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Fashion’s future lies overseas, says Andy Rubin

Pentland Brands boss advises Next Generation delegates to plan for the longer term and sustainability.

Future leaders of fashion businesses should focus on international expansion including the “Next 11” countries,
which could equal the Bric territories, said Pentland Brands’ chief executive Andy Rubin.

Emerging markets will be core to success for the next generation, according to Rubin, who advised delegates to think in longer time frames of up to 20 years, rather than simply working towards the next season.

By 2022 China will account for one quarter of global retail sales, he said, urging delegates to think of the impact this would have not just on China, but also on the UK sector.

As well as China, Rubin urged delegates to “watch out” for the Next 11 countries - Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey, Philippines, South Korea and Vietnam - which economists at Goldman Sachs have identified as having the potential to become the world’s largest economies this century, alongside the Bric countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

Rubin said: “Everyone should know the Bric markets; if you don’t, tattoo them onto the inside of your eyelids because they are going to be the biggest, most important economies in our lifetimes.”

Rubin stressed that these “emerging” countries should in fact be seen as fully emerged, fast-growth markets.

As well as the importance of being omni-savvy and social media-savvy as part of the continued growth of online retailing, Rubin also stressed the growing relevance of thinking sustainably.

He predicted the current focus on carbon footprints would shift to issues relating to water usage and how its scarcity relates to the fashion industry.

Pentland Brands - whose portfolio includes Boxfresh, Hunter, Canterbury of New Zealand and Red or Dead - is working with the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index to ensure that in future all garments will feature labels detailing their sustainable credentials.

“If you aren’t doing enough in this area then you aren’t going to have a choice, because the consumer is going to demand it,” he said.

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