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A unique, short-format podcast that features insights and perspectives on breaking news and current issues, all focused on the multi-faceted business that is fashion. News Bytes is written by Joshua Williams, produced by Fashion Consort and distributed in partnership with FashionUnited, your trusted global network for fashion news, business intelligence and jobs.
 
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Joshua Williams: Hello Sass, who are we featuring this month? Sass Brown: We're talking about VOZ. Joshua Williams:Ah, VOZ. They're based in New York City, but do a lot of their work in Chile. Can you tell us a little bit about them? Sass Brown: Absolutely. They're an amazing brand. They were founded back in 2012 by Jasmine Aarons. And their missio…
 
Sustainability in the fashion industry is the topic du jour, and rightfully so. The adverse effects of fashion on our environment and on humans themselves cannot be overstated. Over the past ten years, this topic has shifted from the world of academia and NGOs to business and consumers. In fact, consumers now identify sustainability as one of the k…
 
The pandemic accelerated e-commerce sales in 2020. Pre-Covid, e-commerce sales accounted from between 10 to 20% for fashion retailers, depending on the sophistication and reach of their online platforms. At the height of Covid, these numbers doubled to 40% and beyond, and have now averaged out around 26% with the roll-out of vaccines and the abilit…
 
Joshua Williams: Welcome back Sass. Who are we featuring this month? Sass Brown: We're talking about Tonlé. They're a Cambodian brand that does a contemporary collection, Joshua Williams: This is such an interesting brand, because they really are involved in so many different things. But at the core, they are a womenswear brand led by founders who …
 
Fashion has always existed at the nexus of art and commerce. It is an endeavor that strives to balance emotional connection and profitability. And it requires a left and right brain approach to be successful. For years, capturing and analyzing data has supported fashion companies in their efforts to better understand, target and engage their custom…
 
In today’s world, leading a fashion company is a complex undertaking, involving a vast global supply chain, a highly competitive landscape and an ever evolving consumer with access to more options than ever. And the skills needed to operate such a company must also be balanced with vision, creativity, transparency and authenticity. It’s a tall orde…
 
As the fashion industry continues to corporatize and globalize, it requires executive leadership that understands the complexity of turning design into product; that understands the emotional and functional needs of the consumer and balances that with the financial objectives of the shareholder. It requires someone with creativity, vision, practica…
 
Joshua Williams: Hello, Sass! And welcome back. Who are we featuring this month? Sass Brown: We're talking about Kur Collection. Joshua Williams: Based in New York city. Can you tell us a little bit about them? Sass Brown: Sure. The founder is based in New York, but the production is done out of Sri Lanka. And they're a young contemporary women's w…
 
Sustainable fashion is now front and center in customer’s minds and purchase behaviors, as well as business logistics and planning. It’s been a precipitous philosophical shift over the past 20 years, as the impact of the industry on the environment and the people it employs has become more visible to the public. Talk has turned to practice, as both…
 
Since early 2020, customers have been forced to rethink how they engage and buy from brands. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, not only has shopping shifted to online, but customers needs and wants have changed. This shift has meant that fashion brands have also had to rethink how they engage and sell to consumers. Dealing with a global pandemic, put f…
 
If the events at the U.S. Capitol early this year are any indication of what’s to come, 2021 is surely going to be a year about deep reflection and change. Over the past year, it’s become clearer that shared ideals that create unity in society are delicate, that racial, ethnic and gender disparities are front and center in the US, China and Europe.…
 
Almost overnight, fashion design companies and fashion design students were forced to move to a mostly remote work environment and away from the studio and tools of their trade. For many designers, this meant shifting their practice into a more virtual space, using emergent technologies such as Clo3D. It’s an expensive process and takes expertise t…
 
2020 has been a year like no other. Fashion retailers were hit especially hard early on by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, they have been racing, fighting even, to adapt, evolve and innovate fast enough to save their businesses. Changes that were once part of a long-term strategic plan had to be implemented immediately, often remotely and with l…
 
Each month Sass Brown, an expert in ethical fashion, sustainability and craftsmanship, shares a fashion brand that approaches business differently and innovatively or operates outside of the main fashion systems and capitals. Sass is the former Dean of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the founding Dean at Dubai Institute of…
 
Generation Z is having a profound effect on how fashion brands engage with their customers. They prefer shopping brands that share common values. And they are demanding more transparency from brands regarding material sourcing, pricing, environmental impact and labor practices, in order to make purchase decisions. More and more, Gen Z customers als…
 
