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Fashion Innovation For The Consumer Via Technologies

Technology is playing a key role in Fashion Innovation for the consumer. In this global talk in the Fashinnovation New York Global talk series, leaders across the world came together to share their perspectives.

Here is the full video recording of the fashion innovation for the consumer talk.

Fashion Innovation For The Consumer Using Technology

Full transcript of the talk below.

Jordana:

Now, we are going on to fashion innovation for the consumer via technologies being led by Fredrik Timour from the Swedish Fashion Council.

Fredrik Timour:

So, hi. Hello. Welcome to innovating for Consumer (fashion innovation) via Technologies which we will discuss for about 30 minutes and we will start with introducing ourselves. So, my name is Fredrik Timour and I work for the Swedish Fashion Council as Head of Innovation. And I’m also setting up something called Fashion Innovation Center in Stockholm where we’re looking at new revenue streams and business model within the fashion industry. So Sandra, could you?

Sandra Campos:

Hi. I’m Sandra. Thank you, Fredrik. Thank you. Thanks for having me. I am Sandra Campos. I have been in retail my entire career and have been leading various brands. And now, I actually have pivoted and moved into the tech side leading a retail technology company with supply chains solutions as well called, Project Verte. So, that’s what I’m doing today.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. And Ganesh?

Ganesh Subramanian:

Yeah. Hi. Thanks Fredrik. This is Ganesh Subramanian, founder and CEO of Stylumia. We are a DeepTech startup based out of Bengaluru in India. We are here reducing the guesswork in fashion and lifestyle retail globally and make the planet a lot more sustainable both economically and environmentally.

Fredrik Timour:

And Emma?

Emma Lee:

Hi. I’m Emma Lee. I’ve been in the fashion industry my entire career as well. I spent time at Coach, at Gilt, at American Express. Most recently, I’m at Tmall Global. So, I’m the head of Fashion for Tmall Global. Tmall Global is part of Alibaba Group and we focus on B2C Solutions for the companies.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. And Nikhita?

Nikhita Iyar:

Hi, everyone. And thanks for everybody’s time today, who’s tuned in today. My name is Nikhita Iyar and I lead our Strategic Business Development team at Moxtra. Moxtra powers one-stop digital channels. So, it’s private digital destinations as an app and a portal for different brands around the world to be able to provide a destination for their customers to engage through all stages of business whether you’re designer, a buyer, a media company, a distributor, a manufacturer, or anything else.

Fredrik Timour:

And Diana?

Daina Burnes:

Hi, everyone. I’m Daina. I’m the CEO of Bold Metrics. Bold Metrics is an AI technology that accurately predicts body measurements on a consumer, connects it with product data, so customers can find their right size whether they’re shopping in-store or online, and we curate and generate trends from the purchase and returns information to generate insights for product designers so that they can create better fitting clothes for the customers. In general, I come from a tech background and therefore started a tech company. It’s great to be on this panel.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. And it will be super interesting to start this discussion because with all your backgrounds I think it will be super interesting. So, let’s start off with the first question. And it’s, will a future fashion customer be a consumer or user according to you? What do you think? It’s open for any of you to answer. Anyone of you has any thoughts on that question?

Daina Burnes:

Well, I’ll jump in there. So, this question. When you think of the fashion consumer, will it be consumer or user, and as I thought about it, I really considered it from what we’re seeing with the evolution of the physical store. So, we’re seeing a growing number of stores today particularly seeing that happening before the pandemic. I think it’ll continue to happen as we move forward where stores are moving away from using their physical spaces for stocking inventory and driving purchases of that inventory and instead of creating these showroom experiences for consumers to really experience the brand in an entirely new way. And in turn, the brand using these showroom experiences and digital experiences as well within the physical space to create and build a relationship with their customers in a whole new way. So, I think it’ll just be really interesting to continue to see these experiential fashion trends in-store. Also, we’re starting to see a lot of new digital experiences online and I think there’s a lot of opportunity in the future for that to expand. And I expect to see more of that.

Ganesh Subramanian:

I can jump in there. I read a lot of books. Right? And I can relate to this from that perspective that I own physical books and at the same time own a lot of Kindle e-books. Right now, sometimes you get very emotionally attached and you want to hold that book and read, have a bookmark, all of that. If I see that fashion huge opportunity. I think there will be a balance. Huge opportunity for closing the information gap. Right? Today brands are having one-time transactions of products with customers. Right? How do we continue that? And when you take that as a service, therefore you are tracking the entire lifecycle of the product.

