An industry ever-evolving to not only meet demand but also shape it, is in the midst of large-scale change.
From footwear to face masks and t-shirts to trench coats, luxury is everywhere. Over the last few years in particular, fashion has flooded into all levels of consumer. Where previously, luxury pieces we’re exclusive, aspirational, and often unattainable objects, a number of factors has led to fashion entering into all facets of life.
Not simply satisfied with owning a piece of luxury, many consumers have actively sought heavily branded, instantly recognisable, and exclusive items, such as FOG, Off-White, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Air Jordans, to name just a few brands.
In what is now a market heavily saturated with luxury, we’re seeing many fashion brands begin their plans to pull away from the boom in fashion’s merge with activewear/streetwear, and pivot toward what is considered ‘old money’. Brands such as Sporty & Rich, ALD, and Kith have pioneered the movement and many are preparing to follow suit. We’re managing a sharp increase in demand for marketing, sales, product, design, and buying/merchandising professionals with previous experience in ‘old money’ style luxury, with quality of materials, design principles, cohesive collections, sustainability, and modern minimalism all at the forefront.
Talented experiential/retail professionals are still also in high-demand, as many of our clients seek to elevate and differentiate their in-store experiences. Similarly, design/packaging teams are coming under a renewed focus across many of our European clients, with a number of team builds taking place in Q3 of this year, to fulfil the increased consumer desire for an improved experience, whilst also balancing sustainability goals/quotas. Companies such as John Lewis are continuing their ‘multi-sensory’ in-store offerings, an Inditex-owned Zara have reported a 17.5% jump in revenue following their brand repositioning last year.
Companies such as Birkenstock and Prada started the year strong, with the former celebrating the launch of a new headquarters. Birkenstock is set to base their new HQ in Amsterdam, recently dubbed an emerging fashion hub, a suspected strategic move as the business aims to access a wider pool of international candidates, and strategically strengthen their shipping and logistics capabilities. Whereas, Prada are celebrating a reported 21% increase in revenue, now topping €4.2billion. Many clients are also closely watching events unfold in the nearby Sports & Outdoor industry, as brands such as Nike continue to pursue a DTC model, with varying results.
During the first half of the year, we have successfully delivered urgent projects, within short delivery times, on behalf of a number of new clients in both the UK and Europe, including several immediately available, interim management positions in HR and Product Development. Q2 saw the release of numerous data analytics roles as we support a long-standing European partner’s planned growth phase, as well as priority vacancies across Sales and Ecommerce in particular.
During the second half of the year, our practice have a wide range of projects including international market maps, new talent partnerships in Holland and the US, and new roles available daily through our network of clients in the UK and wider Europe.
We are also pleased to announce that during Q2, our dedicated practice grew with the addition of James Westwood, who leads the recruitment of management & executive level finance professionals in both UK & International markets. James holds over a decade of experience as a professional Golfer, followed by roles in Financial Services and is supporting our network of clients through end-to-end vacancy management, team builds, talent mapping, competitor benchmarking, and international relocation.
If you’d like to discuss our support on a current or future role, or are looking for your next career move, get in touch with our dedicated Fashion & Luxury Practice today via email@example.com or by calling +44 (0)191 691 1949
Advertising, Case Study, Consumer, Cosmetics, Fashion, Health & Beauty, Industry, Insight, Marketing, Retail, Social Media, Technology
Posted on 27 October 2022
When social media first popped up in the late 90’s, none of us could have predicted the astronomical growth it would undergo, nor the influence it would ultimately hold over our lives.
What began as a way to simply connect with friends, has since become one of the most powerful global platforms of our time, able to reach millions of targeted people in milliseconds and influence the way we shop, vote, and even feel. Evolving far beyond your typical networking tool, social media has opened up opportunities for not only the every-day-scroller, but for businesses also.
But is the way we use social media set to change? And have brands had enough?
MacGregor Black takes a closer look at social media, and why some brands are taking a permanent break from it.
