VAMFF Fashion Industry Forum Wrap

“The Sell Out – Stay True to your Creative Vision; Here’s Why.”

Maintaining a sense of identity in a highly competitive and fickle industry was hot topic of the day at the VAMFF Fashion Industry Forum 2, which Fashion Society Director, Leila Andrews and I were lucky enough to attend on Wednesday 18th March, thanks to our friends at AMPR.

Upon arrival we were greeted with complimentary drinks and goodie bags, before taking our seats in the Crown Conference Hall, ready to soak up some inspiration from a few fashion industry heavyweights. The conference was hosted by Glynis Traill-Nash – Fashion Editor of The Australian.

Our first speaker was Jemma Dyas, Co-Founder of Etre Cecile. She emphasised the importance of encouraging customer buy-in by maintaining your own point of view, rather than following the trends, and suggested that you must find a way to obtain satisfaction from ALL elements of your business, not just the creative side. She concluded that owning and running your own business is certainly a lot of hard work, but if you’re willing to put in the effort and stay true to your “brand DNA” then you are likely to reap the rewards in the long run.

Next in line was Pip Edwards, Design Director for General Pants. Pip spoke about the ever-changing fashion landscape, and discussed how it has been altered by the influence of social media. In her eyes marketing is key, and in order to be successful and competitive you must “create a lifestyle that people want to be a part of.” She also stressed the importance of maintaining individuality, knowing your customer and being not only dynamic in your approach, but also flexible to meet changing customer needs. Pip also advocated the need for operations and creativity to work together in order to produce a successful business model.

Matt Jensen, CEO of MJ Bale, was our third speaker, and it was great to see someone at such a high level displaying so much passion for their brand identity. He spoke about authenticity, and how consumers can tell immediately if you are not being genuine in what you do. He told us, “now is the time for the specialist, not the generalist” and backed up what Jenna and Pip had said previously about operations and creativity working together, and encouraged everyone to analyse and reflect on their mistakes in order to become the best at what you do.

Last, but certainly not least, was the ever-fabulous high fashion stylist, Catherine Baba. She took her place on the stage; long, toned legs bared in her high-split dress, and told us all to “be renegades” and that “inspiration is everywhere!” She truly held the audience captive with her romanticised tales of Paris, working with Chanel and styling a series of foreign independent films. Such glamour! According to Catherine, “there are no mistakes, we learn from everything”, and thus she stressed the importance of living in the moment, and seeking out inspiration through travel and cinema, sub-culture and expressionism.

It was an exceptionally uplifting afternoon, and Leila and I both left feeling inspired and ready to take on the world! Stay tuned, Fashion Society friends and followers…

Peta. x