And all of us are talking about sustainability because you cannot close the sustainability loop if you don’t close the information loop. Right? So, it’s very important for us to have a complete track, for when I see that, this will be a progression. Some of the companies are already doing it whether they are sending a box to the customer, they’re attached to every transaction of the customer. And a question here is that more and more people join this, we’ll be able to have a complete understanding of the wardrobe of the consumer whether we are making the best use of it. Right?

And I also see that in the service model, that you will have the maximum utilization of resources. Right? In other words, we can conserve the resources that today that we are deploying. Now, from that perspective, at Stylumia, we enable all brands and retailers globally. We provide the information today which is missing. By tracking millions of public data, impressions of consumers to come back and see it collectively, what is the true demand in the market? Because what we see today is a huge amount of wastage in fashion because there is a huge gap in supply and demand. Right? The more and more you have demand information, the supply can come closer for we’re trying our own bits of how do we bridge this gap by bringing knowledge to brand owners and retailers. Right? We look forward to more views on this.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. It would be interesting to know what… Sandra.

Sandra Campos:

Yeah. No. I just wanted to share that I’ve been in this industry my entire career. And one of the things that I’ve seen regardless of where I’ve been, leading businesses or been a part of a company, it’s always that fashion is emotion. There’s an emotional element to a consumer buying a fashion product no matter what it is. Right? Especially when you’re a woman. And my career has always been for and with regards to women’s businesses. But what I’ve seen also, one of the reasons I’ve moved into tech, is that over the last 12 years that I’ve been really focusing on and trying to really push more digital acceleration and transformation of brands is that we as an industry have been behind.

We’ve been behind in really understanding where the consumer was going, in terms of understanding how complete the lifestyle is now with digital and the metrics around that, and being able to truly have data that analyzes things. So, I think we have to incorporate that thinking as well as the fact that we are in 2021. The pandemic obviously changed everything and has us much digitally focus now, but we still have to make sure that we’re telling a story. I’m a big believer in brand and brand equity, but that we actually tell the story across multiple channels.

So, in the case of what I’m doing now, in terms of Project Verte, we have the ability to help retailers extend across the demand channel. So, if you look at that from a user standpoint, yes, it’s about users because if you have one Shopify store, but you want to go on to multiple marketplaces because customer acquisition costs are so high, you need to have more eyeballs, you’re looking to scale your business, we can do that for you. But that’s again, that’s thinking about it from a user standpoint. So, I kind of see both.

And we’re definitely at a transition point right now and inflection point in the industry to say, how do we take something that we know has a very emotional element to it, does have to have branding and storytelling around it, but also think of it in terms of users like every other industry is doing now today, whether it’s health and wellness industry, or we talked about before in terms of the music industry, or Netflix and streaming, and everything else. So, I think there’s a bit of a combination, but I definitely believe that we’re at that tipping point now where we have to move more so into thinking of it as a user base and the data around that to help inform the decisions as we move forward in terms of product and making sure that we have the right amount of product, so we don’t have excess and everything else that goes into it.

Fredrik Timour:

It will be super interesting to hear what Emma says. I mean, you represent the company that really works with a lot of users. So, it would be really interesting to hear your comment.

Emma Lee:

Right. I think I will definitely go on Sandra’s point earlier. I think fashion is emotional. So, I think of Alibaba, we actually believe in retail as entertainment for end consumers. So, every business unit whether Alibaba Group, we always thinking about what that user or that consumer’s journey is. So, I think it’s really about when they wake up, we’re always thinking about what their daily activity looks like. So, as they wake up, how do they find the brand? So, it’s about discovery for them on our platform, it’s about telling that brand story for them. So, whether or not it’s to follow their favorite influencers or one of their live streams to learn about the brand or the product’s story, and all the way to a transaction. But what is the transaction happening?

Emma Lee:

So, we actually don’t really believe in offline versus online. We actually see the future of commerce as new retail. So, I think the consumer base in China, they’re very digitally savvy. Not savvy. They’re digitally native. So, I think they grow up in this environment that they don’t see brick and mortar versus online. Everything is intertwined. There’s one sort of experience for them. So, I think it also goes back to where’s the transaction happening. Is the purchasing online and then they get it delivered to them? Or is it purchasing online and then pick up in-store? Or is it pick up in-store and they turn to some other services online? So, I think there’s all this journey that everything that we do we always thinking about that experience. What is the brand’s discovery to the transaction? Also, have to care what that program looks like.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. So, Nikhita, do you have anything that you want to say?

