On Saturday, the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund hosted the inaugural Hearst Summer Institute, an informative session for Scholars and Alumni, as part of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund Summer Kick Off. Guests were welcomed with a large breakfast and YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund gift bags, containing sunglasses generously donated by Board Member Mark Ginsberg of Marchon Eyewear, Inc., a YMA FSF notepad, and a brochure that outlined the morning’s events.
The Hearst Summer Institute began with a presentation entitled "Your Future in The Business of Fashion" from California Fashion Association President, Ilse Metchek. IIse discussed current career opportunities and employment requirements for incoming fashion retailers, merchandisers, executives, and entrepreneurs, which change frequently. She advised students to have a clear focus on future opportunities, and to be observant of industry shifts. She also gave an overview of the necessary skill sets and upward mobility requirements for working in the fashion industry.
Ilse then discussed several aspects relating to the business of fashion including sizing, labeling requirements, shipping costs, and US Customs. She told students that before design and merchandising, they must first be aware of distribution channels, product sourcing, and intellectual property. Ilse highlighted the vast array of distribution channels for fashion products, from online to specialty stores and beyond, and noted that while many see online as the most promising channel for fashion’s future, what may be the fasting growing retail channel is actually the outlet store, with 180 doors open in 2014 and 185 in 2015. One example Ilse used was Macy’s “Backstage” initiative, which now has 6 metro locations in New York City.
According to IIse, even though online may not be the fastest growing retail channel, it’s influence on the fashion world is undeniable, with the internet influencing approximately 60% of in store sales by the end of 2016.
One of the most interesting parts of Ilse’s presentation was when she compared the fashion business’ old mantra, “The right product in the right place at the right time”, with today’s new mantra, “The right offer for the right consumers in the right channel with the right voice”. She walked Scholars and Alumni through the omnichannel ‘story’, starting with the brand’s website, using blogs to grow the story, Facebook to share the story, YouTube and online videos to demonstrate the story, and a wide range of other social media platforms to further communicate the story with consumers. She also covered the onmichannel requirements for brand recognition, from in-store display to customer loyalty programs. Next, Ilse compared the advantages and disadvantages of global versus local sourcing and manufacturing. She then gave guests an overview of what intellectual property means in the fashion industry. Finally, Ilse presented current business trends in fashion, including licensing, private label, “clicks to bricks”, and technology, and shared her predictions on future trends.
Ilse's presentation was followed by an informative session from iSow Founder and CEO, Tanya Van Court. Tanya discussed the importance of planning your financial future and introduced Scholars and Alumni to her company, iSow, which aims to change gift giving by having family members and friends fund goals (instead of traditional gifts) in 3 categories: saving for the future, sharing with others, and spending on things that matter to you. This "save, share, spend" approach is one of the core tenets of personal finance and investment. After the presentations, iSow Director of Strategic Partnerships and User Acquisition, Emily Glasser, took several scholars out to lunch to further discuss her business strategy and get feedback from the students. For more information on iSow, check out their website here.
A special thank you to Hearst, Ilse Metchek and the California Fashion Association, Tanya Van Court, Emily Glasser and the iSow team for making the Hearst Summer Institute an incredibly memorable and educational experience!
Stay tuned for our next recap!
- Katherine Manson, YMA FSF 2016 Scholar
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