Mathias Haas
Mathias Haas

03 Jul. 2012


An inspiring Future of Fashion summit with impressive speakers, interesting topics and exciting discussions has come to a successful end. On July, 3, the day before Bread & Butter’s and Berlin Fashion Week’s start, Sportswear International kicked-offits very first Future of Fashion event. Experts from the fashion industry, including numerous decision makers from production, brands and retail, gathered in Berlin’s Ellington Hotel to share their experiences and insights and to discuss new challengesand opportunities in the denim and fashion business.

Our topics of the day
Will online shopping be the death of brick-and-mortar establishments or will it revitalize them? What is a pair of jeans actually worth and how much of that is understood by the customer? How will retail and industry continue to find synergies and who will be the key players in these deals? Packed with speeches and panels dealing with wide ranging topics, the summit featured aninspiring schedule.

Our experts and guests
Global experts, including Torsten Widarzik, general manager Levi’s, Xavier Court, co-founder of Vente-Privee, Jason Denham, CEO and founder of Denham the Jeanmaker, Stefan Puriss, CEO Frontline, Scott Morrison, president & designer 3x1,and Michael Paradise, owner of The Stronghold, shared insights with a live audience and participants from different industries such as retailer Andreas Feldenkirchen, CEO Feldenkirchen, Christian Gerhardt, buyer at Breuninger department store, Lori Swale, district manager Urban Outfitters, Dietmar Senft, CEO Crämer & Co., Silvia Urbon, head of marketing Hugo Boss international markets, and Rene Sadina, salesrepresentative Nespresso.
see our best of Future of Fashion Gallery

Let’s go
The congress started with a speech by Trendwatcher Mathias Haas, who shared his expertise and perspective on relevant megatrends and their impact on the consumer’s behavior. One aspect he pointed out was, “The more transparent you as a brand are, the more trust you will earn.” For example, although Patagonia said to not buy their jackets in one of its ads, the company’s results went up by 25% in the past two years. “Reduce information and use large, symbolic images, act based on available data, be analytic, sharpen your digital profile and become a ‘profiler’ for your client. You shouldn’t think in target groups anymore, you should think in target individuals,” he said. Haas’ other tip for the clothing industry: “Create a story!“

For Bert Martin Ohnemüller, CEO of Neuromerchandising group, “Emotions and senses drive all of our decisions and are key of what information we keep in mind. Holistic, multisensory concepts and experiences should be key for a successful retail strategy.” He talked about how to transform the point of sale into a point of success by revealing appealing opportunities through several aspects of neuromerchandising. “The POS needs more positive emotions,” he said.

On how to create positive emotions, John Ryan showed some examples of the most forward and latest in-store innovations such as Levi’s (London), Ted Baker (Tokyo), and Superdry, Esprit and Acne. The store editor of Retail Week talked about how to be different when everything is the same and how to present entertaining elements, ruling successful retail. Furthermore, Ryan gave insights on how to strengthen consumers’ experience of the brand and how to delight their shopping experience. 

“We don’t care about trends,” Thorsten Widarzik, general manager Levi’s Germany,said. “Innovation is our recipe to create a successful business that is longer lasting than the market and that serves the consumer’s needs.” In his speech, he explained how to remain a global market leader and how to stay meaningful to the consumers, exemplified by several projects and platforms including 100 Yards festival, the waterless initiative and other communication and marketing tools. Demonstrating the brand’s strong bond with retail, Levi’s announced the re-opening of its former Buttenheim shop next week, located at Alte Schönhauser Strasse in Mitte. “Consumers expect to be surprised and excited by the brand, its products and communication. Send a message the customers can engage with and make them feel to purchase a product,” Widarzik suggested.

graphical documentation of the summit
graphical documentation of the summit
Other speakers included Ute Stauss, director of fashion & home at Walt Disney Germany, who reported on fashion collabs pushing the business and the future of partnerships and Prof. Marc Drüner who addressed the future of consumer shopping. In his keynote speech, Drüner, foresaw the end of the decision to purchase at the point of sale as boundaries between offline and online are blurred. “There is no segmentation in offline and online shops as both are the perfect match. Even if people buy offline, they inform themselves online before,” he said. Furthermore, the CEO of Trommsdorff + Drüner reported on how to use several Web analytics anddemonstrated how new data can be used for more business growth and to maximizea company’s business, sales and marketing. “Data is the oil of the 21th century,”Drüner said. “There are three big players in the market: social data, behavioral data and search data. Companies having the most data of people will have the best products in the future,” Drüner believes. “From the search, you can see what people might buy.”

JonKoon, Noe Shoes, Xavier Court, Vente Privee, Sam Ben Avraham, Atrium
JonKoon, Noe Shoes, Xavier Court, Vente Privee, Sam Ben Avraham, Atrium
French-based shopping club Vente-Privee takes the opposite track: “We don’t believe in Facebook. It is great for media but not for selling. Sure, we know most about our customers but we don’t use it,” co-founder Xavier Court said. “We are totally Google-free and never spent a dollar on it. We have 2.5 million unique visitors a day who don’t know what we have and what they want. People buy not because they need a new pair of jeans but because they like it. We never ask them to come;we simply recruit members over other members.”

In addition to the keynote speeches different panel discussions rocked the day. The “The Future of Fashion” was discussed by store owners Michael Paradise, Sam Ben Avraham of the US boutique Atrium, Native Shoe’s Damian van Zyll de Jong and Levi’s Torsten Widarzik. The essential findings were: Stretch is not dead, women should be allowed to dress as a man, teenagers are a tough target group, Instagramwill be the next Facebook and Michael Paradise can dress absolutely everyone who comes into his store.

Scott Morrison (left) and Panos Sofianos about Future of Green Fashion
Scott Morrison (left) and Panos Sofianos about Future of Green Fashion
Jason Denham, Giusi Bettoni, Scott Morrison, Magdalena Schaffrin and Panos Sofianos debated green fashion together. They said it’s difficult to get a complete offer at international fabric fairs and that the consumer is still not educated and motivated. Jason Denham stated, “There are three things about green fashion: 1.Choose a good and responsible partner with the right values for materials and producing, 2. Make a product long lasting and high quality, 3. Keep the product alive with an after-service.”
Karin Leiberg, Melanie Gropler

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