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Y/Project starts strategic plan, seeks status of most 'influential brand’

By Jaime Martinez


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Pascal Conte-Jodra, new executive director of Y/Project, together with Glenn Martens, creative director of the firm. Credits: Y/Project.

The renowned French fashion brand Y/Project, under the creative direction of Belgian designer Glenn Martens since the death of Paris-based Moroccan designer Yohan Serfaty in April 2013, has just presented the basis of a new strategic plan, through which its main objective is to position itself - and this is no small feat - as the "most influential" designer fashion brand in the fashion industry. A position that it believes is much deserved following the work that Martens has been doing at the head of its creative department, in a task that Pascal Conte-Jodra, the new CEO of the house since May 2023, has now set himself the task of giving it its rightful value and visibility.

Despite the fact that Conte-Jodra ended up joining the independent fashion firm, which continues to be under the supervision of co-founder and chairman Gilles Elalouf, at the beginning of the year, it has not been until now that Y/Project has publicly made his appointment official. It was here that the company took the opportunity to outline the main objectives that the new CEO has set for this new stage of growth and expansion that he has been given the task of leading.

A series of goals for which the executive, a graduate with an Executive MBA from the prestigious French business school INSEAD, will make use of everything he has learned throughout his extensive professional career, during which he has held various positions of responsibility within the financial and management teams of Hermès, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs and Mugler. His time at the latter firm, where he had been CEO from June 2018 to May 2023, carrying out the tasks of revitalising and relaunching the fashion house, is precisely why he ended up arousing the interest of the Y/Project board of directors, to the point where they ended up offering him the chance to lead a new chapter in its history.

Pascal Conte-Jodra, new creative director of Y/Project. Credits: Y/Project.

"I am truly honoured and excited to embark on this incredible journey as CEO of Y/Project," Conte-Jodra said in a statement released by the French fashion house's management. "Collaborating with visionary Glenn Martens adds an extra layer of excitement and creativity to this task", for which, he says, "our shared passion and ambitions align perfectly, promising an exciting new chapter for the brand".

Aiming to be ‘the industry's most influential signature fashion brand’

The senior executive has designed a new strategic plan for Y/Project, based on four main pillars, on which he hopes to sustain this period of growth and revitalisation. An ambitious roadmap, and now the main objective that the new CEO of the firm has set for himself, revolves around promoting and establishing Y/Project "as the most influential designer fashion brand in the fashion industry". Conte-Jodra's solid track record of more than 20 years as a leading professional in the fashion and luxury industry is expected to contribute to this mission greatly, after he has previously directed operations in the US, Europe and Asia.

"As CEO of Y/Project, Pascal brings a unique combination of creative vision and business acumen", based on "his passion for bridging the gap between creativity and the business world", a maxim that has been "evident in his professional career", during which he has been driving "organisational transformations and optimising operations in the fashion and luxury sectors", according to the French fashion brand's management. And it is with all this in mind, they point out, that from his "strategic vision", he has ended up drawing up an "ambitious growth plan to establish Y/Project as the most influential designer fashion brand in the industry". A roadmap for which a special "emphasis" has been placed on uncovering "brand awareness", on the "development of its international distribution", and on the implementation of different high-value "online commerce initiatives", which should serve to "guarantee perfect accessibility" to the brand’s proposals for consumers globally. All of this is to come while Conte-Jodra is also in charge of leading different initiatives focused on sustainability, thus continuing with what remains one of the main "pillars" at the heart of the Y/Project brand's DNA.

A strategic plan based on the values and DNA of the Y/Project brand

Next to the details of its strategic plan, the company already went into greater depth by highlighting the four fundamental pillars, which are linked to what it understands to be the DNA of Y/Project. The first element is "design integrity", from which the brand said it would continue to support and defend the fact that each piece and article in its collections originates from an innovative and well-valued idea, thus underpinning the "conceptual" profile of the brand for which it has distinguished and differentiated itself within the fashion ecosystem. A methodology, which has helped them to create a sum of pieces that, they argue, "not only look extraordinary, but also transmit and have a valuable narrative".

Secondly, for the development of its own proposals, and new activations, the company said it looks to continue betting on the integrity of its "artistic pillars", based on the "absurd" and "opulence". A game of contrasts that it will continue to nurture as a hallmark of the firm, especially as a basis for the construction of avant-garde pieces with the ability to "challenge conventions" and "captivate the senses".

Design from Y/Project's Spring/Summer SS24 collection. Credits: Y/Project.

Following this line of argument, and without deviating from the disruptive nature from which they come to present their fashion house project, the foundation of their new strategic plan will also be the value of "versatility". A categorisation to which Y/Project understands that its fashion proposals respond, assembled from pieces that are as versatile as they are timeless, with the potential to transcend beyond the limits and pre-established catalogues, being able to adapt to the clothing needs that consumers demand at each moment of their lives.

And finally, and as the last value to be defended from the measures of this new strategic plan, is that of "sustainability". A term that has been bandied about by the fashion industry in recent years, and which Y/Project said was an intrinsic part of its nature as a fashion company, understanding it not as a starting point, but as a permanent journey in constant evolution. A journey that in the brand’s case, and for this moment, it continues to undertake by prioritising the use of "eco-conscious" materials and production methods that are more committed to the natural world, promoting ethical practices and lower environmental impact throughout the supply chain, and trying to move towards a more sustainable future, without compromising neither the creativity nor the quality of their creations.

"These four pillars form the basis of Y/Project's identity, and drive us forward in our quest to move towards innovative, inclusive and sustainable fashion," said the brand's management. These fundamentals, they add, "reflect our commitment to pushing boundaries, embracing diversity and leaving a positive footprint on the industry and the world at large".

"Y/Project is not just a brand; it is a beacon of creativity and innovation, anchored in solid values," concluded Pascal Conte-Jodra. "Under Glenn Martens' influential vision, the brand effortlessly resonates with the global Generation Z audience, propelling us to the forefront of fashion's evolution. I look forward to taking Y/Project to new heights, where innovation, passion and a commitment to authenticity will define our path to success."

Y Project