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ESG Fashion Podcast

International Women’s Day with Dame Zandra Rhodes

It’s International Women’s Day this week and who better to speak to than the iconic and wonderfully inspirational fashion designer Dame Zandra Rhodes?

This conversation was recorded live on stage at Springfair in February 2024. Dame Zandra tells Natalie about:

  • The highs and lows of breaking into the US fashion scene in the 1960s.
  • How she has spent her life rallying against what was expected of her – both as a designer and a female.
  • How her personal image has led to the success of her brand and more recent collaborations with IKEA, Happy Socks and Poppy Lissiman.
  • What it was like to dress Freddie Mercury and which cultural icon she’d love to work with today.
  • Her rainbow penthouse and pandemic pivots.
  • Fashion retail trends – from the rise of digital to the need for circularity. 
  • What’s next for Dame Zandra?

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Consumer CX E-commerce Fashion High Streets Non-food retail Podcast Retail leadership Retail trends

Retail Veteran Nigel Oddy on Treating Shoppers as VIPs

Natalie speaks to Nigel Oddy, currently CEO of the UK and Europe’s leading golf retailer American Golf, and previously CEO of House of Fraser, New Look, Matalan and The Range.

The video version of this episode is available on YouTube and is part of a special collaboration with the Richmond Retail & E-commerce Directors’ Forum. Nigel will be speaking at the event alongside leaders from across the industry – Tesco, Charlotte Tilbury, TikTok, N Brown and more. 

In this episode, Nigel gives us a sneak preview of what we’ll be discussing at the event. He shares what it was like running New Look during the pandemic, his biggest successes, what motivates him, the importance of spending time on the shop floor and why you must treat your shoppers as VIPs.

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AI Consumer CX Fashion High Streets Podcast Retail leadership Retail trends Returns Technology

The Future of Retail with Chris Browne

Chris Browne, former Global Retail Director at Ted Baker, joins Natalie to discuss:

  • Visual AI and the opportunities for fashion retail  
  • How tech can enhance the shopping experience
  • Addressing the perennial problem of returns
  • What Western retailers can learn from Asia
  • Chris’ vision for the future of the high street

Prefer video? You can also watch Natalie and Chris’ conversation on YouTube.

This episode is part of a special collaboration with the Richmond Retail & E-commerce Directors’ Forum. Chris will be speaking at the event alongside leaders from across the industry – Tesco, Charlotte Tilbury, TikTok, N Brown and more.

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Fashion High Streets Podcast Retail leadership

N Brown Retail CEO Sarah Welsh on Women in Retail

Sarah Welsh, CEO of Retail at N Brown, joins Natalie on the podcast to discuss:

  • What are the barriers to getting women in retail leadership positions?
  • The importance of representation – how should we nurture future female leaders?
  • Who has inspired Sarah throughout her career?
  • How has the shift to flexible and hybrid working impacted women?
  • How does N Brown drive the wider EDI&B agenda?

This episode is part of a collaboration with the Richmond Retail & E-commerce Directors’ Forum. It’s available on the usual channels (Apple and Spotify) or you can watch a video version on YouTube.

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Consumer Economy Electricals Fashion Non-food retail Podcast Supermarkets

Why Currys is Nick Bubb’s 2024 Pick

Wonderful to have Nick Bubb on the podcast this week. We discuss:

🎄 Christmas trading results – winners and losers.
💻 Why electricals retailing is poised for a comeback in 2024.
📉 What JD Sports’ and Burberry’s profit warnings tell us about the state of retail.
🛍 What went wrong at John Lewis and whether Peter Ruis can revive the brand.
👗 Frasers’ stake-building strategy – what is the end game for Asos and Boohoo?
🛒 Supermarket switching and the importance of physical stores in food retail.

TLDL: skip to 26 minutes to hear 3 reasons why Currys is Nick’s tip of 2024. Last year, he picked Marks & Spencer so I’d listen up!