Nikhita Iyar:

Yeah. Absolutely. A few points on that. I think I agree with different points from each panellist thus far. I think most importantly, digital is unavoidable. So, I’d like to start with that. Digital isn’t going away. We’re only becoming more digital as consumers, as users, as customers, as businesses. So, that is where the world is going. We can deny it, but I think brands that do that will become increasingly irrelevant. So, it’s all about how you understand digital as a brand and how you leverage it.

Sometimes I think in the industry, it scares people when you hear digital because you think that means detaching completely from an old model. And I think the brands that do it correctly, in my opinion, are the ones that leverage it in a way that lets them transition from one model to the next which as Emma said, is intertwined. It’s not one or the other. Now, that being said, I think the way that we think about it from the Moxtra perspective, is if you look at consumers. Consumers today are users because what they pay for is an experience. Now, there was an article recently in the Wall Street Journal that said that today’s consumers buy experiences more than they buy products. And that’s a large thing to consider when you realize that the way we all live is by opening our phones, clicking a button, and expecting food delivery or an Uber to come to pick us up. So, if you think about that, I always like to bring up the Uber example because they built their entire business model around this idea of convenience and delivering consumer convenience to a user.

So similarly, I think when we look at the fashion industry. Sometimes it’s simplifying the entire model and realizing. When consumers wake up in the morning and users, don’t understand the backend systems that you have. All they want to know is, are you giving them an easy, engaging, interactive, and convenient way to engage with your brand. So, for a large luxury brand, that might mean holding digital real estate on a customer’s device as well as offering an in-person showroom experience.

And so, you extend that brand to mobile. Right? Because really you’re trying to emulate mobile behavior which is the expectation of any time, any place engagement. But for some brands, maybe a small brand that doesn’t necessarily need to have a brick and mortar store, today’s market has opened it up such that mobiles are given rise to a new delivery model. You can create your entire brand and in fact, create larger brand value with more exposure across larger markets and demographics because of what social media and these types of app-driven models have given us access to. So, I think it is finding the balance of both and depending on which market you’re coming from or whether you already have an existing brand or not.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. Also, the consumers of today are used to bring users through the other services that we’ve talked about. So, I think they also expect what you all are talking about. They just expect that experience. What I would love to do is connect back to Ganesh, what you said when closing the loop and going to the next question as well when you talked about sustainability. So, will a need for fashion sustainability drive a new business model? So, I think that kind of goes hand in hand, that how can we achieve that sustainability.

Ganesh Subramanian:

Yeah. Absolutely, Fredrik. When we talk about sustainability, I’m going to take a very, very different direction to the normal discussion on sustainability. We talked about the materials we used, we talk about these recycling, closing the loop. But I really want to talk about one business model where we can make a paradigm shift in the fashion industry globally. So, let me give you quick statistics. In 2018, the world produced 150 billion garments. And 50 billion garments them sold at discount. And close to 50 billion never sold at all. This is the entire fashion value chain.

We’re talking about humongous. Close to two-thirds of products don’t meet the consumer demand in their right form. So, let’s face it. Now, this is one form of a gap that we have within the supply side of fashion that seems to be producing a lot more than the real demand is. We looked at this problem in 2015 and asked why is this happening for decades? Right? It’s not that the effort is not being made and therefore it’s a complex problem. We really need to ask this question, we ask the same time, how do we get through the demand of consumers? If only someone got through demand, that we would have gone closer to it. So, we made that effort and that’s one of the initiatives.

The question here is, how do we decode the demand of the consumers on an ongoing basis? In other words, can we put the consumer at the center of the business model? Right? And do everything around it. And we just address one side of it, bringing supply clothes up to demand. And the lot one can do about it. In some case studies there, we’re able to improve the velocity of products which is the real reflection of the impact of any of these. Right? Anywhere between 2 to 4x.

If you really looked at the information. And of course with all the human intuition creativity, if you bring both combinations of this, the real demand velocity increases. It shifts key parameters, be it revenue, be it profit, be it inventory. The wonderful thing in fashion is, we can hit two birds with one stone which is you get economic sustainability and environmental sustainability at one go. Right? The point I’m placing on the table is that I think we really need to find ways of understanding consumer demand on an ongoing basis and bring these two ends of the supply chain closer and closer. Right?. And both in all dimensions. Understanding demand, sensing, and also responding in some way across entire value chains. Right? From creation to distribution.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. I wonder maybe to the end consumer offer as well.

Ganesh Subramanian:

No, no. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Fredrik Timour:

Emma, do you have any other comment?

Fredrik Timour:

Oh. Sandra.

