The Global Summit of Women Talk Fashion Business and Design

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The Fashion Industry can come off as frivolous to some. But they do not understand or see how much work is put into creating a design. Every detail has to be stitched perfectly, with a team working day and night carefully sewing. There is a dedicated time frame between each garment constructed and then put on a runway for the rest of the world to see. Backstage, designers and assistants are running around, picking out the venue, decorating it to pristine shape to display the seriousness of fashion to an entire audience.

There is more to the industry that people do not see.

A discussion played out last Saturday, the Global Summit of Women came together to talk about the business of fashion and design.

Lead in Tokyo, Natori founder Josie Natori, designer Hiroko Koshino, MCM chair and visionary officer Sung Joo Kim, and Eve Enterprises founder Xia Hua were a handful of the fashion heads that were present during the panel. The Summit President Irene Natividad coordinated the event, speaking out about the issue of fashion being undermined for people who do not see the political and business-savvy underbelly of the industry. Fashion is a serious, yet exciting endeavor. Irene wants people to notice that the industries can be both.

Xia Hua, one of the participants has seen the culture, especially in China change for the retail businesses. China used to want to save more, but with the rapid expansion of fashion, Hua has seen a number go up in sales because now, everyone wants to spend more.

There has been money going into marketing campaigns that have helped build brand awareness, there has been money to help men develop a sense of dress and style that experts have been teaching them, and there has been money going into collaborations to keep consumers interested.

But one of the issues that the Global Summit of Women has touched upon is that women are slowly being kicked out of the luxury industries. It has been noticeably men who have been running and owning companies. Corporate offices are male-dominated as well, hiding women in the shadows. In reality, sometimes a more creative side comes out of women than do men.

As for innovation, Natori shared something that she has learned from working in the Fashion Industry. She mentioned that she has never heard the word “markdown” until 25 years into her experience with retail. The mindset of the consumer has been changing, and the Internet has been taking over. Millennials are set on finding the best deals on mobile apps, with various stores carrying similar items that they want. It is a steady competition within fast-fashion companies.

As a company, Natori has had to relate to the millennials needs and wants. The attitude of this generation has to match up with specific trends that are taking over in mass and high-end brands. There is a lot to be done to keep customers loyal and excited about new merchandise that pops up about every two weeks. There are more than one ways to make a business thrive, but it can be tough when the thinking process of consumers is always changing.

Fashion is a tough spot to beat, there is always talk about who has the better outfit. Some fashion apparel does not have that unique touch to consumers always either, so it is up to retail companies to work hard to get to that spot.

It is not always fun and games when it comes to the Fashion Industry. There is a constant need for growth, but it is not what a consumer sees.

"I am a ship and I promise I will make it to the shores alive". Hello! My name is Serena Anthony, currently residing here in Chicago, IL, recently come from a five year stay in Malaysia. I am a Fashion Business major at Columbia College with a passion for incorporating writing and fashion together, which is awesome given that those are two of my favourite things. Especially after great sushi and a killer moshe cristo. Columbia is giving me the benefit of creatively getting a handle on my goals. Because I love art, more so when I get into a frenzy, this college is a mix of serious and enjoyable experiences. I hope to keep my future like that as well!

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