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Fashinnovation 2022: Metaverse, unethical brands and outside competition

By Isabella Naef


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Karin Tracy, Meta, courtesy of Fashioninnovation worldwide talks

Unethical brands, metaverse, multidimensional marketing, but also competition increasingly pushed by artists, fashion designers and musicians: the fashion industry is changing very fast and the protagonists had their say during the sixth edition of Fashioninnovation worldwide talks, which took place in New York on February 3.

Supermodel and activist Brana Dane, model and technology expert Sinead Bovell, influencer Lais Ribeiro, designer Nicole Miller, entrepreneurs and designers Ozwald Boateng and Bibhu Mohapatra, are just some of who participated in the most awaited international event on fashion and technology. During the sixth edition of Worldwide Talks, with almost eight uninterrupted hours of panels broadcasted live from the Spring studios, produced by the international platform Fashinnovation and introduced by its co-founder, Jordana Guimarães, Brana Dane, model, influencer and activist, said that many brands do not behave ethically and that she is committed to working with new companies that truly respect the professionals involved, artists and nature.

Fashioninnovation worldwide talks took place in New York on February 3

Fashion designer and entrepreneur Nicole Miller pointed out that times have really changed: before she had to compete with other designers, now she has to compete with a huge number of musicians, actors, influencers and even the general public.

The metaverse is the future and that it will bring a new form of multidimensional marketing

Meta executive Karin Tracy said the metaverse is the future and will bring a new form of multidimensional marketing. For retailers, it will be the new form of dialogue with consumers, "so it doesn't make sense to stay out of it," Tracy said.

Designer Bibhu Mohapatra said he is familiar with starting a new business in the midst of a global crisis: the one in 2008 and the most recent one since 2020.

Mohapatra is a designer and costume designer based in New York. Creative director and founder of the brand that bears his name, he stressed that "one of the main things to be a good leader is to be adaptable, especially in business, in an industry like ours-you have to know how to be a team player and how to build a good team."

"So to be a good leader, you have to be adaptable to situations, you have to be respectful of your team and reduce the distance with them, but at the same time inspire them and be inspired by them, and don't be afraid to express gratitude."

Pandemic was also a topic of reflection during the panels. For British designer Ozwald Boateng, "even in these challenging times, I am still a creative designer who loves creativity and creativity is always about the experience of immersion and connection." For Ozwald, the simple act of creating fashion is a kind of revolution: "Destruction is designing. I started when I was 16, so it's about respecting tradition but also getting past the old book. And then, magic is what you feel when you experiment with fashion," the designer added. On the subject of new technologies for fashion production, the British designer shows a very personal approach: "artificial intelligence for me is an authentic identity: we still need humans in our collections. A much more personal perspective on everything we produce. Technology has its place, but it's still a tool. For me, that was clear from the beginning."

"I've always been something of a rebel, a good girl/bad girl type of designer. They call me 'uptown/downtown girl,' and that's been my design style as well. I think in those spaces between identities, we can find our own," said Nicole Miller, founder and designer with more than 40 years of success in the fashion industry.

Seeing that things are returning to normal in New York City, Miller expressed that she is very happy. "When I started out I thought I had to compete with other designers, whereas now the landscape is multifaceted: we're competing with actors, influencers, musicians, speakers; so, the challenge has increased and creativity is more important than ever. It's important to be really focused, to develop your identity and not let anything stop you."

Young Saudi Arabian founder and designer Norah Almuhaidib focused on the importance of cultural appropriation. "At the base is the recognition of culture. When you have a brand that is inspired by a certain culture, I think giving it credit is very important." For her, keeping old traditions visible in colors, textures and sizes is crucial to differentiating oneself in an integrated world that pushes consumers toward homogeneity of taste. "My country has the sheen of deserts, and it's important for me to incorporate that into my designs because that will set me apart from other brands and creators."

Karin Tracy, Meta's head of industry, retail, luxury and fashion, emphasized the future of fashion. "The metaverse is the next big thing," she said.

Gionata Galdenzi (Aeffe): "to be global we must open our minds to the different cultures of the world"

"What brands are already doing today will still be relevant in the metaverse tomorrow," in the sense of "multidimensional marketing. Everything you see out in the world will be shoppable, and everything that is shoppable will be personalized."

According to Gionata Galdenzi, ecommerce manager of Aeffe spa/Moschino: "We need to meet people where they are: platforms, media and spaces. We spend a lot of time studying information but we need to understand people's hearts. We have to assimilate, first, the culture of the person, to understand also the emotion and go to meet them with our actions. And to be global, we have to open our minds to the different cultures of the world."

"What can an online store offer that is special to consumers? To be as 'physical' as possible. possible," said Eco Mah, creative director of Tiffany and Co. "I don't see physical and online stores in conflict, but two different types of experiences. The easiest part of this new reality is the fact that we have so much data available. Data that helps and directs our efficiency."

For Giuseppe Stigliano, global ceo of Spring Studios,"In our age of digital transformation time and pace completely change: presence and location are no longer the same thing. It is not necessary to be localized somewhere to be present. The metaverse is probably another lever or acceleration of this process, along with cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, and many other topics." So, for the Spring Studios CEO, it's critical to talk about acceleration as being the main driving force that is reshaping every industry, including fashion. "Change is the only constant and its speed will continue to increase. And, yes, you have to adapt to new technologies but more importantly, you have to understand people, and what trends are here to stay and are relevant to your target audience. And update your brand in that direction. That goes for any brand."

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.IT, translated and edited to English by Kelly Press.

Bibhu Mohapatra
Brana Dane
Nicole Miller