Sandra Campos:

No. I was just going to say, it’s such a big challenge. Right? Because exactly what you said, Ganesh. It’s from beginning through distribution, through to the consumer. It’s all aspects. And I’ve been saying for years that this is, yes the sustainability has been a new business model. And we’ve all tried to impact it one way or the other, but it’s not just about the fabrications. It’s not just about the manufacturers and the factories. It also goes into…

Your question is about new businesses, last-mile deliveries, how you get your product, inventory, warehousing, micro fulfillments. These are all things that we’re doing now too in the company that the Project Verte now. But it’s all about trying to think of every single piece of it. Because it’s great if you’re putting all these efforts into new fabrications and new sustainable products. But then, if you’re actually shipping it from one part of the world to the other in a FedEx box overnight, and if the box in and of itself fits inside a really big box, and then that’s the shipping cost, and that’s transportation cost, and it’s not closer to the customer, it kind of defeats the purpose.

So, every single piece of it, it really does need to be changed and disruptive. So right now, I’m seeing on the supply chain side, what I’m seeing is at the end of this from the distribution standpoint. We have a lot of opportunities as well to really focus our efforts on giving our clients, who are the retailers ultimately, options. Options on packaging solutions that are more sustainable, options in terms of last-mile deliveries, options in terms of providing AI tools that give you information on where you should have your inventory, how much of it you should have, where it’s closest to the consumer. Obviously, that requires data. And that requires information about your customer, and the demand, and all of that. But it really is about trying to also get closer to the customer. So, yes. There’s going to be, definitely, even more, there are now, more and more businesses that are starting to rise because of this challenge. And on the distribution side, it’s going to continue.

Fredrik Timour:

So, I mean, one way of… Sorry. One way of listening to you. One way of seeing it is it’s not one business model. It’s several business models that need to switch.

Sandra Campos:

Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. Do anyone else want to comment on?

Emma Lee:

I think-

Daina Burnes:

Yeah. I’ll comment on that. Oh.

Emma Lee:

No. Go ahead.

Daina Burnes:

Okay. Just echoing some of the things that Sandra and Ganesh spoke about. But also with the apparel industry, there’s just so many areas of improvement in adopting sustainable practices. As an industry, it’s one of the biggest offenders of hurting the environment. The way that we think about it at Bold Metrics is the carbon footprint of a brand and the impact of returns. And so, for us, how can we reduce returns and the shipping of product? Do you know? A lot of times brands, when a product is returned, ‘re not repurposing, and reselling, restocking that inventory, and instead, it’s going to a landfill for example which is horrifying to think about.

So, there are definitely practices that need to be put in place to help retailers and brands become more sustainable. Because we’re going to see and we are seeing that the consumer has that expectation and an increasing expectation for brands to adopt sustainable practices. And from the perspective of new business models that are emerging, really, I see there’s just a lot of opportunity of different technology companies that are emerging on the market that have solutions. Really viable solutions to help the various aspects that a brand could improve upon within their sustainable efforts. And so, I think we’ll see a lot more ways that companies emerge and figure out what solutions they can provide to help brands reach those sustainable goals that they have. And it’ll create this ecosystem towards a better future for all of us. And also aligned with what the consumer wants to see, that we’re all being responsible to the planet that we live on.

Sandra Campos:

By the way, I don’t think Generation Z is going to be giving up on this at all. They’re the biggest advocates that we have from the generation standpoint.

Daina Burnes:

Absolutely. If anything, more than ever. Right?

Sandra Campos:

Absolutely.

Emma Lee:

But, no. Yeah. I think I just want to echo all the points earlier. I think as we move to Gen Z, like social media, it’s basically giving the power back to the users and consumers. So, in the fashion industry, as we move forward, it’s very crucial and critical to always listen to other users need. And I think traceability or transparency throughout the supply chain is what Gen Z needs and needs to know. And I think going back to earlier of the digitalization of what it means for the fashion industry, I think of Alibaba, we set new retail, it’s beyond. It’s not just about setting up your digital strategy is to have your online store. That’s not it. It’s really about digitalizing your entire supply and retail chain is from manufacturing to marketing, to payment solution, to logistics, all the way to delivery to the last mile. Every touchpoint within the retail industry really needs to digitalize so that we can be better, and smarter, and more efficient, and then create a lesser footprint on the environment.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. I think actually we started to answer the next question which is, what type of future products and services do you consider relevant for the fashion industry? I mean, in some of what you said, you already came up with a couple of solutions in products and services. But who wants to start talking about that? What types of products and services do you see relevant for the fashion industry going forward?

