Are digital fashion shows here to stay?
May 28, 2020
Netflix, Twitch, Youtube and Co: Corona has dramatically changed our daily screen time. Not only are we watching more TV, series and movies, but also explored new content that we usually wouldn’t consume or that simply wasn’t there before. Luckily, we don’t have to give up our daily dose of fashion because the industry in moving online!
With Gucci closing its production side, Levi’s and Estee Lauders chief executives cutting their salary base for the time being, Rebecca Minkoff laying off their brands wholesale employees, and Neiman Marcus filing for bankruptcy, the world of fashions has taken drastic measures in those undeniable tough times. What’s needed is the little extra portion of adaptivity.
This adaptivity is best shown throughout these year’s Fashion weeks. While Fashion headquarters such as Milan, New York and Paris are facing major delays and even full cancellations of the shows (by i.e. Angel Chen, known from the Netflix series ‘Next in Fashion), a majority of the world’s largest design houses such as Chanel, Dior, Gucci, Hermes, Prada and Versace are cancelling their international resort 2021 runways as the result of the health crisis. However, those shows that do take place found an efficient way of bringing the world of fashion right into people’s living rooms.
Already in February, Gorgio Armani barred an audience for his 2020 runway show and instead posted a video of the show on the brand’s website and social media platforms. To set an example, Giorgio himself was wearing a face mask after entering the building. This year’s first purely digital fashion week in Shanghai taught us a valuable lesson about what the fashion scene of the future could look like. With over 2.5 million people watching the opening ceremony on Alibaba’s Tmall and 6 million viewers turning on their screens on the first day, the online format exceeded any regular fashion show’s seating capacities by far. Lasting about an hour to half a day, a lot of the show resembled a home-shopping channel experience on QVC, where a salesperson is interacting with the viewers.
But besides all the enthusiasm about the Fashion industry ‘making the best’ out of the current situation, others raise their worries about how digital fashion can replace the real deal. To be fair, designer had little time to put together their shows in the livestreaming ecosystem, which made them perfectly ok for a live show but not engaging enough for an online video. What is needed are fast-changing camera angels and quick changeovers that create the needed dynamics for a well-produced fashion film. At the same time, video recordings leave especially one question open: how is the feel actual feel of the quality and fabric? Low-resolution quality poses designers with one of the largest challenges, since is seems impossible to replace the interaction that takes place away from the catwalk (i.e. private appointments with potential buyers).
While designers may struggle with the lack of human contact, those who usually don’t have a front-row seat benefit from extra insights and content. So sit back, relax and enjoy the (fashion) show!
Fashion industry internship experience
May 26, 2020
Hi there! My name is Nadine Steen and I am currently doing an internship at Dior. As part of the biggest luxury conglomerate LVMH, they are based in an office with Guerlain, Givenchy, and Benefit in Rotterdam. With this article, I’ll try to give you some insight on my experience!
As the Online & Customer Relationship Management intern you basically work for (mostly with) the Online Manager. You work in the field of e-retail and e-commerce. However, I’m also in touch with the people from product management, merchandise, (trade) marketing, and PR on a daily basis. Because the office isn’t that big, you get to see a lot from other departments as well. Besides, almost every department has an intern, so there is a very nice mix of employees and interns. This creates an atmosphere in which there is always someone to go to for advice, questions, or to discuss something you’re working on.
Together with my manager, you start off with creating an online strategy which you will execute during your time as an intern. We always work far ahead, so I’m always working on upcoming launches and promotions, months ahead of their so-called ‘On Counter Date’ (Launchdate). As the intern, I’m mostly responsible for the communication with e-retailers such as Douglas and ICI PARIS XL. This includes providing them with all the necessary information about a new product, regularly monitor the Dior Ecorner on their websites to ensure optimal operation, and discuss visibility and placement on the website. This is my favorite part of the job because you really get to work together with the retailers and create the best online presence possible, beneficial for both parties.
Furthermore, you’ll be busy creating the actual materials for online visibility: things such as social media, content pages, newsletters, and brand pages. For this you are in constant communication with the central Skincare, Make-up, and Fragrance Teams in Paris; together you discuss creating the materials according to the Dior guidelines. On top of that, you assist in translations, you create CRM materials and monitor the online financials.
