Roberto Cavalli & Vivienne Westwood Executives Engage in Great Discussion: “iFash™ the next thing!”

Global high-end fashion labels see opportunity in the Islamic Fashion space   Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 14 October 2015: Global, high-end mainstream fashion executives, from brands such as Vivienne Westwood, Roberto Cavalli and others have a growing interest in the Islamic fashion space. This was a key message emerging from the intriguing panel discussion presented by Islamic Fashion and Design Council (IFDC) in Dubai this week.   The panel discussion featured Brigitte Stepputtis, the Global Head of Couture for Vivienne Westwood, Elrico Bellingan, writer, stylist and the Artistic Head Consultant of Roberto Cavalli, Naved Husain, Head of the Yellow stores chain, leading manufacturer of top global brands, Rosemin Manji, Fashion Director of RR&Co, a bespoke luxury management company and Paolo Costanzo, Managing Director of Infinita Group, the leading Italian brands retailer.   IFDC Chairwoman, Alia Khan moderated the panel discussion and identified the key factors influencing modest fashion issues such as responsibility and ethics in business today.   Who’s Influencing Who? Alia Khan Chairwoman image 2“Modest fashion, which is quite the topic these days, is deeply influenced by a sense of individuality, so we see that being expressed best through social media. There is definitely a difference between how the modest wear consumer is influenced and how the mainstream consumer is influenced. The panel discussion, Who’s Influencing Who? looked at the mainstream and Islamic fashion sectors and drilled down to the leading drivers,” said Khan.   A number of influencers were noted, and although opinions varied, panelists cited history, business, culture, celebrity and individuality as some of the key influencers of fashion today. “From the designers to the catwalk to all the shops, I believe influence comes from wherever and whatever the designer feels strongly about. It could be another designer, a celebrity, a song, or a country,” commented Brigitte Stepputtis of the Vivienne Westwood label.       “Designs come from arts and culture, and you can get inspiration from going to second hand shop and looking at various references from the past. I think vintage is always going to be important”, added Rosemin Manji.   Paolo Costanza of Infinita Group, who heads the online super-brand shopping experience Fashionis.com, stressed the new diversity. “Real people are now influencers themselves. Everyone is their own leader from colours, to fabrics, to trends, everyone seems to have their own personal style”.   The development of modest and Islamic fashion was also a popular talking point, with the panel agreeing that iFash™ influence has spread beyond its Muslim heartland. Brigitte of Vivienne Westwood acknowledged this – “You don’t have to be a Muslim to appreciate this type of fashion”.   Elrico of Roberto Cavalli added: “I know that a lot of women out there who are very much inspired by Middle East fashion these days. I love seeing what the new generation is doing with Islamic wear. It’s definitely an area I am deeply interested in.”   No Ethics, No Survival! The sustainability of businesses as well as ethics and responsibility also came through strongly in the discussion, with Naved Husain of the Yellow stores strongly stating that “if you are not ethical, you will not survive!” Making a number of interesting points on the evolution of fashion in collaboration with the need for business to constantly grow, he explained the need for the constant change in fashion as a driver for business and growth. “When I look at fashion I describe it as a conspiracy,” he said. “It starts with art, architecture and social media and catwalks but is basically a conspiracy to make your closet obsolete. If the closet doesn’t become obsolete then people won’t spend money”.   Both representatives from the Vivienne Westwood and Roberto Cavalli labels indicated that a stronger IFDC full house for discussionfocus on developing the brands to address the needs of iFash™ consumers would be something they would take back to their respective houses, with Brigitte commenting that she was already picturing the ways in which the Vivienne Westwood label could enter this exciting space!   “I think it goes without saying that this panel discussion not only incited excellent conversation and opinion on the influencers of fashion today, but also brought to light issues such as sustainability, ethics and new opportunity in the iFash™ market,” said Khan, following the panel discussion. “We can’t wait to see how these conversations develop into action, and with the launch of our new retail category, Pret-A-Cover™, opening in 16 stores in just a few weeks and dozens more to come, we are very excited to be at the forefront of this landmark development.”     The IFDC panel discussion took place at the October 2015 International Textile Fair in Dubai, at the World Trade Centre on 12 October 2015. video sponsor image

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