Nikhita Iyar:

I can-

Nikhita Iyar:

Oh, no. Go ahead.

Sandra Campos:

You go ahead, Nikhita. But the list is long. Go ahead.

Nikhita Iyar:

Obviously, I don’t know if I’m as well equipped to answer from a pure fashion industry perspective because my experience comes from the tech industry and working with fashion brands or manufacturing companies from that angle. But from that angle, my experience is, I believe that one of the most important things for brands, for entire companies to leverage is a digital strategy that creates convenience. And I talked about this in my last point, but I think it is keeping it simple. And I’ll give you a great example. Some of our clients at Moxtra, of course, have designers who actually leverage having their own portal as a destination for their end customers. These could be couture clients, celebrities who are working closely with a stylist, and privacy, and having an ongoing record of those contracts, interactions. That almost mimics the way we text and interact on a day-to-day basis, but taking in every single other stage of business we need in one place. That’s important to that consumer.

But it’s just as important on the backend. Do you know? It’s not just for B2C if you think about it from a B2B perspective of what the other panellists here were talking about. If you take a brand working with its retailers. One of the most important things for brands nowadays is finding new ways to expand their market exposure through building their retailer network. We just spoke to a brand yesterday. They’re a huge fashion company and they said one of the big things they’re aiming for this year is to expand that retailer network. Finding different ways and different channels to market their products.

So, when they’re with Moxtra, they started off by thinking maybe we’ll work with our end consumers. And now, they’re saying instead it’s going to be a destination for us to manage our entire retailer network, vendor network, our manufacturing network. And I think that’s one of the biggest things. It’s sometimes an entire process, an entire chain of people who need that interaction to take place. And that interaction is not just, hey let me pick up the phone and talk to you as a potential retailer once a month. It’s giving you an easy way to reach me.

And I think from a technology perspective, I always like to think about this term, CRM. It’s still to this day, I find it funny that the term, CRM, has the customer in it. Do you know? Because it’s supposed to be about the customer. But the customer never really interacts with the CRM. What it really is, is a technology for the backend manager to manage his or her staff and keep a record. So, what about that customer, that partner, that person you’re working with through those business cycles? I think the more connectivity we can provide in an easier and convenient manner that actually supports the journey that the day-to-day person is going on, whether it’s looking through a contract, updating inventory. Those processes need to be better managed and I think that’s really what it’s about as well.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. Do anyone else want to answer that question?

What future products and services? Because the one thing that I think is interesting and what I would love to know more about is, completely new services and completely new products that you can see. And especially, both, of course, B2B, but do you see any consumer service as a completely new way of communicating with its consumer, or producer, or whatever we want to call?

Sandra Campos:

I think there are so many different things that are happening and it’s so exciting. I think we are in a very, very exciting time right now even though obviously we’ve had a very challenging year in general. Because there are so many new businesses that are starting and there are so many new things that are being developed. And I’m going to give applaud for something that has absolutely nothing to do with me, but I don’t have it. It’s Copy.AI. From a business standpoint and consumers can use it too because it’s a copyrighting tool that actually helps.

And I’m going to kind of go back to what Nikhita was saying about simplification. Right? And everything that we do, we need to simplify all of the different processes, and all of the different tools that we have because there’s so much available to us. But we need to be able to simplify what it is whether you’re growing your business. And I’ll go back to what Nikhita was saying in terms of expanding across demand channels and finding one source and one company that help you. Or if you’re looking for… On the Copy.AI, for example, it’s not just about business to business. It’s also for a consumer if they want to be able to use it for their social posts. And they want to be able to have more copyrighting skills if they want to become an entrepreneur.

And I think we’re seeing that too. Right? We’re at a time now where also there’s going to be more and more entrepreneurs. So, people starting their own businesses and trying to navigate through, well how do we do this, not only from a manufacturing standpoint but how do we do this in terms of getting to the customer? How do we actually get those eyeballs? How do we… Then, what do we do afterwards? What’s actually an order management system? What is a 3PL? And how do we get there? I mean, all those different elements. I think that kind of merges between B2C and B2B because there are so many customers now, especially as we go into Generation Z that are and have their own businesses. Whether you look at Etsy and what they’re doing. Or if they’re selling on Poshmark. They’re really creating their own ecosystem that of all these different tools where they can sell their own products.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah.

Ganesh Subramanian:

Yeah. I can jump in here. You can call it maybe moonshot. How do we close? A lot of fashion industry challenges comes because of a lead time between inspiration and fulfilment. Right? Now, how do you crash that exponentially? Right? Imagine that we could create designs and we could fulfil this very real close to real-time. Now, it might look like a moonshot but there are now conglomerates working across the industry segment where design generation to fulfilment in a few days. Right? With the global supply chain fulfilment. Right?

