establish the showrooms where we can help young designers show their work. We are also presenting more and more Russian talents by means of the mass media, Internet, and TV.’
The founder of Pure Sense inclusive perfume brand Ekaterina Zinchenko
shared a story of her brand and spoke about the importance of social entrepreneurship: ‘I founded the world’s first perfume brand in which scents are created by blind people. In fact, this is a brand that does not only involve people in the creative agenda, but uses their superpower – because blind people by the virtue of their limited visual perception have a better odor sense, a much brighter range of associations, a more creative approach to scents combinations. Now, social-focused companies are beginning to stand out as a big track in Russian business, because it has finally become possible to get the social enterprise status in 2021. In general, I can see that this is not just a mission, but also a great advantage for a company when it uses the labor and talents of people with special needs.’
Summarizing the results of the session, moderator and Director of CIPR Olga Piven
said: ‘It’s great that the world has turned to people, and begun to appreciate their individuality, that big and small brands are trying to customize their products to make people really happy.’4. Reverse pitch. Country expert session. Africa
Many companies and brands are looking to expand their presence in international markets. Expanding into other markets may be one of the key objectives, whether it was the initial desire to sell abroad or the result of the brand’s development, when the local market becomes too small for them. However, they face numerous dilemmas. Which country to choose? Where to look for partners and investors? And so on, and so forth.
In this case, communication with experts and marketers representing Africa has turned out to be quite valuable. During this session, experts from various spheres shared their expertise in a 15-minute pitch format. The participants were welcome to ask any questions they wanted to know the answers to and got some new knowledge and useful advice.
The founder of Fashion Forum Africa Makeba Boateng
described the African fashion market in detail with all its advantages and shortcomings: ‘Expanding into new markets is a major challenge for many brands. Choosing the right market is of essence because the size of the market and its conditions are important. We've seen these factors play a certain role in the cases of designer Christy Brown and some other successful stories. We conducted a survey, and they told us what prospects there were for the global expansion of a brand to the African market. This is what most of them said: “The main motivation for international expansion is reaching out to new consumer groups and the opportunity to diversify market reach, penetration into new markets, higher revenue potential, growth opportunities.”
What methods should be used to find partners and investors? Obviously, this has to involve a collaborative effort: special events, recommendations, dedicated conferences, collaborations, and strategic alliances. All of these are important to overcome barriers. But there are challenges, too. You have to understand a new market, your showcasing options are scarce, and you have trust issues. To deal with these, you must rely not only on your business acumen, but also have a deep understanding of the diverse African fashion market. And most importantly, the African fashion industry is ready to expand into new markets. It’s boiling with energy, bursting with creativity, but it needs your support.’
Creative consultant of the Afro Fashion Association and Brand Manager of NATIV Nana Brenu
announced some factors that can help the brands be successful in the African continent: ‘Tips that will help brands with opening of their stores are here. Collaborate with local brands that operate in the same market segment. Use local feedstock and materials to avoid high tax rates. For investing in our raw materials, you can get support from the state. Brands need to invest in local infrastructure since some of their aspects in Africa can’t yet match the global standards. Understand the economic situation and your target audience. Working with local content makers to create an image and for advertisement, since the content you do in the West won’t do in the local market – just because our cultural practices are so very different.
In conclusion, the founder of Fashion Forum Africa Makeba Boateng
summarized: ‘African fashion isn’t separated from the rest of the world. Our fashion is inspired by local music and musicians, who influence this industry.’5. TED Talks SeriesDecolonization of fashion. Consumption culture
This speech was primarily focused on the importance of culture and diversity in the fashion industry.
Founder of Dakar Fashion Week and African Fashion Council Adama Ndiaye
outlined that the clothes we wear are not only a fashion statement, but also a historical testimony of our culture and heritage. Our clothes tell stories that are always there with us. Our traditions are also passed on thanks to the design and production of clothes, and all of it is an integral part of our communities and cultures.‘Before we become citizens of the world, we are the children of our mothers, in the first place. We are the product of the environment we were born in. We are the pride of our people. I believe that in Europe people tend to leave this behind in their attempt to be a citizen of the world. It’s a pity, really, because the differences between us are very strong, and this empowers me. Understanding who you are gives you the opportunity to be more open to the world. And all this heritage can be transformed into fashion.’
However, the cultural significance of fashion is not limited to the historical aspect only. Diversity also has an essential part in the industry. Inclusion and diversity are key values that fashion brands must embrace to remain relevant and follow the changing consumer demands. Brands must encompass the diverse perspectives within their teams and create marketing campaigns that reflect everyone's interests.‘Modifying the narrative and representation is very important. Because when you see someone who is similar to you, you kind of try it on and think that this is a good example. Like girls who grow up in Africa see me as a role model, and they think: “Wow, I can be like that.” Or you can come to my catwalk show and see absolutely amazing people: albinos, overweight girls, and skinny girls. I think this kind of diversity is what brands need if they want to have a connection with the next generation and open up to the world.’Adama Ndiaye
also spoke about the importance of more eco-responsible consumption in fashion. Fast fashion has much impact on the environment, it depletes lots of non-renewable resources, causes greenhouse gas emission, and consumes huge amounts of water and energy.
For example, it takes about 700 gallons of water to make one cotton shirt while producing a pair of jeans requires 2,000 gallons. 6. TED Talks SeriesFrom a craft producer to the global market leader – a story of the Indian jewelry industry
India, with its rich history and culture, has an old tradition of decoration which can be traced in classical texts, epics, myths, and chronicles. Ornamentation and decoration has become an integral part of Indian culture, a symbol of wealth, luxury, and high status. India managed to find a use for that tradition and made it the basis of its economy. The Indian gems and jewelry market was estimated as US$37.25 bln in 2022, with the total revenue expected to grow by 21.35% to reach the level of US$144.37 bln in a 5-years perspective.
The Indian jewelry industry has lived through an impressive transformation, turning a local thing into a global phenomenon.
A combination of aesthetics and economy, it has become a powerful player on the international stage. Indian jewelers now offer a wide range of products – from traditional to contemporary, from classical to experimental styles.
Actress and entrepreneur Anusha Viswanathan
spoke about this and shared a unique story:
‘What is the meaning of a precious item? For example, my mother and grandmother had some jewelry that I have inherited. According to the old Indian tradition, jewelry is inherited by daughters from their mothers.
When this tradition emerged, women weren’t entitled to own anything. The only currency we had was jewelry, which we got from our mothers when we got married. Therefore, jewelry is an important part of Indian fashion.’
BRICS+ Fashion Summit takes place in Zaryadye. The Fashion intensive course, B2B showroom, and catwalk shows by international designers are held in the Parking Gallery art space of Zaryadye Park, which was opened in September 2023 and has a total area of almost 3000 sq. m. Parking Gallery is equipped with technical means to accommodate exhibitions, concerts and summits, too. It is easy for guests of the BRICS+ Fashion Summit to attend an event. Part of the underground area is still left for vehicles. Moreover, the Parking Gallery can be accessed from anywhere in the park.