Last Thursday, Vogue hosted their first-ever conference, Forces of Fashion, which invited some of the industry’s most influential voices and talents to join in on a one-day conversation.
The event featured multiple panel discussions from the industry’s top creatives such as Rihanna, John Galliano, Victoria Beckham, and Dries Van Noten.
There’s no better way to start Vogue’s inauguration of the Forces of Fashion conference with fashion’s largest powerhouse, Ms. Anna Wintour, dropping the line “We are all in this together.”
Here are our top takeaways from this thought-provoking day!
1. Stella McCartney & Tonne Goodman on The Future of Ethical Fashion
Known for her commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion, Stella McCartney opened up about how sustainable fashion can be sexy and how technology can help the process of building a greener future.
“I think fashion has to remain fun and luxurious and desirable, and you can live a dream through what we are creating, but you can have a sense of security that you’re consuming in a more conscious way…I refuse to give into fear, I am going to embrace all change.”
2. Dries Van Noten & Hamish Bowles on The Power of Independence
Notable Belgian designer, Dries Van Noten shares his journey as an independent designer and how it enables him to stay true to his values.
“I think everybody can conclude, when they look at my clothes and understand my personality, who I am and what I’m standing for.”
3. Kevin Systrom, Instagram & Marc Jacobs & Sally Singer on Fashion in the Age of Instagram
When the creators of Instagram founded the photo-sharing app, they solely wanted to have the ability to communicate and share their lives with friends and family through an image. Today, as one of the most popular social media channels, Kevin hopes that Instagram will leave a legacy behind.
“We have to be optimistic because we are one of the only platforms that can influence the world in a noninvasive way. If you look out in the world, where are you going to get your optimism from? Certainly not the news. So, when we cover events and we do programs, we ask ourselves: How can we be a force for good in the world?” – Kevin Systrom
As the current darling in the fashion world, Instagram has the ability to boost engagement and exposure for any brand, especially during runway season. Marc Jacobs joins Kevin Systrom to discuss how the platform has changed the way he promotes his brand.
“This phone and this posting and this Instagram or this social media is part of what our experience is now. That’s what’s different about how we interact: Now it’s normal to have a phone with you at all times. I think it’s what our experience is with one another.” – Marc Jacobs
4. Michael Kors & Virginia Smith on Being on First-Name Terms With the World
The iconic American designer opens up about his experiences from advising his mother on her wedding dress to launching his first collection at Bergdorf Goodman, and how he connects with his clients.
“They have different experiences and different points of view, so to me the idea that models in a fashion show should be mannequins feels so impersonal. I’m not doing my job well if I can’t dress this mosaic of women.”
5. Joseph Altuzurra, Erdem Moralioglu, Simon Porte Jacquemus & Mark Holgate on Star Power in the 2010’s
As the current rising stars in the fashion industry, Altuzurra, Erdem, and Jacquemus, come together to speak about both the successes and struggles of launching their own business.
“I think that the emotion and the story that you’re bringing to the show is really important. There aren’t a lot of places where you have a captive audience who are willing to share that moment with you.” – Joseph Altuzurra
“For fashion today, I think it has much more to do with the idea of handwriting a point of view, the ability to create a language that someone recognizes is yours, whether they like it or not.” – Erdem Moralioglu
“The only review I believe in is a regram or a retweet. It’s about the amount of people sharing something; that’s the real review. Everyone has a different point of view.” – Simon Porte Jacquemus
6. Victoria Beckham & Nicole Phelps on When Fashion is Your Second Act
From pop star to designer, Victoria Beckham discusses what its like to start a fashion business as an industry outsider and what has changed over the years of creating a fashion empire.
“I had a vision and it was really focused. I surrounded myself with the right people. It was all about being focused, honest, and doing it in an incredibly humble way.”
7. John Galliano, Maison Margiela & André Leon Talley on Connecting with the Joy of Creativity
The visionary designer, John Galliano, who now returned to the fashion industry as the creative director of Maison Margiela, reveals his creative process and how it has changed through the years.
“I was obsessed with perfection and polish, and at Maison Margiela, I’ve discovered the joy in the unfinished. It’s helped me to perhaps loosen my control.”
He further shares the advice that Martin Margiela gave him when they met personally: “Take what you will from the DNA of the house. Protect yourself. And make it your own.”
8. Virgil Abloh, Off-White & Heron Preston & Chioma Nnadi on Can You Keep Cool… Cool?
When the two young designers started off with streetwear, the two wanted to shed light on real issues and real stories while keeping their collections cool.
“We’re adopting fashion movements but shedding light on stories to tell of many people. That’s the optimistic side. I’m painfully optimistic. But I get inspired to think about how many of these stories there are.” – Virgil Abloh
“Staying honest, staying true to the core, that’s what [Supreme founder] James [Jebbia] has been sharp at. Companies are just people, that’s what they are.” – Heron Preston
9. Demna Gvasalia, Vetements/Balenciaga & Sarah Mower on Disrupt, Disorientate, Doing it His Way
The powerful rising star, Demna Gvasalia, who founded celebrity-favorite, Vetements, talks about how his position in the industry has transitioned and how he has used his own approach to mold a new way for century-old French House, Balenciaga.
“That’s how I came to use this method of appropriation: using the things around us and turning them into a new product. I think every designer has their own method of working and this is mine… The industry produces so much, I thought I actually had no right to invent anything new, other than taking things that already exist and molding them into something different.”
10. Rihanna & Hamish Bowles on A Conversation with Rihanna
Musician, fashion icon, and now entrepreneur, Rihanna, shares how she built a fashion and beauty cult-favorite, Fenty x Puma and Fenty Beauty. The icon has now proved that she’s able to use her relationships with the industry to create products that her fans want.
“I wanted it to be something that girls love, for it to be respected by professionals, and I wanted something that felt like me—reflective of makeup I love and I generally want to wear… The first woman I saw put makeup on her face was a black woman—my mom—and when I think of my customers, I want everyone to feel like they can find their color, that they are represented as part of this new generation.”
With the end of Rihanna’s conversation, conference attendees ended the eventful day with booze and received a limited edition Vogue 125 tote bag that was filled with goodies such as Milk Beauty products, Marc Jacob Eyeliners, HP sprocket 2-in-1 photo printer, and Maison Margiela perfume. While this could be the first-ever Vogue Forces of Fashion Conference, we’re confident that attendees left Milk Studios with more knowledge and curiosity towards the fashion industry.
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