Now, my point is that, how can we… A lot of partnership. I see a future where it’s not about one company, one service provider, or one supply, or one plan that will solve this problem. Coming together. It’s a time for partnerships. Coming together across intelligence service providers, manufacturers, brand owners coming together and say, here are consumers. Can we build a platform? And use the platform to provide services similar to what’s there in technology. We call it open-source. Right?

A lot of what we do is all closed. Right? How can we open it up and bring a lot of innovation? Collective exponential innovation and bringing this together and just maybe to on closing… We’ve done something on the B2B side which is you can… This is basically a design assistant. You can actually create a new design using one of our solutions called [Imagining 00:30:32] where you create a design that you’ve never seen in the world in a few seconds. Right? Now, the idea is not to replace any creativity. Just an assistant to augment designers to come out with products very fast. You can test that quickly digitally and you can close the creative fulfilment or demand signals very fast. Imagine that’s available to the consumer. Right? And that consumer can actually play with it and bring that up straight away to the suppliers and you have a fast fulfilment. And all of this happening in close to real-time. So, that’s something that’s my vision of the future of where we can all work together to create that.

Fredrik Timour:

I agree. I think definitely that. That open-source tools, for example, will play a role or need to play a role. I will jump below that because there was this one question that I want to ask you. And then, we have a question from the audience to Sandra as well before we close. But one question I think is super exciting to ask you is that, could new fashion players enter the market through existing user end content, do you think? I mean, players like Netflix or EA Games, for example. Players that already have a user base, that already have credit cards, all the information, and also have an emotional connection with the audience. Could they be new fashion players? Could they disrupt the fashion industry? What do you think? Who wants to-

Sandra Campos:

I’m going to be the only one talking here.

Fredrik Timour:

First.

Sandra Campos:

I always have enough to say. No. Listen. I think that they already have. Do you know? And they are. And they’re going to become more and more important. And whether it’s gaming and E-commerce which is going to become its own thing. But people have been trying to do this now for years. But it’s something that we… and I just became more familiarized with it as well because the company that I joined, Project Verte, is also doing this as well. This allows somebody in a game to be able to see a product and actually buy it and check out from the game. So, this is going to become more real-time. And if you look at the stats and the amazingly large audience that’s on games, and the female audience that’s actually gaming, it’s quite incredible. So, I think it’s absolutely going to continue to go more in that direction.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. I mean, it’s very interesting if one of those players, whoever they are, defined themselves as fashion players suddenly. I mean, could it even work?

Sandra Campos:

Well… But then, look. Nike recently came out and called themselves a technology company.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. Yeah. I think it could go vice versa. Definitely. Yeah. That’s really-

Daina Burnes:

And I can say that we’re seeing that at Bold Metrics already and interest from the gaming industry specifically. And using technology like ours, we can very quickly produce an avatar that’s representative of a person’s actual body measurements. And so, we can create basically their digital avatar and they can use that within a gaming space. And I think it’s very interesting in the gaming space, how lucrative it is for within game to wear various outfits. So, I can certainly see it’s not too far of an extension to see that someone would want to actually purchase that outfit that their digital entity, the digital identification, or have that and actually purchase these assets. So, I think we’ll see more of them. I think it’ll be really exciting. We’re already seeing interest from that industry and partnering with some of the work that we’re doing. So, I think that’s definitely an exciting future ahead of us.

Fredrik Timour:

It will be really interesting to hear Emma’s reflection as well because you actually represent one of those players that could be potential, have that potential in being a-

Emma Lee:

So, I think for our userbase for Singles’ Day. That’s what we are most known for, for global shopping, first of all. Most of Asia has always been a very important tool for any brand to talk to its userbase. So, I think it’s really about that entire journey. And then, especially for Pokemon in the past. For a brand, they can basically design out this process to be grabbing the coupons or any activities that you need before you purchase the items. Or even for singles. They go to performances. The audience can shake their phone and then a coupon or the actual product will populate. And they can purchase everything without actually leaving, viewing the concert. So, I think [inaudible 00:34:54] has already been embedded into our app or our user experience for our customer base. So, definitely, it’s something that we are always looking at Alibaba.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. Now we have a couple of minutes left. And we have a couple of questions from the audience. We have one from… Sandra, as coming in from a large fashion brand, CEO role to now the technology side of what’s happening in fashion, what’s the biggest shock, if any, when it comes to innovation that is not being utilized enough in the fashion industry? That’s a good question.

