Denim Day by Sportswear International
Denim Day by Sportswear International
 

18 Jan. 2012

DENIM DAY BY SPORTSWEAR INTERNATIONAL

On January 17, Sportswear International’s editor-at-large Klaus Hang welcomed 150 guests at the Radisson Blu in Berlin for the publication's second Denim Day event. It was themed “The Multi-Channel Challenge - Gain Your Denim Leadership” and sponsored by companies such as Isko, Bossa, Orta and Lycra.

The event started with Financial Times chief economist Thomas Fricke’s words on “Quo vadis - The World Economy on the Touchstone”. Fricke stated that, due to the globalization of the last 25 years, Western companies face the threats of the emerging economic bubble. In this context, China and India have become increasingly important. China's shift from export nation to consumption driver has made it a serious competitor of Southern European production companies, while the nation itself has grown richer and developed a higher demand for luxury cars, fashion and lifestyle products. Fricke estimated that exports of textiles to China will make up 15% of all German textile exports, with around 20% going to France and nearly 10% to Italy. By 2010, these rates were well below five percent.

In his presentation “Round the World Tour – Hot New Denim and Fashion Stores Around the World” John Ryan, stores editor of Retail Week, compared the retail interiors and displays of basic denim brands such as Zara and Uniqlo to Seven for All Mankind and 14 oz in Berlin. He also looked at menswear stores such as Treasure & Bond and Austrian Read London to assess whether it was more advantageous to showcase single products rather than shelves of numerous jeans.

Denim Day by Sportswear International Gallery
Dr. Niklas Mahrdt, founder and managing director of Cologne-based Media Economics, posed the question, “Latest Updates in E-Fashion – How Efficient are Online, Social and Mobile Sales Channels for Jeans and Sportswear Brands Today?” He revealed that almost 40% of revenues in today's stores are generated by online and mobile devices. Most companies started their Facebook pages back in 2009 and half of them have reached 10.000 fans over the past three years. 25% have reached 100.000 fans. 94% of the fashion companies operate via Facebook fan pages, 62% use Twitter accounts and 58% offer brand channels on Youtube. Bestseller Vera Moda, for instance, presents barcodes at its stores so that the customer can shop via his or her smartphone. South Korea's Tesco is much more advanced, with the supermarket enabling a unique shopping experience in metro stations where icons of products are projected onto walls and ordered for home delivery via smartphone.

Porsche Design Group’s CEO Dr. Jürgen Geßler presented “Engineered Luxury – The Porsche Design Approach” to highlight the success story of the brand's expansion and store openings over the last few years.

Dirk Hilmes, managing director of Deco Leisure, gave a speech titled, “Inventing the Future, Inspiring the People – How Abercrombie & Fitch Stages Shopping Fascination.” The brand's retail philosophy is based on two main elements: entertaining the customer and making him or her feel like part of a community. A & F stores are designed with the aim of stirring curiosity via darkness and scent with no central light system apart from product illuminations. A&F's future objective is to open about 1,000 stores in Asia and Europe.

„DeN Store’s Denim Recycling - A Second Life for Branded Jeans” was the topic presented by DeN Store Italy’s CEO Roberto Ventura. This Italian multi-brand chain store offers many main jeans brands and additional in-store services such as hem-shortening and washing. The store provides discounts when customers return their old pairs of jeans, which are either donated to charities or serve as materials for creative collaborations with artists and design schools.

Club of Marrakesh CEO Bernd Kolb fascinated spectators with “The 2050 Perspective – We Have to Change All Our Habits NOW.” Kolb gave an overview of CO2 emissions and the waste of natural resources. He demanded that the fashion industry become more conscious about the damage of its environmental impact.

Charline Ducas, materials specialist at Textile Exchange, furthered the discussion on sustainability with “Indispensable Requirements for the Textile Industry: Waterless Production, Environmental Care and Fair Trade Can Be Just the Beginning.” Textile Exchange members such as C&A, Nike, Gap, H&M, Asos, Adidas, the North Face, Inditex and Lenzing represent the entire fashion value chain from fibre production all the way to retail. Ducas declared that integrity has to become the guiding principle of all steps in the fashion production value chain. Available solutions such as improved technologies and better skills can help support sustainable development, which should be the common goal of all designers, marketers, technologists and manufacturers.

„New Challenges for the Denim Supply Chain – Understanding Consumer Needs” was the title of the first panel discussion with Marco Lucietti (marketing director of Sanko Holding/Isko Division), Massimo Berloni (CEO and president of Dondup), and Federico Corneli (founder and CEO of Haikure CS Jeans Group). The group discussed the importance of building agreements with premium partners in order to stress the significance of the supply chain to the final consumer.

Michael Silver, of Canada's Silver Jeans Co., said: “We are not a designer brand, not a marketing company, not a social networker; just a good quality jeans manufacturer.” Throughout the years they have built a business based on revenues of about 35 billion US Dollars. Silver stated, “We are a family business since 1925 and we teach our employees how to make a jeans.”

Maurice Ohayon of Atelier Notify presented “Pret-a-Denim, Denim Academy, Co-Branding – The Modern Vision of Sartorial Spirit“. The company just opened their first Denim Atelier in Milan designed by Ron Arad and will soon open another in Paris designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. The aim of both ateliers is to give fashion students a platform where they can learn the art of denim-making. At the same time, the atelier will serve as a place for single denim item production.

Denim Day closed with a talk involving key personalities such as Tony Tonnaer (founder of KOI Kings of Indigo), Enrique Silla, (president of Jeanologia), Francois Girbaud (of Marithé+François Girbaud), David Rumsey (UK sales director of Bossa Denim), Ebru Ozaydin (marketing manager of Orta Anadolu), Nish Soneji (managing director of Pepe Jeans London), Adriano Goldschmied (partner and executive president of product development at Citizens of Humanity/Gold Sign) and Panos Sofianos (creative director of Tejidos Royo) and Elio Fiorucci (of Love Therapy).

Everybody agreed that getting involved in environmental preservation is a must, while still keeping in mind the consumers' desire to buy beautiful products at affordable prices with great fits and finishings. Naturally, it will take time to convince consumers as well as entrepreneurs of sustainability's significance; they will have make a commitment even before the politicians do.
Maria Cristina Pavarini / Lisa Dartmann

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