Milan recently hosted the sixth edition of the CEO Roundtable, a gathering organized by Fashion and Ebusiness trade magazines published by DFV, Sportswear International's publisher and parent.
The full-day event's main theme was "Commerce Innovation" and explored different aspects of the present fashion market's evolution in terms of sustainability, digital business and multichannel expansion. It involved key players of the fashion, finance, e-commerce and digital worlds, while also presenting start-ups and up-and-coming talents.
Here are some of most interesting quotes from the day:
“In the Italian luxury market, 20% of the companies are winning while 80% are losing–not dramatically–tangibly. We want to understand how this 20% has grown successful. In Italy there is not only Gucci, but many other companies, including start-ups that in the last two years have reached €10 million in revenues. Within this scenario each of these winning companies–be them fashion, food, design, high-end tourism and beauty ones–act in their own way and altogether count for 15-20% of Italy's GDP.” —Marc Sondermann, CEO and director, Fashion and Ebusiness
“It is often a widespread opinion that sustainability can be in antithesis with profitability. Though it's not true and financial results confirm it.” —Marc Sondermann
“Authenticity and transparency have always been a relevant aspect for us. For us sustainability starts from a garment's durability. 7FAM, as premium denim brand, believes that a garment has to remain long in your wardrobe. And we found out that some of our consumers still keep our jeans they bought 10 to 15 years ago.” —Francesca Toninato, CEO, 7 For All Mankind
“We try to buy materials and produce our collections destined to EMEA, as much as possible, within the European and Mediterranean basin in order to keep a low carbon footprint.” —Francesca Toninato
“We aim to lower our carbon footprint near to zero. It is important we start giving ourselves objectives in order to lower our use of water and chemicals. And as our approach is 360 degress, we also decided to ban plastic.” —Francesca Toninato
“It's fundamental we follow sustainable practices and communicate that in order to attract young consumers though also young creatives happy to work for us.” —Francesca Toninato
“I chose to offer a collection that is 100% animal-free—avoiding to use down, fur, wool and silk—since I founded my brand in 2011.” —Nicolas Bargi, founder, Save The Duck
“Within our selection we offer jackets that are Bluesign-certified, meaning we use less water and energy, and produce less CO2 for manufacturing them. Though they are made with virgin PET. As long as our economic system is oil-based and PET is a remainder from oil production, plastic can be used, though in an intelligent way. For this we are fine using durable plastic, not use-and-throw-away one. Moreover, as recycled PET lasts less than virgin PET we prefer to use the virgin one.” —Nicolas Bargi
“When entering the sustainability realm there are no absolute truths, but one always has to compare pros and cons. In fact one can produce a pair of jeans or a T-shirt either with organic or normal cotton, but organic cotton requires ten times more water to be grown than normal cotton–though the first one is biodegradable, while the other is not. So there is no absolute truth. A company's sustainable progress has to be a constant bettering on all of these aspects in a transparent way.” —Nicolas Bargi
“Responsibility is in our DNA. We work with different brands of fashion–including luxury and sportswear–but not only of the fashion market. This helped us following a common global vision for all countries.” —Elena Faleschini, global field manager, Isko
“Responsible innovation is key. In fashion, in order to be responsible, we don't necessarily need to consume less but rather need to develop always more innovative materials–both in terms of product and process. We at Isko count on a productive capacity of 300 million meter denim per year, all manufactured under the same roof, which permits us an easier control on process.” —Elena Faleschini
“Very important is educating not only consumers, but also brands. We invest much in this by informing brands through seminars in our clients' headquarters, in our company and through fashion schools.” —Elena Faleschini
“We have to keep an eye on new giants in retail. If before Zara earned big amounts thanks to its own sourcing model, today dictating laws are big online players like Amazon and Alibaba who can take advantage from huge data quantities in real time.” —Luca Solca, global luxury goods senior analyst, Bernstein
“Even if I don't run a e-commerce directly, various platforms sell my brand like, for instance, multibrand stores and platforms like Fartfetch. Through calculations that counts for 30% of our revenues. On the other hand, there are significant differences of prices between the various platforms and brick-and-mortar stores which make them become competitors of the regular stores also selling my brand. This is one of the critical aspects of e-commerce which makes me wait before starting that directly.” —Claudio Marenzi, president, Herno/Pitti Immagine/Confindustria Moda.