Sandra Campos:

Well, I think there’s fear. And I think fear stops a lot of things that we want to do. I think it’s also been where, like anything else new, when TVs first came out and they were so expensive. Or when the latest greatest, it’s better before it comes out, it’s so expensive and always gets a little bit less expensive over time. You don’t realize that there’s a lot of things that are actually quite inexpensive right now to be able to run your business and to be able to innovate. So, there are tools that exist out there that I think people can just be more open-minded because it may not be as overwhelming as you might think it is.

And listen. Coming from the retailer side myself, it certainly was. You have initiatives, you have objectives, you have resources, you have a certain amount of capital that you can use. And so, it does become overwhelming when you look at this huge list of, I have to make all these changes just to become a more digital facing brand. But you can take them to bite-sized. There’s a lot of companies that are doing things, again, much less expensively, but will really make pretty instrumental and pretty significant differences to the business. Even…

And I go back to what I’m doing now because it’s what I know today as it relates to if you want to add demand channels and you’re taking your Shopify store, or your Demandware platform, and you’re going to expand into a hundred different marketplaces. There are several within that. It’s not that costly. And going with companies that actually help you grow your business and will just be a partner with you on the upside is much more cost-effective than going and building a huge platform, and having longterm commitments, and having to have consultants come integrate. It’s very seamless now to be able to integrate platforms and integrate these tools into a platform. So, I think that fear has a kind of crippled some people in some cases. And there’s just a lot of open to listening now that I feel I could be enhancing people’s businesses if you can kind of look out there and be really open to new business models.

Fredrik Timour:

Is it the lack of experience as well? I mean, you haven’t worked with innovation that much.

Sandra Campos:

Lack of resources. Do you know? Listen. You’re running a business and you have a lack of financial resources, you have a lack of human capital, how many people do you need to be able to take this, you’ve got IT, you’ve got e-comm. Everyone has objectives. You have to hit certain revenues, you’ve got to hit profitability. I mean, there’s just a lot of demands on running a business. And so, it’s a matter of prioritization. So, I don’t know that it’s about inexperience. It’s just about having to reprioritize and finding the champions within an organization who are going to push something through.

Because ultimately, it’s got to be seen through all the way. And having the knowledge… And taking the meetings, first of all, creates knowledge. But then, you’re going to go a little bit deeper each time that you speak with the company or various companies to figure out what those opportunities are. And then, when you actually see the case studies and you see the results that you can get. And you can actually find the ones that can actually work with the limited resources that you might have or you might want to put towards something and just test it a little bit. I mean, it exists. It’s out there. It can be done. I just think that it’s overwhelming right now how much has to change for this industry.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. I agree completely. I’ll move forward quickly because we only have a couple of minutes and a lot of questions from the audience. Question’s for Daina. Would your solutions with AI for virtual fitting solutions, seeing a lot of different players come into that space, how do you feel each differentiates? And if they do, can this become a joint effort in the technology world?

Yeah. I was seeing that.

Daina Burnes:

This is the challenge of virtual conferences. We have pets. She just decided she wants attention right now. So, apologize if she comes out again. Thanks for the question for whoever asked that. And I actually wanted to comment on a previous question I didn’t speak to. It’s sort of related to new technology that is needed in the fashion industry too. Well, what we do at Bold Metrics, is predict all the detailed body measurements on a customer by just serving some basic questions. You don’t need a measuring tape. You certainly don’t need to take a selfie. So, it’s really… It converts quite well in an in-store or online environment.

And so, with that information, we then predict all of these detailed body measurements, relate that to the purchase and returns behavior, and we can create all these very interesting insights for product designers to understand how the clothes actually fit in their customers and create a cyclical process within the product design cycle. So, relating to the earlier topic of what’s needed in the industry and maybe even to the question just for Sandra, is the technology not being quite utilized. What I always found was surprising within the apparel industry is the lack of data that goes into the sizing specification design process.

So typically, there’s a lack of data that goes into that, particularly around the data around your consumer’s body measurements, and who is your consumer from a body shape and size perspective. And so, usually, it’s identifying a fit model which is a person that they identify as a… It’d be the average body measurements for a size medium for their brand. And then, design the size medium to fit that person and create a gradation for those smaller and larger sizes. And use body scanning studies of generic geographical regions to understand fit coverage and how they’re performing there. But there’s really no kind of scalable way to close the loop.