Social Media vs… The Battle of the Brands
With Facebook alone connecting 2.11 billion users all over the globe, it’s no surprise that social media has come to play an integral part in many of our lives. But with such scale, how is it possible to monitor and control 2.11billion individual narratives? The simple answer is… it isn’t.
With such publicity, comes scrutiny. And as platforms such as Facebook continue to embed themselves deeper into our society, many users are beginning to highlight some of their potential negative effects. One particular issue that continues to dominate the conversation, is social media’s relationship with our mental health.
In recent years, research has provided us with a plentiful evidence pool linking social media usage with a number of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and body dysmorphia. According to a 2022 Healthline study of 1,042 U.S citizens, 29% of participants of all age groups felt they needed to take regular social media breaks, in order to feel a benefit to their mental health. This number increased to a shocking 46% amongst 15–24-year-olds.
So, what can be done about this, and who’s responsibility is it to take control?
Noting the negative effects that social media was having on many of its customers, global cosmetics company, Lush, took a stand; and in 2021, decided to cut ties with online platforms Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Facebook.
The British retailer released a statement to accompany their decision:
“From 26th November 2021, the global Lush brand will be turning its back on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat, until the platforms take action to provide a safer environment for users. This policy is rolling out across all the 48 countries where Lush operates. In the same way that evidence against climate change was ignored and belittled for decades, concerns about the serious effects of social media are going largely ignored now. Lush is taking matters into its own hands and addressing the issues now, not waiting around until others believe in the problem before changing its own behaviour.”
Tesla Motors & SpaceX
Pre-dating Lush’s decision by almost three years, in March 2018, tech billionaire Elon Musk joined the race against social media; deliberately deleting both Tesla’s and SpaceX’s Facebook business pages.
Having regularly aired his opinion publicly, it is widely known that Elon Musk distrusts the way Facebook handles their consumer data. The decision then came to pull both his business pages, following a tragically historic week for the social media company, one that still sits fresh in our memory. In 2018, the Cambridge Analytica scandal prompted a wave of mistrust against Facebook, which later gave rise to the #deletefacebook hashtag.
At the time of the scandal, WhatsApp Co-Founder, Brian Acton tweeted in protest, “it is time #deletefacebook”, in which Musk responded sarcastically, “What’s Facebook?”. The Silicon Valley entrepreneur then went on to tweet that he thought Tesla’s Facebook page was “lame”.
In a final act, Musk was challenged by Twitter users to delete Tesla’s and SpaceX’s pages, “if he really was ‘the man’”, and in typical form, Musk declared he would delete them immediately. Sure enough, in under 30 minutes both business pages were cut from Facebook, and the following media attention, combined with the Cambridge Analytica Scandal, caused Facebook’s stock to plunge 6%.
Elon Musk has since gained the reputation as the modern day ‘Robin-Hood’ of free speech, as in April of this year, the eccentric billionaire made another daring move. This time, against Twitter.
In an effort to force change, on April 14th of this year, Musk made a bid to buy the social networking site for $54.20 per share, putting one of the world’s richest people at the helm of one of the world’s most influential platforms. Musk declared that, should the deal go through, his first priority would be to crack down on data management. However, only weeks after Elon’s rather rambunctious offer, he sought to terminate the deal, citing concerns over the social media company’s use of bots on the platform, artificially inflating their user numbers. Claims which were later supported by a company whistle blower. Twitter has since sued Musk to follow through with the acquisition. The judge overseeing the case has given both parties until the 28th of October to close the deal or face a trial in November.
In 2021, globally established fashion house, Bottega Veneta announced their own bold move to completely cut social media from their marketing strategy.
Creative Director, Daniel Lee, stated in an interview with The Guardian that, “there is a mood of playground bullying on social media which I don’t really like. I wanted to do something joyful instead… I don’t want to collude in an atmosphere that feels negative.” However, despite personal comments from Lee, the Bottega Veneta company refrained from releasing an official statement to explain their swift exit from social media. Leading fans to believe that perhaps this was the company’s latest strategic move in creating the ultimate luxury brand?
