Andrew Sarrano, the VP of Global Fashion at IMG, talks about the state of the global fashion industry
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Ross Greenwood: Stop, look at yourself. Have a look at what you are wearing at the moment, okay. What are you wearing? You’re wearing a bit of fast fashion and a pair of jeans. Are you wearing something nice? I’ve got a lovely suit on at the moment, I’m going to say. But the question is about this, the clothing industry is absolutely integral, every one of us interacts with it every day.
We sometimes forget that clothing can be commoditized these days. But it still needs the essence of style, because when you walk into a store, there’s something that makes you stop and go, “I’ll buy that.” or “I’ll take that.”, whatever it might be. Or it’s simply a case of– in many cases, the people go, “I look good in that.” That’s actually important.
When you got something such as, say, the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week that’s taking place right now, it is important to, also, then understand that much of what you even wear, even if it’s ready-to-wear is coming from the catwalks. Say, for example, tonight at the Fashion Week, you’ve got Michael Lasorda, who is an Australian designer, he’s on the runway pretty much as we speak with his collection. Also, a little later tonight, Christopher Isabel.
The whole point about what happens at Fashion Week, it does not only launch the fashion into our own stores that you might ultimately consume, but it also creates the runway for the future models of Australia. Because many of them, say, for example, Karlie Kloss is the big catwalk stars right now. McGraw’s, say, for example, is a designer, and they’re looking for 25 young Australian models who, perhaps, could follow in the footsteps of someone like Karlie Kloss.
It’s important for all set of different reasons. Now, we know the fashion industry has struggled in some areas, there have been designers and fashion houses that have fallen over in the past few years here in Australia. That’s partly because you have fast fashion coming through where big houses are able to make fashion relatively cheaply and affordably for people. That means retail trends start to change, we know that online changes it as well.
Well, let’s now go to the Vice President of Global Fashion, for IMG. Andrew Serrano is online right now. Of course, it’s IMG that runs Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week here and around the world as well. Many thanks for your time on the program, Andrew.
Andrew Serrano: Hey, Ross. No problem, thanks for having me.
Ross Greenwood: Just explain to me, here and around the world right now, the Fashion Weeks that you run, given the fact that times are tighter, there are these big organizations, I’m thinking, likes the Zara, the H&M, the Uniqlos of this world. It really does mean in some ways that this whole fashion industry is changing. Does that affect the way in which you’re running these Fashion Weeks? Does it change the nature of what you’re doing and even the business of these designers?
Andrew: Not really. Looking over us, we’re here to provide a platform for designers to showcase their collections, whether it be seen out by now, which basically means to get collection as ready to be button off the runways so whether it’s meant their collection is going to hit the stores in about six months. Our job, as event producers, really to provide a platform for designers, and to be able to show whatever collection it is that they feel is right for them and for their customers.
Ultimately, it’s up for the designers themselves to figure out what’s right for their business. For some of them, it is putting out collections that are able to be brought the next day. For some of them, it’s about continuing to service the industry and have collections that come out in six months. That might mean their customer is okay with that. A lot of customers are okay with waiting six months for a collection, they like waiting for something to arrive in the mail, taking them out when they see it.
It’s really up to designers to really figure out what’s right for them.
Key to a successful fashion show.
Ross Greenwood: In regards to running a fashion show, what makes a successful fashion show? What makes it stand out? The people go, “Wow, that was an absolute beauty.”
Andrew: It really comes down to the designers, as long as the designers are here and they are putting on collections that people find impactful, that the shows are beautiful, which we were very fortunate to have a lot of great designers that are putting on really great shows. For us, it’s about the designers that have come here and are putting on great shows, and are also even seeing really great business results as part of their show.
Ross Greenwood: In this regard, are they now enough fashion designers with the resources, with the wherewithal to really support the fashion shows that you’re putting on? We do know that it’s been a tougher time for some of them in recent years, do you really have the interest? Do you really have the number of fashion designers out there wanting to showcase their wears through your shows?
Andrew: Absolutely, we have over — I believe it’s over 55 shows this season. Some of those shows are part of group shows, we have designers who come together and put on a show where the media and the buyers that come to the shows, they are able to sit down and see a collection of designers. What that does is to offer the ability for designers to group together. It allows media and the buyers, who are their audience, they want to see multiple collections at one time.
That really is a proof that there’s more than enough designers who really want to put on a show, really see the benefit to putting out shows during Fashion Week. For them, this provides six months of marketing materials for them, their collections come out everything every six months or so, so this fashion show is really a marketing tool for them.
Ross Greenwood: So even, say, for example, having Sass and Bide come back to Australia to present Resort 2018 collection at Carriageworks in Sydney, it’s the first time in 15 years that they’ve been with an official collection in Sydney. Those types of things are important, not only for the brand, but also for something such as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Andrew: Yes, it’s important to Sydney as well. I think it’s really great for the designers who are able to make an impact on the international scale, to come back and show their support for the Australian fashion industry, come back to Sydney, show that why they’re successful globally. Sydney and Australia is a big part of their brand identity, they’re happy to come back, they’re happy to show the Resort Collections here, while they’re showing Spring and Summer elsewhere.
Resort is now a huge, huge marketing tool for them. It’s also important for them to come back and support the local industry.
Ross Greenwood: I’d say, well, it really is interesting because it’s like fashion is something everybody has to contend with and deal with on a daily basis. The way in which they interact with it, of course, is as thoroughly different compared — depending on their tastes, on their attitude, probably on their wallet as well.
Andrew Serrano is the Vice President of Global Fashion at IMG, that runs the Fashion Weeks — Mercedes-Benz Fashion Weeks, not only Australia but around the world as well. Andrew, we appreciate your time here on the program this evening.
Andrew: Thank you so much for having me.