The Launchmetrics 5 Questions With… interview series provides a way to connect industry leaders from the fashion, luxury, and beauty industries, and gives a platform for them to share their best advice and expertise.
For this episode of the series, we spoke with Scott Lipinski, Managing Director for the Fashion Council Germany (FCG). He considers the FCG as an interpreter between the industry and politics and ensures that the focus is placed on the economic and cultural power of German fashion with various projects, events, conferences, corporations and studies.
Fashion Council Germany e.V. is the patron to empower the German fashion and design landscape for a visionary, technological and sustainable future in a global market. Founded in January 2015 in Berlin on the initiative of national industry experts, the FCG promotes German design as a cultural and economic asset and supports young designers from Germany. In order to achieve this goal, the FCG focuses on Education, Sustainability and Fashion Technology as well as the promotion of interdisciplinary dialogue and networking. Therefore, the Fashion Council carries out essential lobbying, working politics, business and culture, aims for visibility and emphasizes the global relevance of German fashion design and production nationally and internationally.
What do you love most about your job?
It’s a tough question as there are so many aspects to what I’m doing right now in my specific job. I think what I really like about my day to day work is the diversity of topics, people, projects, and inspirations that I encounter. On the same level, after working for fashion companies for many years, the true meaning of my position in our organization relies on supporting and helping young brands become more successful, sustainable and digital. I think what also drives me is that I try to help people avoid making the same mistakes I made while working for fashion brands, because people do make mistakes and have different experiences.
How has the industry changed since you started your career?
Massively actually! When I started in the fashion industry, it was far from being digital and sustainable. Of course, people do say today we are still far from being sustainable, but at least the mindset is there. When I started, that wasn’t the topic, even the digital era wasn’t a topic at all. The digital side of the fashion industry was excellent and if you were lucky, you had an ERP system as a young brand. However, that’s changed so drastically in all kinds of ways, which is a good thing. The second major change is, of course, that consumers are more aware and educated. They are much more informed through social media and the entire speed of communication giving them access to an abundance of resources, which wasn’t entirely the case back then.
Launching products and collections has been challenging for everyone during lockdown. What lessons have you learned from these new virtual worlds that we have had to adapt to?
I think the big lesson learned is that solutions can become more digital and that the barriers to start working with digital solutions are actually quite small. Essentially, you were forced to think about new approaches to how you were selling, producing, or developing your products. We suddenly watched all these companies say, “Okay, we have to do something now. This is not just a short project,” and from small companies to large corporations, they all adapted their way of working and found successful solutions. Following this, I find it a nice experience that now everyone has become more open to exploring new and different strategies and solutions. Another thing I saw before lockdown was companies or CEOs being skeptical of if home office work was really a good model. I think lockdown has proven that it does work and that in the future, there may be more trust in your team and in your organization that this new working model can be as effective.
However, what I personally learned from myself and from our organization is that the digital world isn’t the only world. I believe that the future will be a hybrid between the physical and digital, and that the digital world will have more acceptance and people will be adopting more digital solutions as compared to the past.
If you had a magic wand and could create one tool that would help your company operate better, what would it be?
It would be a magic machine, a de-speedo-meter, a de-stressor, a de-something. I noticed that we’re becoming faster and faster. I’m from an older generation, and maybe the younger generation can cope quite well with all the new tools we are using. But I think we need to find a way to reduce how fast we are being demanded to work. That could maybe be one of the reasons why we hear about so many burnouts and depressions. I believe there has to be a really intelligent way to balance all these new technologies that are coming with a faster way of working. Hence, why I think with a ‘de-stressor’ or ‘de-speeder’, people can just press a button and all of a sudden it just becomes slower.
What’s one tip that you would give your younger self?
To just relax. There’s always a solution. That’s basically what I would always try and tell myself when I look back. I was impatient in certain situations and when something went wrong, that was a disaster. Now that’s why I also try to tell my team to just communicate and that there’s always a solution. You’ll never have a situation where it’s a complete dead end, and if it is, then you can still find a way to get out of that. My mom used to say; “in dark times, or in hard times, when there is nothing else, but a room where there’s no light, you just have to look for the light switch. That’s all.” That’s all you have to do at that moment and I would try to remind myself of that more often.
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