I feel like especially during these times when online shopping is and will be more important than ever, doing an online-focused is a great challenge. It’s international, gives a great insight into the behind-the-scenes of a luxury brand, and offers the base of a network in the luxury industry. As a luxury brand, they expect a lot from their interns, but you’ll get a relevant but also unique experience in return!
If you have any questions or want to know more, don’t hesitate to contact me on Linkedin!
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Impact of Corona on Fashion
May 10, 2020
The outbreak of the coronavirus (technically known as SARS-CoV-2) has been a catastrophe in many regards. Disregarding the social and psychological impact, the economy suffers tremendously. The fashion industry poses no exemption to this.
All over the world fashion companies are affected. The industry depends enormously on physical interaction. If retail stores remain closed for two months, a report released by Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company suggests that 80 percent of publicly listed fashion companies in the western world will find themselves in financial distress. The purchasing power of the population decreases overall, shifting priorities from luxury to necessary goods. Furthermore, on a psychological side note, there are no possibilities anymore to show your new pieces and outfits as people are quarantined, decreasing the demand for fashion items in my opinion even further. Moreover, supply chains are disrupted with people losing jobs and wages being cut, leaving workers in misery.
The above-mentioned report predicts that the apparel and footwear sector will contract by 30% and the luxury fashion sector by almost 40% in 2020. The numbers speak for themselves. Furthermore, it is shocking to see that many of the most important scenes for the industry are hit the hardest.
The Lombardy province is at the center of the outbreak in Italy. Well-known for textiles and manufacturing, home to brands like Prada, Versace, and Armani. Calculations show that more than half of the Italian textile production and clothing factories are located in this region.Paris, home to many fashion houses such as YSL or Louis Vuitton, established one of the strictest lockdown policies in Europe. Most alarmingly is the situation in China. Investment bank Jefferies estimates that Chinese buyers, representing the fastest-growing luxury buyers in the world, made up 40 percent of the 281 billion euros spent on luxury goods globally last year. Ralph Lauren closed 2/3 of its stores in China, Burberry 1/3, Nike ½ and Capri, owner of Michael Kors, Versace and Jimmy Choo closed 150 of its 225 stores in the country. Adidashas seen its business activity in the country drop roughly 85% compared to the same period last year. Furthermore, China is the world largest textile producer, causing shortages in stores worldwide, affecting the fashion industry even more than other industries due to the existing seasonality. Many brands became too dependent in their upstream supply network, which has been accepted due to cost-efficiency, but the price for that has to be paid now.
Furthermore, consumer behavior will change, leading people to focus on so-called heritage pieces with a bigger life span. Minimalistic and lasting items will be demanded, leaving hype products to suffer from this change.
Nevertheless, history has proven that the economy always recovers. Especially necessary industries such as the fashion industry will not simply break down and vanish. Mary Pieterse-Bloem, Professor of Financial Markets at Erasmus School of Economics, rightfully refers to the current crisis as a good example of Joseph Schumpeter’s process of creative destruction. The economy has to adapt to changes in consumer behavior and the current restrictions. This calls for innovations and new ways of making business. Looking at the fashion industry this could include a stronger focus on online shopping, designs for more necessary items, improvements of supply chains, importance of collaborations etc. “Creative destruction is the source of economic growth and also increases productivity. (…) this crisis could be a blessing in disguise.” (Mary Pieterse-Bloem) Achim Berg, Global Leader of the Apparel, Fashion & Luxury Group at McKinsey and Company, mentions that the industry will feel the crisis for a long time to come. Nevertheless, “[it] gives us an opportunity to redesign the industry’s value chain and to focus on the values by which we measure our actions.“ (Achim Berg)
Luxury Fashion against Corona
May 5, 2020
With the number of total cases approaching the 35 000 mark in the Netherlands, the coronavirus’ curve is still not flattening in the Netherlands. Some good news nonetheless: other neighbouring countries such as Germany and particularly Switzerland have seen steady drops in active cases. Not only governments have taken action against the coronavirus, but also luxury and fashion brands: here are some uplifting news to make your day less gloomy.
