May 14, 2017

III BIAAF Forum: Fashion Entrepreneurial Essentials

More than 250 designers from the world of fashion meet in Bilbao at the ‘Fashion Entrepreneurial Essentials’ forum

is no correlation between product and sales; more products does not mean more
sales … but if you have a good brand, digital marketing is effective. Social
networks do not work magic”. This is one of the conclusions reached by Jaime Garrastazu, co-founder of the footwear
brand Pompeii, who was one of the four speakers who analysed the keys to the
future of the fashion sector at the “Imprescindibles para Emprender” (‘Fashion
Entrepreneurial Essentials’) forum, held this morning in Bilbao.

The event,
which also featured presentations by Isabel Cantista, James Clark and Mark Hogarth,
brought together more than 250 designers from the world of fashion and took a
look at new business models, innovation, sustainability and the application of
new technology to the sector.

Mark Hogarth,
creative director of the UK’s largest tweed manufacturer, Harris Tweed
Hebrides, said that “a return to customs of the past, to more traditional production
and techniques, serves Harris Tweed Hebrides not only as a sign of its commitment
to sustainable production, but also as the badge of identity that defines it and
sets it apart from its competitors”. It is a trademark, an industry and a production
process which is protected by law, and the fabric must meet very specific
requirements and must be completely handmade in order to be considered ‘Harris
Tweed’. Hogarth said that “when an area has a characteristic local product, it
is very important to have government protection”. Hogarth worked from 2001 to
2005 as a parliamentary researcher for MP Brian Wilson, who was with him today
in Bilbao as president of the brand and ambassador of an industry that he has
managed to revitalize.

Harris Tweed Hebrides, the oldest registered trademark in the UK, has a staff
of 90 people and a network of almost 200 self-employed weavers who work in
their own craft workshops. This remote part of Scotland, the Hebrides, exports two-thirds
of its production to 60 countries around the world.

Isabel Cantista,
PhD in Management and Business Studies from the University of Sheffield and a
law graduate of the University of Coimbra, has worked for more than a decade in
the textile industry in the SONAE group, as Director of Human Resources and
Director of Marketing, which has allowed her to gain experience in two very
different sectors.

main interest in research and consultancy lies in innovation, as she explained
this morning at the Forum, especially in the fashion and luxury industry, with
special attention to models of sustainable development. For Cantista, “the key
global challenges for any entrepreneur include innovation and sustainable
business development models which must analyse the target audience very

James Clark, a
senior lecturer at the London College of Fashion, looked at the opportunities
the digital environment offers in fashion marketing, especially how the use of
big data makes it easier for a product manager to decide which product to
choose, how much to buy and when to put it on sale to maximize profit. “By
analysing these gigantic data banks, you can predict trends, detect buying
patterns, and anticipate consumer needs by giving them what they want before
they even know it”, says Clark.

envisages a fashion industry where price will not necessarily depend on the
product manager’s ability to set margins and where Business to Consumer (B2C)
relationships could become extremely personal.

wanted to emphasize that “today you can take business decisions anywhere in the
world; we are interconnected”. He also talked about giants like Amazon, for
example, which relies on algorithms to customize its relationship with each