So, you have the product reach the market, but then, really no way to understand, is it really fitting my customers? What are my customers in body shape, and size, and distribution of their body measurements? And so, creating this connectivity. And Nikhita talked a little bit about connectivity as we move towards digitalization. Being able to capture scalably and reliably the body measurements from your customers and connect within the organization, within a brand, the product designers with the consumers, and have this digital data-driven approach to product design. And I think that’s one thing that differentiates anyways Bold Metrics. But also, just a lot of opportunity for various technology companies within the space of product design, digital connectivity to help better understand and create better products, better inclusivity in sizing for our customers. So, I think there’s a lot of opportunity for a future partnership in this area as well. Thank you for your question.

Fredrik Timour:

Thank you for your answer. So, I’m very quickly now because we only have a couple of minutes. And Ganesh. From the audience. Is retail here to stay with us seeing digital take such a huge role in the next of fashion?

Ganesh Subramanian:

Yeah. I think it’s a great question. Yeah. But when we consider digital I see that normally we think about the digital as all about the channel. So, in our view, digital is the entirety of the supply value chain. Right? And digital increases speed increases response increases understanding, transparency. So, we see that the end-to-end value chain will get digitalized. Right? Now, what that means is, that is here to stay.

It’ll only exponentially increase. When that increases, the amount of data is exponentially going to increase. So, therefore the question here is not about going with digital, but what do we do with all of what we get out of digital? Right? So, if you don’t know how to use all of this data, make an informed decision making. It’ll completely transform the business. So, it’s as important. Digitalizing is as important as understanding, and using that data, and taking intelligence out of it. I just want to give leave a case study here.

Sometime back, six months back, one brand came to us and we were talking. And they said, “We are an analogue distribution brand. We have huge distribution across tiers of towns. Digital intelligence is not relevant to us.” Six months down the line, the same brand came back to us and said, “We did a research. We lost market share. And when we asked the consumer, “Where did we lose the market, who did we lost the market share too?” Surprisingly, one of the world’s largest online retailer’s private brand. They never heard. During the COVID period, what happened is, the transformation happened. And a lot of people testing digital offerings. Right? In that category, they never thought that a digital brand’s retailer’s private brand will take their share. Now, what I’m trying to say is, we in a world which is transparent and competitive, we don’t even know who our competition is. Right? I think constant watch and keeping a close eye on that and taking information is my key point that I leave the audience with. Great question.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. And we have two minutes. So, Emma. What’s your take on experiential retail intertwined with e-commerce platforms? Do you see innovations in this space?

Emma Lee:

Yes. I think this past year, we definitely see a lot of really interesting case studies happening on our platform. So, I think fashion is really needing a lot of technology and innovation because I think it’s not really about innovation within the industry. I think its individual brand needs to find its own way of retelling their story, or how to tell their story. So, I think this past year, we have Cartier launching on our platform for a year now. And then, during Singles’ Day, they actually did a Livestream for exclusive exhibition to showcase the 29 million dollar necklace.

At the same time, they bring that offline experience. They relaunched their watch and then they did the showcase in the Shanghai exhibition. So, I think that’s really the sort of bridge in between online and also offline. And we also did something within time. So, it’s at the beginning of hitting the China market, all those different stores will close down. So, they were actually able to do Livestream from the department stores for all the beauty counters. The individual sales associate will just bring their iPhone and then doing Livestream from their department store when they don’t have visitors during the COVID period. So, I think it sort of goes back to your question to Sandra earlier. Sometimes it’s actually the fear. And also, it’s about they feel like this innovation or this digitalization is this huge overtaking, but it’s actually not. You can easily take out your iPhone and you can do Livestream from whatever you are to tell your brand story.

Fredrik Timour:

Yeah. Thank you. I mean, we could sit here and talk for another half an hour. But unfortunately, we’ve run out of time.

Jordana:

Yeah. I just wanted to come on here quickly. And first, thank you Fredrik, for leading this incredible conversation. I remember the last time that you led a conversation at our past event we also stayed with so many questions coming in. And I think because technology and innovation is something that the fashion industry needs to get on. But as Sandra mentioned, there is the fear, there is the unknown. And you guys did a wonderful job at giving so much insight. I feel like I need to take a break after so much information to kind of sort through everything.

But you guys were all incredible. So, I really just appreciate so much all of you for participating in Fashion Innovation and sharing and inspiring everybody in the audience. Because I know there are even more questions. I couldn’t get to you. So, I’ll tell everybody where to look all of you guys after this. And I hope to continue the conversation with all of you. Let this not be the end. And thank you all so much. You’ve all inspired me, so thank you.

Fredrik Timour:

Thank you.

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