Very early into the coronavirus crisis, the luxury giant LVMH offered to repurpose its perfume-making factories for Christian Dior, Guerlain and Givenchy into making hydroalcoholic gels for French hospitals. They also donated 10 million masks to those same hospitals and reopened their Baby Dior ateliers for voluntary seamstresses to make masks.
The Birkin maker Hermès already donated 30 tons of hydroalcoholic gel, 31 000 masks and pledged 20 million euros to Parisian hospitals. Chanel will also give up on its partial unemployment benefits in Switzerland, Italy and France, so as to not weigh onto the French government. They will pay, until the 8th of May, 100% of their 8500 employees’ salary, or 40 days’ worth of work. They also donated 1.2 million euros to French hospitals and 50 000 masks. Currently, 150 tailors continue to make masks and scrubs for hospital workers, fire- and policemen.
Cosmetics companies are also helping: Clarins also donated 14 500 flasks of those, again to French hospitals. These patterns make sense in various aspects: they all donate to French hospitals because of how overwhelmed France is and the fact that they are French companies. Now, you could argue that they are creating exclusive collectibles for potential hoarders to bank on later. However, I believe that most people rather use the hydroalcoholic gel now rather than later. You can always keep the bottle for later.
There are of course many more apparel companies that have contributed in the corona crisis. And the whole range is here, from Inditex to Ralph Lauren and of course luxury.
Fashion Industry Minors
April 29, 2020
About the minor
For those that would like or would have liked to study fashion-related subjects, the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC) offers the possibility to take a minor in Fashion Industry. The minor aims at giving you insights into the business, historical and cultural economic and media dimension of the fashion industry. The course consists of three different modules: business history of fashion, economics of fashion and fashion media. In the business of fashion module, the students are taken into a journey to discover the history of LVMH and the origin of fashion forecasting. In the economics of fashion module, students are confronted with the most recent theories linked to the characteristics, the demand, the supply and intermediaries for fashion products as well the sustainability issues in the fashion industry. Lastly, in the fashion media course students developed an understanding of the phenomenon of fashion media and their influence. With this the glamourous catwalks, shiny magazines and fashion documentaries cannot be missed. The fashion industry minor is taught by professors Ben Wubs, Mariangela Lavanga and Ana Uribe Sandoval.
Opinions from our active members
Giulia Martinetti (participated in 2017): What I loved the most was the course on Economics of Fashion, as it touched many different aspects of the fashion industry ranging from economics concepts such as supply and demand to sustainable related subjects. In addition, the class gathers together many students from different faculties and studies which makes the interaction between people very interesting as a wide variety of views and opinions are shared!
Loes Julicher (participated in 2018): “Personally, what I liked the most about this minor was it’s division between developing a theoretical understanding of the fashion industry and its practical application. For example, the course material used during these modules ranged from text-books and research articles to documentaries and podcasts. Also, I really enjoyed our field trips to Denim City, a center for craftsmanship and innovation in the Denim Industry, Kunsthal Museum to visit the Victor&Rolf: Fashion Artists 25 years exhibition and KINO to watch the documentary McQueen.”
Lorainne Clément (participated in 2019): What I liked the most about the minor is that it gives you the chance to get an overview of the fashion industry from behind the scenes. With the several guest lectures and field trips, you have the opportunity to discuss with many passionate people that give you a very realistic view of the industry in general. You touch upon various subjects ranging from creativity, economics, sustainability, history, and ethics and get the chance to practice what you learned with concrete and fun assignments. We, for example, were asked to shoot our own fashion editorial which was extremely fun and instructive at the same time.
And there is more...
Do you know ESHCC (EUR) is currently developing an International Fashion Industry Master in collaboration with Paris Dauphine University, Gdansk University of Technology and fashion industry professionals? As part of the international project RE-FRAME FASHION, these three universities try to investigate the current needs of the fashion industry and to develop three high-quality courses in fashion. Also, new approaches to innovative education are tested such as case-based learning. These three courses and innovative methods of education will be the stepping stones towards developing an International Master in Fashion Industry (IMFI). The results of this project will be presented at a public international event. NFS will be supporting ESHCC to organize this informative and inspiring event, which will take place in October. Both academics and fashion industry professionals will be invited to this event, and will share their thoughts about current trends in the fashion scene. More information will follow soon!
