As part of our Fashion Means Business blog series in celebration of the launch of our Fashion Business School, we managed to catch up with Eva von Alvensleben, Sustainability Strategy Manager at Kering to find out why the business side of fashion is so important…
LCF News: Why does fashion mean business to you?
Eva von Alsenleben: Fashion requires business. I think, for every sketch in the studio in the studio to really move them to a consumer or product on the runway, you need business. I actually would even say that for every sketch on a garment that you make, there is a business decision behind it. So, for example, what kind of raw material do I source, where do I actually use my processes, how are they sustainable, what extra energy efficiency do I do in my stores. A lot of these questions are directly linked to business, and I feel that without the business foresight, fashion today can’t really efficiently respond to consumer’s demands.
LCF News: How important is it to gain a business knowledge in order to work in the fashion industry?
Business education is very important in many ways. We live in an increasingly volatile industry, that means for fashion that the products that we produce, the processes that we use, the raw materials that we use, are increasingly under pressure, a pressure that our industry has never faced before.
We need to be really aware that in a few years time or even in a few months time we could be in a completely different situation. As in every business, you have two options, either you are proactive or you are reactive, either you stay at the forefront or you get left behind. And in my opinion there is only one option, to be proactive and to actually understand the business side through business education and then actually understand how you can revolutionise and find innovative processes that help the fashion industry and safeguard it in the future.
LCF News: What business roles are there in the fashion industry?
There are many many roles, but all of them are in the background which you don’t really see. Around the heart of the creative team with the Creative Director you have a lot of different functions that you have in every other business. You have a marketing department, a finance department, a communications department, and the supply chain department.
LCF News: What advice would you give to students hoping to set up their own brand?
My advice to students would be, be passionate and be creative, and use the same creativity that you use in fashion for your sketches and drawings, and channel it to the business side. Because fashion does not respect any constraints, neither does business. It is much more about thinking outside the box, finding innovative solutions, finding new ways of doing things, and this actually makes the beauty of fashion and business come together.
The students are the change-makers that we look at, to actually create the change that we really need in our businesses. If they could apply their ideas in a responsible and creative way, this will make sure that the fashion industry survives and will strive even in the future.