In an age of economic uncertainty, fashion is a unique success story: the business of fashion was worth $2.5 trillion globally in 2017 and is forecasted to record a growth of over 3.5 percent for 2019 (McKinsey, 2019). Disrupting traditional business and management theory and practice, the fashion industry embraces small-to-medium firms alongside global conglomerates, whether design, production or retailing-led, and places entrepreneurship and enterprise at its heart.
The fashion industry, which in its wider sense encompasses the beauty industry and cosmetic industry, is evolving and now demands extensive collaboration between business, sciences, big data, and technology to create transparent and sustainable futures. The sector holds the potential to generate social and cultural impacts, be it through supply chain reform, adoption of next-generation materials and technology or facilitating sustainable innovation in traditional modes of craft and production. Accordingly, the Centre for Fashion Business and Innovation Research seeks to deliver fresh insights into the fashion industry’s economic, social and cultural trajectory via the fusion of research, knowledge exchange, and pedagogy, which is made possible through the active collaboration of multidisciplinary researchers at the Fashion Business School. Through our research centre, we aim to:
- Explore how the future of the business of fashion might be shaped by the creative forces inherent in the industry;
- Collaborate with fashion business practitioners to understand key fashion business trends, opportunities, and challenges from the perspective of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large corporates;
- Conduct ethical, reliable and valid fashion business research and practice which not only disrupts the industry at large but also contributes to enhanced research-led teaching across the taught programmes on offer at the Fashion Business School.
The Centre operates at the intersection of fashion business with the economy, culture, and society as a whole. Its agenda is underpinned by four key thematic pillars: innovation and enterprise; strategic decision-making under uncertainty; retail experience, and product management, innovation, and insights. Among other phenomena, it aims to generate insights into fashion technology design and adoption; brand identity in new media retail environments; business incubation and SME cultures; sustainable business practice; aesthetics and luxury; challenges related to IP and legal issues; innovations in cosmetic sciences, and fashion forecasting. The Centre convenes academics and industry with an interest in understanding the future of fashion business, considering the sector as distinct from other well-researched industries, and the role of fashion in the global creative economy.
Shaping and informing the Centre’s strands of research and knowledge exchange is a range of collaborations with industry professionals. Working with key partners, the Centre co-creates activity which delivers impact to the benefit of both the academic and business practice communities. With the rise of the digital economy, the range of stakeholders for whom the direction of fashion business has important implications is expanding. As such, the Centre is developing links with companies and industry associations operating within software development, artificial intelligence, digital design, and making and those seeking to create and commercialise digital experiences – in marketing, retail and cultural heritage settings.
Higher Education is acknowledged as central to the development and supply of sufficiently skilled and innovative workers into the creative economy. Fashion business is no exception, and the need for both enterprising employees and entrepreneurs becomes more pressing as the digital agenda changes the shape of fashion business. Embedded in the Fashion Business School, the Centre supports ten post-graduate fashion business programmes, which attracts world-class students who represent the future capacity of the industry. The taught programmes are informed by doctoral students researching current challenges and opportunities for fashion business and innovation; students form an essential part of the outreach dialogue curated by the Centre, generating knowledge which will underpin their careers into the future.
- McKinsey (2019). The State of Fashion 2019. BOF McKinsey & Company. Available via: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/the-state-of-fashion-2019-a-year-of-awakening [Accessed: 27.10.2019].
Bethan Alexander | Dr Stine Hedegaard | Dr Ameerah Khadaroo | Dr Shuyu Lin | Dr Ana Roncha | Caroline Searing | Dr Emmanuel Sirimal Silva | Dr Milica Stevic | Dr Alessandra Vecchi | Prof. Finola Kerrigan | Dr. Shahpar Abdollahi | Dr. Max Tookey | Dr. Soljana Çili | Dr. Affan Hameed | Dr. Liang Lu | Dr. Francesca Bonetti | Dr. Misha Xu
James Clark | Lauren Junestrand Leal | Lisa Jane Mann | Edwin Phiri | Bruce Sinclair | Minji Ji Seo | Ulara Toma