What is it like to intern at PVH?
March 31, 2020
Here are the top 3 best things about my 5 months internship at PVH - the mother company of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, among other brands:
1) We were around 40 interns, and I could talk to any of them about what they do in their teams. This way I learned about many parts of a fashion corporation: from very creative aspects like design and shootings for E-commerce, to content creation for global marketing campaigns and supply chain.
2 I was responsible for the Intern Program and recruited many of the interns that are now working at PVH, which was a fantastic part of my internship.
3) PVH has amazing events.
They have an annual meeting with all PVH associates (more than 2000 people) – a very fancy and professional meeting, very American!
Tommy Hilfiger organized a shooting for employees, after the launch of Tommy x Zendaya collection (that’s how I got this fashionable pic, don’t think I’m anywhere close to a model). The shooting was part of the #PowerDressing social media campaign, showing what empowerment, individuality, and style mean for women in the HQ.
We had a Christmas party that I can’t describe (they had Jessie J performing, someone almost kissed her, we left around 4AM and went to work the morning after… can’t share more).
We organized an event exclusively for interns and the Executive Creative Director (the guy who hangs out with Thomas Hilfiger and decides the Tommy collections) spent 2 hours with us, explaining how they design the pieces, the plan to become fully digital by 2022, how they choose the colors, materials, etc.
PVH has a “green week” in which they do many events about sustainable fashion: from women in tech to make fashion more digital, to only serving vegan meals and not having milk in the coffee machines.
And the list can continue.
Suzan Bijl: A Rotterdam fashion story
À La Mode
February 22, 2020
As students at the Erasmus University, the bright bags with a stripe of another color must have caught your attention.
The bags of Suzan Bijl are a staple for everyone in Rotterdam. The bag similar to the shape of a plastic bag you can find at the market, but elevated, is the most well-known design of the brand. Suzan Bijl, a fashion brand that stays close to it’s roots in Rotterdam, is a brand worth mentioning. But what makes this Rotterdam-based brand so special and popular?
Let’s start with the origins of the brand.
Next to The Erasmus University, Rotterdam is known for it’s art school, named after Willem de Koning (a famous artist from Rotterdam). Suzan Bijl, a student at the Willem de Koning academy, is all about simplicity. Clean designs are , according to the designer, key for a clear mind.
The first bag Suzan designed was supposed to be a replacement for all shopping brands, and it’s shape is indeed inspired by the plastic bag. With the environment in mind, Suzan used Ripstop Nylon for the production of the bags. Ripstop Nylon is a fabric also used for making kytes, it is known for being extremely strong and durable. Slowly the brand began to grow, selling bags in the UK and Japan.
The designs were a big hit in Japan since it matches the clean but colorful esthetic of the Japanese youth.
After a few years (2012), Suzan Bijl started designing other bags. The small handbag is one of the favorites in Rotterdam. The simple design brightens up any outfit and adds a fashionable element. Most people are seen wearing the small bag over their puffer jackets or big coats.
Currently, Suzan Bijl is working together with The International Film Festival Rotterdam. Together they turned the signature shopping bag into a bag with the IFFR logo. Next to that, the signature bag is also found in the colors green and grey, these colors are supposed to represent Rotterdam.On their blog the brand writes about Dutch youth. These people are supposed to embody what the brand stands for.
Suzan Bijl’s store can be found on the Mauritsweg in Rotterdam.
T0K10 Store Rotterdam
February 8, 2020
The Eastern and Asian fashion scene is rather unique.
Very different compared to the western scene, but just as exciting and eye catching – if not more.
Unfortunately, it is not often to come across shops offering Eastern and Asian brands, other than the very trendy Comme des GARÇONS Play or some Gosha Rubchinskiy. In particular Japanese brands, with their unique design and colours, are not so easy to encounter in the European market, which makes them very desirable and sought after.
T0K10 Store, in nonetheless than Rotterdam, presents to the customer the perfect combination.