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Consumer Fashion Podcast

‘Positively Dissatisfied’ M&S, Trailblazer Next, Black Friday Predictions

Retail expert Maureen Hinton joins Natalie to discuss retailer resilience. Which fashion retailers are defying the economic climate and what is the secret to their success? Maureen also shares her views on the state of the consumer and whether the Black Friday deals will sizzle or fizzle.

Connect with Maureen on Twitter/X and LinkedIn

Learn more about our work at the KPMG/Retail Next Retail Think Tank

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Consumer Fashion Marketing Podcast

Victoria’s Secret Is Bringing Sexy Back

In retail today, you need to have a laser-clear understanding of your brand and what it stands for.

But what if what you stand for is no longer culturally relevant? Can you shed your skin and completely reinvent yourself? Can you buy your way out of cultural insignificance?

The lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret tried to do exactly that and it hasn’t worked out so well. They’re now ready to ditch their feminist makeover and re-embrace “sex appeal”. On today’s podcast, we’re going to be exploring what went wrong at Victoria’s Secret, how they tried to fix it, and whether they can go back to their roots in a post-#MeToo world.

TLDL: Victoria Secret’s newfound conscience and subsequent brand overhaul whiffed of inauthenticity. Too much, too soon… alienating both those in favour (who perhaps questioned the integrity of such a radical makeover) and those not.

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Categories
ESG Fashion Fast fashion

Shein is the Epitome of Mindless Consumption

The many juxtapositions of Shein. It aims to be accessible through low pricing – but at what social and environmental cost? It launches a resale platform – but with questionable quality and an average selling price of around £5, can throwaway fashion really be resold? And now Shein has opened its first ever permanent store – but isn’t this just a ploy to grow online sales?

The Shein store launched on 13 November in Tokyo’s Harajuku fashion district. It is a significant, though unsurprising, move in the world of digitally native fast fashion. From Dallas to Dublin, Shein has experimented with a number of pop-ups around the world, where it’s had the opportunity to somewhat demystify the brand and engage with shoppers in the flesh. But, make no mistake, the real goal here is for bricks & mortar to generate a halo effect and drive e-commerce sales.

In fact, shoppers are not able to buy anything while in-store, but instead can browse clothing and scan QR codes to make an online purchase. Shein is certainly not the first online fast fashion brand to recognise the value in having a physical presence these days: here in the UK, Boohoo and Missguided have dabbled with bricks & mortar, while just last month Asos was said to be exploring the idea of opening its first UK shop in a bid to shift excess stock.

But Shein isn’t just fast fashion. It’s uber-fast – dare I say disposable – fashion. Through its “test and repeat” model, Shein is able to produce and distribute products in as little as a week. An eye-watering 10,000 new SKUs are added to the site on a daily basis and, here in the UK, it sells around 30,000 products every single day.

Cheap and cheerful may resonate with shoppers in the current climate – but certainly not all. There is a growing resistance to throwaway fashion. We’ve hit peak stuff. Shoppers are increasingly thinking twice before buying new. Resale and rental (and, to a lesser extent, repair) are becoming mainstream. We are shifting from mindless to mindful consumption. Shein, however, is the epitome of the former.

Its model of pumping out single-wear fashion to be shipped around the globe is entirely at odds with the fact that we are living in a climate emergency. And if, like me, you watched the new Channel 4 documentary on the brand’s catastrophic rise, you might have come away absolutely terrified. Our addiction to buying clothes is unsustainable.

In addition to Shein being a driving force behind the “wear-it-once” culture and contributing to environmental waste, it has also come under scrutiny for its working conditions and copyright infringement, as well as exploiting tax loopholes without which it would not be in a position to offer such cut-throat prices.

Shein is now one of the most downloaded shopping apps in the US and earlier this year, it was valued at $100 billion – essentially Zara and H&M combined. Controversies aside, Shein is a major force in the fashion world and now has its sights set on bricks & mortar. Let’s hope it cleans up its act.

This article originally appeared in Retail Week.