Kalyani Saha Chawla, former VP of Marketing & Communications at Dior believes luxury brands need to re-consider the fine balance between over-accessibility and exclusivity, quoting to Grazia UK that,
“luxury brands are diluting their image by using the same social mediums that every high street brand is utilising. Luxury stands for exclusivity, and if it’s all over Instagram and Twitter, it becomes too accessible, which might not resonate with a niche audience.”
A message that sat fittingly with Bottega Veneta’s social media departure, as it came less than a month after it unveiled its exclusive “Salon 01 Spring/Summer Show”, which was being secretly recorded at the time. Shortly after Bottega Veneta’s decision to ditch social, luxury apparel brand, Balenciaga quickly followed suit, wiping all of its content from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Perhaps another strategic move with this decision also preceding the brand’s first haute couture show in over 50 years…
Answering the Burning Question… What Happened Next?
In today’s society, it’s near impossible to picture a global company succeeding without a social media presence, but alas…some of our favourite cosmetics companies, automotive developers and high-end fashion brands claim they are already paving the way to find a successful future without ‘the Gram’.
After announcing their departure from its social media channels in 2021, cosmetics brand Lush turned to creating what they felt would be, authentic, quality content on the company’s online site instead. At the time, the company released a statement assuring shoppers that, ‘there are plenty of other places to take a dip into the Lush world’, stating that customers could still engage with the brand through shops, events, through the customer care team and on other digital platforms like Lush Player, Lush.com and their Lush Labs app. However, it’s worth noting that some individual stores and Lush staff continued to be active on social media and the company even encouraged customers to continue using branded lush hashtags to promote their content organically. Meaning Lush would remain true to its anti-social media protest, whilst also still staying fresh on the screens of shoppers across the globe.
SpaceX & Tesla
Following Elon Musk’s bold decision to delete both SpaceX and Tesla’s business Facebook pages, the company went on the make an even bolder move in 2020, officially dissolving it’s entire PR department; dubbing it the first automaker to no longer engage with the press. When asked to comment on the move, the billionaire business magnate stated that he wouldn’t go back to having a PR department because he ‘doesn’t believe in manipulating public opinion,’. He responded to a twitter user that encouraged the reinstatement of the Tesla PR team, saying, ‘Other companies spend money on advertising & manipulating public opinion, Tesla focuses on the product. I trust the people.’
So, with a much-reduced social media presence and absolutely no PR staff, how does a multi-billion-dollar business like Tesla expect to stay ahead of the curve?
Well, the American clean energy company relies heavily on one of the most effective marketing strategies out there, word of mouth. Tesla runs a highly popular referral program that encourages customers to share their love for the brand with their friends and family. Tesla enthusiasts, and their referees can earn rewards like free supercharger miles and cash to spend on energy efficient products. Not only that, but the electric vehicle manufacturer also manages multiple customer forums, hosts a global ‘owners club’, and is regularly involved in giving back to the communities they operate in. All of which are great ways to establish a strong brand message without even so much as a ‘share’. However, it’s worth noting that Musk himself has been a driving force behind Tesla and SpaceX’s ongoing success. His loud, charismatic, and sometimes even controversial social media presence certainly draws enough attention to both brands…
Founded in 1996 in Vicenza, Italy by Michele Taddei and Renzo Zengiaro, Bottega Veneta has since firmly established itself as a high-end, luxury fashion house. Their fine leather handbags and quality crafted accessories don the frames of wealthy style icons in all corners of the world, that no doubt, enjoy scrolling as much as the rest of us.
Which is precisely what Bottega Veneta was counting on…
Despite not posting on their business account anymore, Bottega Veneta lives on through the Instagram pages of their loyal customers, influencers, and external partnerships. Rather than coming directly from the brand, content like product launches, events, and brand promotions make the rounds mainly through organic, user-generated content. Which enhances the brand’s exclusive image and cuts out a huge chunk of their workload. So, in theory, they can kick back and reap the rewards as customers are naturally drawn to their brand.