Their rich selection features pieces ranging from all Comme des Garçons sections together with some pieces from the Russian designer Gosha, to some of the most popular Japanese brands as Jun Takahashi’s UNDERCOVER, Yoon Ahn’s AMBUSH, some Sacai, Visvim as well as some Yohji Yamamoto pieces can be found.
This little and cosy shop with a Tokyo vibe and attitude, offers both high-end and avant-garde fashion as well as progressive streetwear. The products offered in this store are very diverse, you can find a very interesting apparel and footwear selection as well as accessories of all sorts like jewelry, perfumes, designer books and fashion magazines. They state that the whole concept of the store is with a focus on aesthetic and overall-design approach, instead of prices, rendering it a unique environment, and a place with something for everyone.
Definitely worth a visit.
Exhibition: The Hoodie
À la Mode
February 1, 2020
We already tipped you two fascinating fashion exhibitions, but this winter there are so many more fashion exhibitions worth seeing. In December you can go visit Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam to see the exhibition The Hoodie. This exhibition is evidently focused on one specific clothing item, the hooded sweater. It’s a fashion item that pretty much everyone has, whether it’s for playing sports, Netflix and chill or work. You might think it is just a piece of clothing you can wear, but this fashion item plays a controversial role in culture, fashion and politics.
The exhibition tells the story about the hoodie in relation to subcultures, youth, social inequality, racism, and privacy among other topics. Did you know that the hoodie was invented by Champion in the thirties of the 20th century? Back then it was designed for the working class to protect workers from the cold and rain. Nowadays it has become a fashionable piece of clothing that can make a political, social or cultural statement and is an iconic streetwear item. In some places the hoodie is a fashion trend and a must-have. Elsewhere it is a symbol of inequality, crime or rebellious behaviour. The hoodie is very popular in the hip-hop culture, but also is illustrative for the disappearing clothing rules in the workplace, where formal wear isn’t the norm anymore.
The Hoodie is an exhibition where various pieces of arts, clothing, digital recordings, social media posts and other things come together. The exhibition is about various themes, like music and gender fluidity debates. The exhibition shows the evolution of the hoodie from back in the thirties until now. You can view various pieces from Vetements, Rick Owens, Vexed Generation and others.
Excited to see the exhibition? You can visit The Hoodie exhibition from the 1st of December till the 12th of April 2020. Entrance is 7 euros for students, but you’re free to visit on Thursday evening from 5 PM to 9 PM!
SUPREME NEW YORK
January 25, 2020
Long before the round-the-block lines, the security guards, the ticketing systems, the release date and even the various stores around the globe, Supreme was just a little skate shop on a semi-abandoned block in downtown Manhattan.
James Jebbia opened Supreme’s first store in 1994 on the quiet and neglected, Lafayette Street. A perfect skate spot. Supreme slowly became the epicentre of the New York skate culture, and a regular hangout place for neighbourhood kids, skaters and local artists.
Since then Supreme slowly expanded by progressively opening 12 stores around the world: one each in Los Angeles, London, Paris; two in New York, six in Japan; and most recently one in San Francisco (and a store in Milan is rumoured to open soon too).
Back in ’94 Supreme’s stores and products stood out. The store was designed allowing skaters to freely skate in and out the store. With everything displayed along the walls, a wide central space was left free to skate. Their main products back then were different from the colourful designs and imponent graphics the market was offering. The simple white logo in a red box placed on the chest of a t-shirt or sweatshirt, made a stylish contrast. Supreme’s own pieces, in particular the Box Logo, gained remarkable appreciation and popularity along the years, building a never-seen-before hype around Supreme and everything the brand was involved in.
However, at first, James Jebbia, out of fear of not being able to generate profit, started producing in small quantities to sell out faster. This practice has been carried on since then, and together with the hype around the skate brand, it resulted in the brands evolution into one of the pillars of this past decade’s streetwear scene. It has shaped the scene forever with some timeless pieces and collaborations with artists, and brands of all sorts, varying from Kaws and Takashi Murakami to Nike, COMME des GARÇONS and on the tip of the iceberg, Louis Vuitton in Fall/Winter 2017.
Since its foundation, Supreme has grown to embody an underground culture and play an integral role in its constant regeneration and expansion.