The Global Summit of Women began its final day Saturday with a breakfast discussion titled, “The Business of Fashion and Design.”
MCM chair and chief visionary officer Sung Joo Kim, designer Hiroko Koshino, Natori founder and chief executive officer Josie Natori, and Eve Enterprises founder and ceo Xia Hua participated in a panel, moderated by summit president Irene Natividad.
The conversation addressed fashion as a topic of industry — giving the more politically and business-inclined attendees a look into fashion’s serious underbelly.
Said Hua of her philosophy, which has helped her gain more than 1.8 million menswear customers: “China used to be a culture of saving, now [it’s one of] spending — you have to be unique now. We have spent lots of money on marketing campaigns to build brand awareness — educating men on how to style themselves and how to dress themselves.”
Touching on a subject matter close to the conference’s heart, Kim pondered: “Especially in the luxury space, it’s mostly men-owned, men-run. Normally women ceos are kicked out in one to two years. Why is that?”
Natori shared insight into her methods for innovation: “When I started 40 years ago, I was dealing with hundreds and hundreds of stores. I had never heard the word ‘markdown’ until 25 years later. I think that today the Internet has been a game-changer. I think the mind-set of the consumer is very different — our generation, we love to spend. The Millennial mind-set is a really big deal — that’s my challenge as a company to make sure we can relate to the next generation’s attitudes. It’s a really dog-eat-dog business. I say, ‘Unless you really love it, there is a better way to make a business.’”