The ‘incredible art in retailing’ set by Dubai and a focus on promoting new talent through initiatives such as Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience (VFDE), organised by Emaar Properties and Vogue Italia, will help build a new narrative for the fashion industry, experts told a packed audience at the inaugural Fashion Talks held in Armani Hotel Dubai.
The Fashion Talks, which brought together industry stakeholders, talented designers and the fashion-loving public as part of the second VFDE, was highlighted by candid discussions on the ongoing trends in the industry, the challenges in driving global success and a personal success story of how winning in fashion is all about ‘nurturing your dreams.’
Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, said that the new era in retailing set at The Dubai Mall was an inspiration to launch Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience, which provides a sustainable platform for supporting young designers.
Reiterating the need to support young talent in fashion, she also reminded the emerging that designers that “it is not necessary to give up one’s personal style to succeed commercially but it is extremely important to have a vision. Not all the successful brands are necessarily highly creative. But they know how to attract people through marketing.”
Mrs. Sozzani said that fashion schools will “give you the tools but not the gift,” and that it is for the young designers to take their creations to the next level by “doing what we love, taking risks and working hard.”
She said that “fashion is a media tool” that can be effectively used to address a number of societal issues, which she now supports in Africa. “We created a local fashion industry in five years while also focusing on empowering women. If we get young designers, base your production locally and build a distribution network, you can create a vibrant industry, much like Italy did post the World War.”
Mrs. Sozzani said that the young designers are today more aware of the ethical considerations in fashion, and that there is a rich base of new talent. “But we need time to grow them.” She reminded the aspiring young designers that “fashion has now rules,” and “if you are creative, lucky and can find a good business partner,” any time is good to start launch one’s own brand.
Peter Dundas, Creative Director of Emilio Pucci, provided insights into his creative process, describing his own style as being impulsive. He said that designers must not be slave to the brand history but find their own identity and personalise them.
Talking on his journey that started at law school before venturing into furniture design and then defining his personal brand, Philipp Plein described himself as a “big dreamer” who was motivated to do something out of nothing and went on to create a global brand in less than four years since its launch at Milan.
Operating as a single-man operation from the basement of his parents’ house, he said that fashion is “about emotions and dreams.” He prefers to design wearable fashion than for the catwalk. He advised the emerging designers that it is important to differentiate their product. “When you create something new, you are not a brand; retailers and consumers buy your product first. So you must differentiate it by setting a DNA for the brand and creating iconic pieces.”