A strategy in which Bottega Veneta took to heart as at the time, the luxury brand doubled down on its quarterly online magazine in what they hoped would offer, “more progressive and more thoughtful” content. A goal in which many say they have successfully achieved since then.
MacGregor Black’s Global Head of Marketing, Mark Thursby, commented:
“I couldn’t agree more with Kalyani Saha Chawla, in that many Luxury brands sit in a precarious position. One that almost caused the demise of the iconic British Fashion Brand Burberry during the 1990’s, where high demand was met with ease of accessibility. And I believe social media is currently turbocharging just that, or the false impression that luxury products are easily accessible.
Social media is a great equaliser in that it grants the average user access to countless celebrity and influencer lifestyles, mixed in with our friends and family. However, when our feeds are excessively filled with luxury goods, this directly drives demand to a potentially dangerous level. Therefore, when accessibility meets it, in the form of ‘replica’ products, via short-term financing options such as fashion rental, or services such as Klarna, a brand can pass a point of which it’s presence in a market is too heavily saturated and it ceases being perceived as ‘luxury’.
The same theory applies across the board. From cars, to homes, to holidays, and even our own physical appearance. When social media creates the illusion that all of these brilliant products are easily attainable, and not just that, they’re owned by your neighbour, your best friend, and the people you went to school with, the potential to damage a person’s self-esteem can be severe.
Therefore, with brands withdrawing from social media it’ll be very interesting to see what impact that has in the long-term. Will losing the central voice of their brand, do the opposite of what they aim to achieve, and create a more customer-controlled brand image? Or will it dampen demand down to sustainable levels and drive traffic through more ‘traditional’ channels where brands can better manage the battle between demand and access?”
Whilst there are many advantageous qualities to the root-and-branch reform of social media, something brands should consider is, one of most identifying features of a successful business is its powerful approach to customer loyalty. What social media offers consumers is the ability to receive quick responses via direct messaging, as well as the opportunity to engage with brands honestly and publicly on live comments. Some argue that, as a result of axing social media, businesses run the risk of potentially thinning the line of communication between themselves and their customers.
Is This the Way Forward?
Without doubt, social media is one of the most impactful and cost-effective marketing tools available today. But as we’ve recently discovered, some brands are beginning to stand up and take notice of the damage it may be causing to, not just to their customers or their brand image, but to wider society in general. Dubbed with a disregarding attitude towards mental health, rocky data management processes, and the potential to banish a brand’s luxury image, is the social media sparkle slowly dwindling?
And as globally recognised brands like Bottega Veneta, Tesla and Lush radically re-think their social media strategies, many of us are left asking the question, is this the beginning of the great social media snub?
The time-honoured tradition of battling it out for a parking spot, brushing past rows of neatly lined linens, grabbing a quick coffee, and heading home with shopping bags bursting at the seams is under threat like never before. With Covid-19 fast-tracking the shift to online, how does in-store retail respond?
MacGregor Black takes a closer look at what’s in-store for the future of retail, including one of the most popular strategies that brands are rolling out right now, experiential marketing.
Today’s Retail Landscape?
If you’re find shopping feeling a little different these days, you’ll be glad to know you aren’t alone. Shops certainly still exist, the gladiatorial parking spot battles still commence, and coffee still powers the weary toward that one final purchase. However, in the last decade we’ve witnessed the bustling world of in-store retail evolve drastically, with many consumers now opting to get their hands on the latest products, without even stepping near a store.
Where once, to see, try on a product, and own it that day was a market owned entirely by in-store, these days technology has joined the party and is showing no signs of going home.
From ordering online, to scrolling through Instagram, the internet has opened up a plethora of alternative options for consumers to shop and it’s easy to see why many of us are choosing convenience over physical experience. As our lives get busier and our time more precious, shops naturally become less appealing. Add to this the recent pandemic and the enticing lure of the internet, with its 24-7 convenience becomes harder than ever to resist. Despite this, retail is certainly still alive & kicking, and with the threat of online competition, the natural response is… innovation.
A whole host of new and creative experiences are being rolled out for shoppers all around the globe with big name brands like Nike, Ralph Lauren and Red Bull offering their customers an in-store experience that goes far beyond the traditional shopping trip.
