One of the most unexpected and influential sites in fashion today is Business of Fashion. Imran Amed, its founder and editor, answers our questions before joining the Hyères 2013 Fashion jury.
Photo by Scott Trindle.
AntoineAsseraf: Along with Industrie Magazine and the rise of the fashion blogger as a class, your blog has drawn attention to a lot of work, which was heretofore considered a bit peripheral to a designer’s raw talent. What do you make of a place like Hyères that still somehow naively stresses the belief that talent will find its own way? If you were to create a Business of Fashion competition/festival, how different would it be?
Imran: At BoF, we firmly believe in the power that lies at the intersection of creativity and business. Both are essential to a successful fashion enterprise, and one can’t work without the other. It’s a true symbiotic relationship. If we were to do a BoF festival therefore, it would be a combination of creative fashion presentation and business plan pitches, and the judges would come from both sides of the industry.
FilepMotwary: It seems to me that many of the young designers who dream of a future in fashion are unaware about “the business” of fashion in general. Should they worry of how things have evolved, and turned the industry into this huge marathon of task, values that need to be constantly re-valued, trends that suffers from the lack of longevity etc…?
Imran: I tell my students that once they start their own business, they will spend 90% of their time managing the business, and only 10% of the time designing. This balance is not something that has necessarily changed in recent years, but it’s true that there is more and more for a young designer to do in the global, digital fashion world in which we live today.
Sean Santiago: The internet and its popular content-sharing platforms, i.e. Tumblr and Pinterest, are destabilizing traditional revenue streams faster than new ones are being created. How will original creative output find funding in the future and do you see crowdsourcing methods such as, for instance, a Kickstarter campaign, possibly becoming necessary to the creation of original artistic output? Or will a big brand always foot the bill when it comes to fashion-related content?
Imran: Brands and designers could certainly fund portions of their businesses — say specific collections or products — via crowdsourcing platforms. But ultimately, I suspect that they will need to turn to traditional forms of fundraising (selling equity or taking loans) in order to fund the business over the long term. A young fashion business is highly cash flow intensive, and therefore will likely require stable and planned funding in order to fuel growth and expansion.
Malibongwe Tyilo: BOF is recognized as one of the boldest voices in fashion writing, often publishing pieces that might not be appreciated by some PR people. Considering how important PR has become to design companies, how does that affect how the design businesses deal with you?
Imran: We are bold, but I believe we are also fair and balanced. Part of the role we see for ourselves at BoF is to surface and shed light on important industry issues that merit wider discussion and debate.
If we can do so in a way that is balanced and fact-based, then most PR professionals seem to respect us for that.
Certainly, there are some who would prefer to control all the communication about their clients, but this is misguided and unrealistic.