Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Drapers Fashion Summit

I spent yesterday at the Drapers Fashion Summit 2009, devoted to 'The Business of Fashion', a gathering of retailers and representatives from many other areas of fashion. We were told by Joseph Wan,
CEO of Harvey Nichols, that handbags at £15,000 a pop sole with no difficulty; according to Marigay McKee, Fashion and Beauty Director of Harrods, the luxury market was also booming in her store, regardless of price. Designers like Betty Jackson and Lulu Guinness were a little less euphoric, but the most interesting contributions of
the day for me were at two diametrically opposed ends of retailing: Anthony Thompson, managing director of George at Asda and Stephanie Phair, director of theOutnet.com, the newest venture of Net-a-Porter.

Both were reassuringly buoyant about their sides of the market, but the person I found myself in complete agreement with was Touker Suleyman, owner of Ghost and Hawes & Curtis, who said that in his opinion the bad times are still to come in fashion retailing. If he is right, I must say that I am afraid the knock-on effect will seriously endanger some of London's designers – they are already hanging on by their fingernails in the hope that next year might be better.

Today the Big Gun speakers include Diane von Furstenberg, Harold Tillman (CEO British Fashion Council) and Stuart Rose. To add some variety from all the retail emphasis, I will be doing my bit as part of a panel to discuss The Power of the Style Press.

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