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit this spring, many fashion companies had to put their advertising campaigns on hold. It was no longer possible to gather creative teams—directors, photographers, models and crew--together in person, in studio or on site. And so, companies had to get creative quickly. Some brands chose to send new styles from their coll…
 
Over the past year, fashion design schools have been forced to rethink how they educate students and prepare them for jobs. It’s a monumental task, when so much about Covid-19 is still unknown, making planning for future academic years difficult at best. What’s more, with a shift to online learning and a focus on systemic racism within fashion curr…
 
Joshua Williams: Each month on News Bytes, we feature a fashion brand that approaches business differently and innovatively or operates outside of the main fashion systems and capitals. I'm with Sass Brown, an expert in ethical fashion, sustainability and craftsmanship. She is the former Dean of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology…
 
In this episode, “In Search of Fashion Leadership,” we consider the ways in which executive leadership must adapt to crises, and how this changes the way fashion companies hire. The Covid-19 pandemic has tested the mettle of fashion executives worldwide. They have had to adapt quickly, shifting retail operations primarily online, reimagining their …
 
When it comes to fashion retail during the Covid-19 pandemic, the conversation has centered mostly on the overall viability of a retailer and their strategies to overcome the decrease in brick and mortar shopping. And this makes sense, considering the onslaught of bankruptcies that were unleashed in the spring and the real concern these closings wo…
 
Understanding larger social and economic trends is an important part of the design process in fashion. These larger trends have a downstream effect on color, silhouette and texture from season to season. And so, fashion designers and merchandisers work with their teams, and with external agencies, often a full year out, to determine how these trend…
 
Hello, I’m Joshua Williams, host of Fashion Consort NewsBytes. As a professor and consultant, I am often asked to speak at events worldwide as well as appear on news broadcasts to share my expertise on current issues in the fashion industry and fashion higher education. I began this unique, short-format podcast in early 2020, as a way to extend my …
 
By its very nature, modern fashion is not essential. It’s built on a model of planned obsolescence, wherein customers are expected to buy and replace as often as possible. And yet, this hasn’t stopped the fashion industry from marketing goods as essential, whether it’s the proclamation: “must have warm coat for the winter” or “the only shoes that g…
 
In 2015, as part of Li Edelkoort’s Anti-Fashion Manifesto, she called out fashion schools to rethink how they were educating students to be part of fashion’s future. She provided many suggestions including a return to materiality and craft, as well as a shift away from the smoke and mirrors of marketing. It was a wake-up call for many schools that …
 
It’s no secret that the fashion system thrives on creating and selling new products—constantly. In fact, the fashion industry is very adept at built-in obsolescence, with an especially short lifecycle, wherein the very item that was heralded as the “must have” in September is no longer even desirable or cool in February. Because the fashion system …
 
Fashion week and all of its attendant traditions have been largely upended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While some designers have chosen to show in person, with limited attendance, much of the focus has been on digital variations of the fashion show. So far, these have included everything from artistic, pre-recorded videos, to livestreams on Twitc…
 
New York Fashion Week has ended, and the baton has been passed to Milan, London and Paris. With a shortened schedule, and a move largely to digital platforms, New York Fashion Week hardly resembles fashion weeks of the past. And like everything else in the industry, change already happening around fashion show presentations was precipitated by the …
 
LVMH announced this week that their plan to buy Tiffany & Co for $16.2 billion dollars is now off. Tiffany’s responded with a lawsuit. Stocks fell for both companies in the aftermath, with Tiffany’s bearing the brunt of an 11% decrease. While there are many different ways to break down this news, as it would’ve been the biggest takeover in fashion …
 
Over the past twenty years, consumer-based businesses have had to contend with a major push towards digitization, and to find the balance between in-person and online transactions and experiences, with customers driving the overall experience. Omni-channel, UX (user experience) and CX (customer experience) have emerged as guiding principles for bus…
 
Over 50% of American universities are not opening their physical campuses this fall due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the summer, college administrators and faculty have been working hard to move their classes online. It’s a monumental and expensive task to digitize content that has always been part of a live classroom setting, whether it be lectu…
 
Over the past 3-5 years, fashion retail has been going through what’s been coined “The Retail Apocalypse.” Long-held truths and traditions that had served retailers for over a hundred years no longer made sense, or needed to be tweaked, to integrate with online shopping, and overall digital technologies that have led to greater access to brands glo…
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has had an outsized effect on fashion retail. Almost overnight, retailers were forced to re-focus most of their business online. Up until that point, total online sales only accounted for approximately 10-20% of most retailers’ overall sales. This doesn’t mean that the remaining 80-90% of business was done in brick & mortar—it…
 