What Exactly is Experiential Marketing?
If you’re a film lover, or a regular book worm like myself, then there’s no doubt you’re familiar with the intoxicating feeling of being transported to new and exotic worlds, to experience something completely new. Something exciting and most importantly, unique.
This is the type of memorable, immersive experience that experiential marketeers hope to create for their audience. An experience that stands-out from the crowd and leaves us wanting more. After all, people want memories, stories, and adventures to share, not just products, and experiential marketing is a perfect way to achieve this.
Also known as ‘engagement marketing’, ‘live marketing’ or ‘participation marketing’, experiential marketing is a strategy that invites an audience to interact with a brand through a real-world, face-to-face event. In short, experiential marketing enables customers to not simply buy from a brand, but to deeply engage with and experience the brand on a personal level. According to Forbes, experiential marketing can bolster a long-lasting and unforgettable relationship between brands and customers, as well as providing brands with a unique range of opportunities to further grow and develop.
While most experiential campaigns focus on live events such as festivals, retreats, trade shows and conferences; there are no written rules. Many examples take the form of one-off installations or activations, such as product taste testing, giveaways, pop-up experiences, kiosks, and a range of other unique experiences that drive meaningful interactions with customers.
However, not simply limited to in-store, experiential marketing often crosses the borders between the physical and digital world, with many brands incorporating an online presence into their experiential strategy, such as a branded hashtags, micro-sites, and social media campaigns, to raise awareness and encourage eWoM.
Why Use Experiential Marketing?
In recent years, one of the common demands that has steadily emerged across the consumer and retail industries is, trust. The more honest, dependable, and trustworthy a brand appears, the more likely it is that consumers will shop there in the future and even recommend the brand to their friends and family. With this in mind, a sure-fire way that retailers can build confidence in their brand and ensure this season’s boots stay on the ground, is with a well-executed and engaging experiential campaign. Providing customers with the opportunity to physically meet with brand reps, try new products in person, and experience unique events, creates a feeling of connection that simply cannot be achieved exclusively through online campaigns.
Not only is experiential marketing a great way to reinforce a brand’s message and build loyalty with existing customers, but it can also be a fantastic platform for new customer acquisition. Personal interactions can go a long way when it comes to gaining a consumer’s initial buy in, as it opens up the opportunity to really understand a brand, the product, and the people behind it. In fact, according to EventTrack, a hefty 91% of consumers reported that they would be more inclined to purchase a brand’s product or service after participating in a brand activation or experience, and 40% felt they would actually become more loyal to the brand.
Similar to the intricate world of digital marketing, one of the most important benefits to experiential marketing is the ability to generate leads and gather data on potential new customers. From contact details, to demographics, brands are able to obtain and use this data to fine-tune their strategy and engage with similar people who may also be interested in their brand in the future. And when coupled with an audience that has opted into the experience on offer, the quality, quantity and also reliability of the data collected is likely to be significantly greater.
Our Top 5 Campaigns
According to HubSpot, experiential marketing now ranks as one of the top five marketing strategies that companies currently leverage, with brands all over the globe beginning to see the benefits of engaging with their customers on a personal level.
But enough talking, here are our top 5 most interesting experiential campaigns launched to date:
SNCF – ‘Europe is Just Next Door’
In 2012, French rail network, SNCF teamed up with ad agency, TBWA, to put their company on the map, with the launch of their ‘Europe is Just Next Door’ campaign. The railway company created a virtual traveling experience for city goers all over Europe, by placing brightly coloured doors in major EU cities, waiting patiently to be opened by curious passers-by. Behind each door was a real-time event that offered pedestrians the chance to be transported to beautiful cities around the world with just the twist of a handle. It could be a street performer on the bustling banks of the Seine River, an enthusiastic mime surrounded by mesmerised crowds on the streets of Milan, or even a sketch artist eagerly waiting to paint your portrait from a park bench in Brussels. The campaign created a connection not only between the consumer and the location, but also with SNCF, placing it as a company that could turn your dream European trip, into a reality.
