Our future is in hands of today's leaders who can represent the collective action within our current flow of life and business. My thought immediately escapes towards the questions such as: who are these leaders of today and what qualities do they posses? What systems can we change today and what opportunities does it bring within, let's say, my beloved fashion industry?Why collaborative design and business is the most sustainable and efficient way of working?
When I think of leaders, I mean people with vision regardless industry and age. These people who can move mountains around them in turbulent times when no one really knows there to head next. A key attribute that successful leaders today have is curiosity. They should explore and embrace new trends, tools, and technologies as they emerge. They should be willing to try new ways of working and making. They should accept failure as an important step on the road to success.
I can go dieper into the waves troubling and disrupting the old fashion cycle systems, but to be truly honest I don't hink it needs to be addressed. It's is addressing itself as current leaders see and feel (again) that it doesn't work anymore. From my point of view the qualities very necessary for leader of today are not experience or specific in depth knowledge. it is more of a cross cultural, hybrid way of thinking and seeing things. It is as Dries Van Noten looks outside 'fashion' to enrich his collections with visions from other disciplines, cultures, crafts, beauty, but also ugliness that can evoke a feeling that we never expected that we needed. In times of turbulence and disruptive new phase that we are entering after the industrial evolution the fashion term "mix and match" is the best way to describe of what we need from our current leaders.
In order for things to change the innovative leaders and pioneers in their field need to feel the urge for certain things to happen. Ethical Fashion Forum is the network of such leaders and therefore the baset way to metaphorically describe the three sorts of leaders we need today. Pioneers are individuals who go out there and pursue their vision even if the other don't even see or sense where this is going. This with enormous levels of perseverance. The marketing wave of influencers flowing over our social media channels is a great example of people who are working within an established framework in order to create a soil for movement and change by persuading into certain ideas. The champions are not only needed for us to believe in extraordinary achievements in sports, but also as when leaders become champions and give their voice to change. they become a driving force of change in order to support the pioneers and listen to the influencers. Think of Ellen McArthur Foundation for example when you want to lead an extraordinary life.
Be the reflection you want to receive.
My belief in new leadership as the only way that can transform the way fashion business is done. Whether you like it or not, understand it or not, but Vetements is one great example of how leadership is applied. what is interesting to me is not only their way of thinking and creating clothes, but also the strategical thinking behind this business. How the dare to do what feels right, of course without loosing business opportunity out sight, leads to a certain vibration within others, that can create something that works for them. You might say that Vetements is using it's momentum, but hey why wouldn't you if you created it yourself. Guram Gvasalia, the business brain behind the brand, before he was CEO of Vetements he wrote a book - Size Zero: A Guide To Spiritual Management - that explains how to go back to a state of Zero, to a condition of a child, where everything in life seems to be a miracle; and how to start living life with zero limitations. The book gives its reader food for thought and guidance on how to find the way to the true self; and above all it shows a vision, a belief of a man that knows how to pull the strings that work.
Following the idea of hybrid thinking of new leaders here above I would love to have a closer look of my current personal favourites on the industry and examine a little of their thinking. Alexandra Van Houtte, founder of Tagwalk which is the fashion search engine that allows you to search for catwalk looks, models and trends in a very convenient and relevant way. She was an assistant stylist who due to her day-to-day tasks was missing some kind of database for all the looks per season. When she didn't find anything available on the way, she created the engine herself. How cool is that, when you are in the internet culture can see the problem, take advantage of technology available and create a game changing value for an entire industry, just like that. This is very inspiring to me, because I am very interested in solutions for consumer behaviour based on consumer psychology. And my point here is is you want to start a business. Why or what is the purpose o of doing so? Many current purposeful business solutions focus on solving small problems, but problems nonetheless.
How can the rest of us as consumers contribute to a healthier fashion industry?Stop buying things you don't need. Start buying clothes you can cherish for years. Go away from fast fashion. Stop looking for bargains. Start looking for quality. Move towards the idea of slow fashion. This is the ideal situation, but I don't think this is something that is achievable if you don't give these consumers the right tools to make the right decision. Platforms that allow individuals and companies to provide easy access to their assets, resources, time, and skills, often at lower cost and more convenience than was traditionally possible.
Fashion and fashion technology are my favourite grounds to play on, due to the creativity, orientation to the future and the every day purpose of it. It's like selling a dream for the better future, that is truly possible. In one of my next article I would like to discuss with you the possibility of a platform that will support our decision making process and give us access to more and better stuff without ownership.
Even the most innovative, knowledgeable, experienced leaders won't succeed on their own. Therefore I come to the leading idea of how business is done today in order to be progressive and supportive for itself and us as consumers. You may do great work inside your company, but do you collaborate and co-create with people from the outside? The diversity of skills, knowledge, and opinions that you can get from a co-creation project might far exceed those of your existing team. The collaborative approach though requires and a certain amount of openness, willingness to relinquish control, and trust in other people.
Collaborations si a social desire. The Internet was built to connect people all over the world. That is its central purpose. We all use social networks, messaging apps, and voice/video calls on a daily basis to connect to our friends, loved ones, and colleagues. It’s hard to imagine a world where communication wasn’t as easy as it is now. This idea applied to business could create an interesting vibration in how things are done...
The ability to grab knowledge, skills, opinions, and expertise from a range of different areas and mash them together to create beautiful things. This is something hybrid as discussed above. This applies to teams as well as individuals. The teams we create and the companies we build need to have this hybrid approach.
Let your life become a work of art.
Collaboration nowadays is core to everything that happens in a modern business, so it seems almost unnecessary to label it as something of inevitable practice. This in order to meet the purpose of organisations and to be inspiring to this and future generations. Eventually the question is how we can do more while using less?