Luxury fashion retailers have long relied on their storied histories to buoy themselves through times of trouble. In a sense, they have become too big, or at least too important to fail. And, we as customers, given their “importance to our social identities” are willing to give these luxury brands much more room to fail and recover. It’s something …
 
[Joshua] Organizations are struggling to find ways to engage in authentic conversations with their employees and their customers. Often, they resort to long-winded emails, or written public statements, that are meant to “cover all angles” in one fell swoop. At best, these attempts go unread; at worst, they are too simplistic, or too full of legales…
 
Fashion brands are struggling to engage in meaningful and authentic conversations around the Covid-19 pandemic, the environment and the Black Lives Matter movement. Even with the best of intentions, written statements in the form of press releases and social media posts, lack authenticity. In many cases, their words and images are performative, voi…
 
We are at a tipping point in our nation. More than ever, it is clear that our systems are inherently racist, built by, built for and fully empowering white people to the disadvantage of people of color, most specifically black Americans. This systemic racism, often invisible, has ensured consistent lack of access to equal education, jobs, equal pay…
 
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced much of the world’s white-collar workforce to work from home. Early on, companies scrambled to find ways to support remote employees and to develop new workflows that incorporated everything from Zoom meeting protocol to digital office hours. For many employees and employers, this shift to “work from home” has been …
 
As businesses across the United States begin to reopen, questions remain about the best way for retailers to open their doors, with consumer desires and fears both in mind. Let’s consider five key questions related to fashion retail experience, post-pandemic. 1.) What will the reopening of retail look like? Slow and cautious. While retailers are an…
 
As the world becomes more connected, consumers have more options than ever. In fact, they are saturated with products and services. According to retail expert Robin Lewis, there is 46 square feet of dedicated retail space for every American. And with constant deliveries of new merchandise to stores, sometimes every day, this adds up to a lot of pro…
 
In a recent Financial Times article with psychotherapist Esther Perel, she recommended that workplace colleagues ask the following open-ended questions: What have you been thinking about lately? What's on your mind? Tell me about a time when you changed your mind. What's the best piece of advice you ever received? What would you say to your 18-year…
 
In a conversation hosted by founder and President Joshua Williams, Fashion Consort consultants share the ideas and perspectives about the Covid-19 pandemic. They provide insights on how companies, especially fashion brands, might find a way forward, when business resumes. Topics include technology, preparing new workforce, issues of public safety a…
 
During the Covid-19 crisis, finding the balance between the health and safety of citizens, versus protecting people’s livelihoods and the overall economy, is difficult at best. In most cases, leaders have understandably focused on slowing the spread of the virus, but the vast impact of these decisions on the economy are requiring government and bus…
 
Thank you for joining us on Fashion Consort News Bytes. Typically, we post short 1-2 minute episodes covering key news events during the week. Today, we’re doing something quite different--a long format episode that deep dives into the topic of women and leadership in the fashion industry. It’s one component of a much larger “diversity and inclusio…
 
While some sectors of the retail business have been able to continue due to their essential nature, fashion retailers have been especially hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Most major fashion brands ceased brick and mortar retail operations in mid-March right at the height of the spring selling season, focusing their efforts on e-commerce. However…
 
Gaslighting is a term that originated from the 1938 play Gas Light, and two subsequent film adaptations in 1940 and 1944. It depicts a husband that psychologically abuses his young wife, by denying and contradicting their shared experience and truth to gain power. Ultimately her beliefs are destabilized, delegitimized and denied. Gaslighting is now…
 
As much of the world settles into the reality of living and working during the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, business leaders must strike a balance between being optimistic and encouraging to employees and customers, while also managing a crisis in action and actively preparing for worst case scenarios. And, of course, they must do this all remo…
 
The coronavirus has had an enormous ripple effect beyond the core concerns around the virus itself. Conferences, events and festivals have largely been cancelled, including South by Southwest, Coachella and now the NBA. Academic institutions have closed their campuses to varying degrees leaving teachers and staff to rethink on the fly how to teach …
 
Fashion brands spend a lot of time, money and resources in protecting their brand, especially in the luxury sector. The goal is to build a clear and concise brand identity, which allows companies to sell their products at higher prices and with bigger profit margins. Essentially, customers are willing to pay more for luxury products—and the marketi…
 
Fashion retailers continue to experience major disruptions in their business. Not only is the retail marketplace over-saturated and highly competitive, consumer preferences are changing, largely driven by online access and innovative technologies. Key considerations for operating a successful retail business, in today’s market, are: Only 10-20% of …
 
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