Pepsi’s ‘Pepsi Touch’ Social Vending Machine
Using interactive digital technology, PepsiCo launched a state-of-the-art Social Vending Machine, which transformed the simple metal box, into a vessel for kindness. The impressive system allowed users to gift their friends a pre-paid bottle of Pepsi, from a far-away location. For the user, they simply add in the receipts name, mobile number and a personalised video message, and the receiver of the beverage is sent a system code and instructions to retrieve the drink, free of charge, from a selected machine. The campaign also allowed people to commit random acts of refreshment by purchasing a drink for a stranger or sending “a symbol of encouragement to a city that’s experienced some challenging weather or a congratulatory beverage to a university that just won a championship,” PepsiCo said.
This is a great example of how experiential marketing opens the doors for brands to gather as much useful data from potential customers as possible.
‘Scoops Ahoy’ – Netflix & Baskin Robbins
In the hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, 80’s teen, Steve Harrington worked at the fictional ice cream parlour, Scoops Ahoy. In 2019, the well-known streaming platform, Netflix and leading American ice cream specialists, Baskin Robbins teamed up in an epic attempt to bring the on-screen ice cream shop to life. The campaign consisted of a range of different elements that launched steadily across America, including a shop, which remained open for two weeks, a 15 second commercial advertising the famous USS Butterscotch ice cream as seen on the show, an ice cream yacht, and a social media campaign to spread the word. The creative campaign also featured a Scoops Ahoy themed van travelling around the UK, giving out free retro flavoured ice-cream to excited Stranger Things fans in busy cities including, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Exeter, and Dublin.
The Fortnite Rift Tour
Fornite, one of the biggest gaming franchises in the world and Ariana Grande, Guinness World Record holder for the most songs to debut at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, teamed up to create an out-of-this-world musical experience. The Fortnite Rift Tour, held in the metaverse, was an event that pushed the boundaries of experiential marketing to the max, bringing virtual, hybrid and in-person events all in one place. The partnership saw experiential marketing professionals working with the metaverse to create a new range of immersive, high-tech events. As part of the campaign, Ariana Grande gave her first live performance in two years, exclusively for her fans in the metaverse. The detailed digital setting also allowed the audience to explore the colourful world of Fortnite, with interactive mini-games and challenges available throughout the event.
Proud and Present by lululemon
A key theme in many successful experiential campaigns is to eliminate the need to generate direct revenue from it. Instead opting to create a brand experience that your customers will never forget. In 2019, American apparel retailer, lululemon, launched the ‘Proud and Present’ campaign encouraging reflection within the LGBTQ21A+ community. The activation saw the execution of a full social campaign, two in-person experiences, and multiple in-store campaigns. The brand worked with their employees to create intimate, personal photos and videos which discussed topics impacting their community, which were shared on social media and brought to life in an outdoor installation in Hudson River Park in New York City. For two weeks, the brand also hosted LGBTQ21A+ inspired yoga sessions in the park to raise funds to support The Trevor Projects work with the community.
In conclusion, as customers become increasingly aware of when, where, and how they shop, and the battle for convenience rages on, the in-store experience, now more than ever must stand out from the crowd. And with almost 60% of consumers now expecting retailers to dedicate more floor space to experiences, rather than just products, the future of retail has a clear expectation. Even a whopping 81% of consumer said they were more likely to open their wallets and pay more for products that offered an upgraded their overall shopping experience.
With that in mind, keep your eyes peeled for the latest in activations and events at your local stores!
If you’d like to speak to our team of Retail Marketing recruitment specialists, get in touch today via 0191 691 1949 or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Clothing & apparel, like many other industries, has swung back and forth navigating the intricacies of Covid-19, countrywide lockdowns, and the ever-changing societal habits that have ensued. As the pandemic has irreversibly accelerated the shift to not only digital, but also experiences we have as customers, one such brand has not only successfully navigated the pandemic, but done so building an army of loyal customers with an unwavering commitment to purpose, quality, and most all… building in Britain.
