Hemlines, or bottom lines? Behind front row glamour
It all looks so glamorous: models walking the runway; celebrities on the front row; the anticipation of next year's must have item — the bag, the coat, the perfect five-inch heels.
Those sitting in the boardrooms don’t simply spend all their time reviewing the latest fashion lines.
But behind all the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry there are real businesses facing challenges that demand effective and not terribly glamourous solutions. Those sitting in the boardrooms don’t simply spend all their time reviewing the latest fashion lines. Their jobs are a much harder and more complex balancing act.
They must be able to tackle the special issues that come with running a creative business. At the same time, they need the fundamental skills demanded by any successful business in challenging economic environments. What does a fashion company boardroom really look like? It’s serious, driven and filled with people who are as focused on the triple bottom line (social, environmental and financial) as they are hem lines.
Fashion companies have to hold on to their creative spirit and panache (often rooted in century-old designs and history) in modern times. They have to be mobile, web-enabled, global. They must think about competing in a world of ever-smaller margins and cut-throat markets.
Consumers demand something fresh and special at a faster and faster pace, even as new lines remain tied to a set structure of seasons. But designing and fabricating the latest ‘looks’ in time for the twice-yearly runways of Paris, Milan, London, and New York puts a huge amount of pressure not only on designers, but also on those running the businesses and those in the boardrooms. And add to that the challenge of working with talented and creative individuals who can sometimes be mercurial.
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