The second day of the IAF’s 30th World Fashion Convention kicked off with Gustavo Mutis, Founding Partner and President of The Center for Leadership and Management speaking about leadership, telling the delegates modern leadership is a collective effort. The new paradigm is collective intelligence, where a group of individuals is always smarter than any single individual.
Leonardo Furno of VF (Lee, Wrangler, Timberland, North Face and Vans) unveiled the company’s plan to double VF’s US$ 350 million South American business. It was difficult though, he said, to structure the business in a continent where in Chile, 90% is imported and in Brazil and Argentina, 90% must be made locally as a result of high tariff barriers.
Massimo Mazza, partner and Co-Leaderof McKinsey and Company – Brazil highlighted the importance of Brazil as a market. Despite the current economic slowdown, fast moving consumer goods spending is up. According to Mazza, the best growth in Brazil is found in tier 2 cities. Like Furno, Mazza spoke of high entry barriers and variable periods of high and low growth. Nevertheless he said, a global brand must be in Brazil.
Tom Julian, director of Strategic Business Development of The Doneger Group then lectured on the important group of young customers termed the millennials. Best brand strategies to reach this group according to Julian are innovation through product, embracing a lifestyle experience and branding by storytelling. He showed many examples of how successful brands and retailers in the US such as Forever 21, Victoria Secret and Urban Outfitters use these strategies.
Stefan Siegel, founder of Not Just a Label enlightened the delegates with Not Just a Label’s innovative way of connecting 17000 young and upcoming fashion designers from all over the world to clients from all over the world. Siegel showed the systemic change which these designers are creating. Many have taken themselves out of the seasonal approach working in a more artisanal way. Larger brands, looking for the authenticity their clients are demanding, are starting to support local design communities.
In the final sessions where successful Colombian brands debated strategies this concept of authenticity was also embraced. Both Siegel and Julian advised to the Colombian brands to build on their ‘Colombianness’ when exporting.