We sat down with Oliver Massy-Birch, Director of clothing brand, Fortis, to talk outdoors, apparel, and what the future holds for the brand flying the flag for British manufacturing.
MacGregor Black: So Oliver, to a newcomer out there, how do you introduce them to Fortis?
Oliver: Well, the first thing people say about us, is that we’re very different.
The idea we have at Fortis is to make something that is going to be a trusted friend for a long, long time. And not only that, but to make it in Britain, with British fabrics. Manufacturing in the UK has been depleted for years as the fashion world is very much, centred around fast fashion. We’re very much going against that.
We want to increase the demand for, what we call slow fashion. And that means making a better product. It’s a bit more expensive, but it is going to last longer, have a repair service, and you know, have all of these things that incorporate something that you’re going to have for years to come.
MacGregor Black: Going down the ‘slow fashion’ route, is that something that you’ve pursued, where did the decision come from?
Oliver: It came very much from my father, who to begin with, manufactured for the police & military world. Then he moved into the shooting, fishing, and farming markets. So, when I took over, I just saw it as ‘we can do this right across the board.’, it doesn’t just have to be a brand for, you know, the hardcore country types.
It can be the same technology, the same quality, just across fashion markets, but also to lead the way in that actually, you don’t have to change the colour of your jacket every year. You can have it for the next five years, six years, whatever it may be, because it’s quality, and it fits well.
And I’m a big advocate of that. A well-made product does look very nice. So, I will always say something of quality is absolutely on trend. So we aim to cater to that base going forward and fit that demand, if you like.
MacGregor Black: In the last decade we’ve certainly seen a noticeable shift in buying behaviour, where there’s now a greater need for fashion to also be functional for the everyday consumer. Particularly over the last 3-4 years there are luxury brands that have a deep history in producing purpose-built clothing, such as Canada Goose and Moncler, that have incredible success in the Fashion industry, due to positioning in that specific category.
Is this something you can see happening to Fortis in the future?
Oliver: I think the ‘made-to-order’ market we are right now is a very good market… and importantly, it’s a growing market. There are a few things that make it a little, confused if you like. You can have police officers in forces jackets, farmers in forces jackets, and shooting & fishing in them too, as along the way, one item can meet the needs of many. You know, the core ideals of staying dry, comfortable, and ultimately having their needs met are our priority.
So, I don’t see us going down the route of saying we’ll design a piece for this purpose and this market only, and that’s how it will stay.
As long as we meet our functional performance and sustainability promises. I’m happy to move and steer our direction as we see it developing. Whether that be in five years’ time or 20 years’ time.
MacGregor Black: You mentioned earlier that many people describe Fortis as ‘very different’. One of the ‘stand-outs’ for me is your commitment to manufacturing in Britain. Why is it so important to you that this remains at the core of Fortis? Oliver: For me, I know tomorrow we could pick it up in China and you have make five, six times the profits, maybe more.
But the issue for me with that, is that there’s a principle. And the principle for me is that okay, great, I enjoy what we do and I enjoy making profit that we can reinvest into the company and into the local community. And you want to do exactly that over time. But there’s also something about creating a positive, lasting legacy. One of something that is quite different… and special. Rather than being just another company that manufactures in China.
Thinking ahead, how sustainable really is that for the environment? Fewer miles for our materials and products to travel means reducing our carbon footprint. We’re going to bring it down by manufacturing in Britain, and in the long run it’ll make a big difference.
Ultimately, we’re doing the same processes, but we’re doing them in Britain, and to a better standard. So there is a long term plan.
And I’m an outdoorsman myself, so the environment is the biggest thing for me. So we think, why can Fortis not lead the way for the fashion world?
MacGregor Black: Finally, to round things off, give me the five words that embody Fortis now and to move forward with.
With Oliver at the helm, Fortis looks to be in good hands, and with a flexible strategy for the future, centred around it’s unwavering core principles of quality, sustainability, and trust, it’s easy to see why they’ve been quick to gain such a loyal following.