Fashion Management courses welcome Jaz Grewal from Stella McCartney
BSc Fashion Management and MSc Strategic Fashion Management students were joined by Jaz Grewal from Stella McCartney for an exclusive talk in the RHS space on Monday 24 September, arranged and organised by Tutor and Lecturer Ronit Zilkha. MSc Strategic Fashion Management student, Emily Freund, reported live from the event for the LCF Stories readers...
With over ten years of experience working in the luxury fashion and commerce space, Jaz is currently leading Digital Operations at Stella McCartney. Working across several departments from marketing, trade, logistics, finance, sustainability, and communications, he collaborates with cross-functions on multiple projects within the business as it embarks on an important chapter for the brand. Bringing a wealth of insight on the day-to-day running of a major luxury Maison within the LVMH portfolio, he will be presenting an introduction to the Stella brand and identity, his daily duties, what different roles are available in fashion and how to go about getting a job within the industry.
As sustainability and digitalization is the forefront of the fashion industry’s strategies, Stella McCartney continues to innovate and reimagine the definition of luxury fashion. As an introduction to the brand, the Summer 2023 runway show was presented, which consisted of an 87% sustainable collection and pieces from Japanese artist, Yoshitomo Nara.
Jaz Grewal, the E-Commerce Manager at Stella McCartney, then joined Fashion Management students to discuss the luxury brand’s retail and digital strategies. Grewal oversees the digital operations of the site and dove into the different activities that entails, as it is a “business within a business.” He illustrated the importance of customer interaction, through feedback and heatmapping – which shows where customers are going, clicking, and losing interest – and internal collaboration between teams, like the marketing communications and sustainability teams, to create a seamless e-commerce experience. He explains that social media, is not just communications, but a sales platform, furthering the collaboration between departments, like “styling for an e-commerce shoot in a way that needs to sell it.” The brand’s strategy stems from the question, “how do you sell an expensive product through someone looking at it through a screen?”
Under LVMH, Stella McCartney focuses on e-commerce experience and sustainable practices, as the luxury house “steers their brands towards the digital world.” As fashion is increasingly going digital, Grewal answers a question about the future of the physical store,
“Never underestimate the value of brick-and-mortar stores… we’re really focusing on omni-channel. The great thing about e-commerce is that there are markets that you don’t have stores in, those that do we work hand-in-hand with them…There are some experiences you can’t recreate online. To have an immersive brand experience, like a collaboration with an artist, which we’ve done, you can’t do that online. So, to give the brand a stage, that’s wear retail comes into it…”
Jaz Grewal further discusses the influence of LVMH on Stella McCartney, “The biggest target that they have is to globalize fashion, and that’s why there’s such focus now in Asia, in particular. It’s always been an emerging market for us, but since we were acquired by LVMH, we’ve been growing our CRM database and having more and more clients… In terms of building the brand internationally, where it’s not so well-known, is something LVMH is quite keen to do with Stella and to really scale it… that’s where the strategic partnership came in in the first place, that there are some markets that it’s not so well known, and that where LVMH thinks it’s going to be most [influential]. They have all sorts of initiatives: LVMH tracking, LVMH organizations, LVMH culture, LVMH prize. There’s so many different LVMH initiatives under the umbrella, and this is what the ultimate goal is, is expansion.”
As the Asian market is growing to be one of the largest luxury fashion markets, Grewal answers the question “How does Stella and LVMH adapt for Asian/Chinese market?”
“…There’s a demand for luxury goods [in the Chinese market]. In terms of the digital space, its quite difficult to sell, because there’s so many regulations, the actual volume of products to sell that they’re allowed to import is a day-to-day challenge. And so that’s why we use a lot of China’s own platforms: Tmall, WeChat; specifically, to sell to Chinese customers and trying to bridge the gap. And I think as more progressive as luxury buying gets [in China] and more responsive and open to international luxury brands, it would be easier. I think China is the hardest market to sell to online just because of the actual customers and rules and regulations around it, and what they’re allowed to buy.”
Using China’s social and shopping platforms like Tmall and WeChat, LVMH’s objective for Stella McCartney is to grow its customer base into the leading luxury market, with digital e-commerce strategies.
Julia Sadowska, a Year 3 student, recounts her experience,
“I am so happy I was able to attend a very inspiring talk from Jaz Grewal, who leads Digital Operations at Stella McCartney. It was a great opportunity to have a little insight into the brand, its values, and the business. Jaz spoke about different departments and their responsibilities and walked us through the beautiful creative world of Stella. After that, Jaz gave us some tips and tricks on how to enter the fashion industry and kindly answered all our questions! Events like this bring knowledge, experience, and entertainment and spark curiosity to learn more. It was great to see familiar faces once again in the big auditorium and to be back to “normality”. Thank you Ronit Zilkha for your invitation and for organising such a marvellous event. I hope there is more to come!'
With an inspiring runway show, insightful presentation, and engaging Q&A with the students, Jaz Grewal enlightened the audience about the blend of digital e-commerce and sustainability strategies, while advising the students about working in the industry. From internal and external collaborations to presenting the products for maximized buying potential for consumers, the students truly got to understand the behind-the-scenes of e-commerce operations at the leading sustainable luxury brand, Stella McCartney.
Thank you, Jaz, for coming to speak with us!