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What we learnt from top fashion leaders in 2018

Over the past 12 months, Drapers has picked the brains of a host of top dogs leading the fashion industry. Spanning everything from driving sustainability to delivering a strategic business plan, we round up their best advice. 



web mark langer by toby lewis thomas 2018 2

Mark Langer, CEO of Hugo Boss, on benefiting from risk-taking:

“Risks are rewarded in our industry, as are challenges to the status quo. This is one part of my role that I particularly enjoy. We are all about building a bigger, more profitable business. You need to stay true to your core, but never stand still.”

Read the full interview: The man re-tailoring Hugo Boss 

marie claire

Marie-Claire Daveu, chief sustainability officer of Kering, on championing change:

“It’s never finished when it comes to sustainability. You can always continue to improve. All the targets are first to reduce our environmental impacts, and then to create positive externalities. There is never an end – you have to continue to progress.

“It’s critical to implement sustainability and fight climate change to ensure it is not too late for the planet we leave for our children. It’s very important for every business, every company and every sector to say that sustainability is not optional: it is a necessity if we want to develop and continue our businesses. There is no future without it.”

Read the full interview: Kering’s champion of change

toby bateman

Toby Bateman, managing director of Mr Porter, on building an online brand:

“What works is that our content has integrity. People don’t feel like we are shoving things down their throat. I don’t go to [the content team] saying, ‘These are the slow sellers – can you do a story on them?’ I never have, and I never will.

“You have to be [as much] a tech company to a successful online retailer nowadays. We couldn’t have grown to the size that we are without having a really solid platform – and without developing a website that is pleasing aesthetically, but also instinctive, and fast to navigate and operate.”

Read the full interview: Meet the original Mr Porter

Jonny kidd left, tony cooke 1 right rt2

Jonny Kidd (left) and Tony Cooke

Jonny Kidd, senior director of brand activation at Reebok, on creating an active workplace:

“We encourage everyone to be the best version of themselves and sport is at the heart of everything we do. We wanted to make sure we have a facility that could assess, educate and help people grow, and improve physically, mentally and socially. A big part of our business and culture is how we look after the people.

“The physical environment of the office helps people get together and chat, while the fitness element helps camaraderie as well. There has always been a sense of team and supportiveness in the business, but this has heightened it.”

Tony Cooke, vice-president of HR for regional west of Europe at Adidas Group, on designing offices to encourage your staff:

”It’s a concept based around realising the needs of employees have changed and trying to build an environment where people will be more productive, creative, happier and more motivated.

“We want to be in a position where we are relieving employees of their worries and providing them with the tools they need.”

Read the full interview: Inside Adidas Group’s performance-enhancing HQ


holli rogers for web

Holli Rogers

Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns, on leading the charge for women in business:

“I think, unfortunately, a lot of women are not taught that they can be CEOs, and that’s been another reason for me taking the job to be honest. I want to be an example for women.”

and on the future of bricks-and-mortar retail:

“Why can’t a shop be transient? Why can’t it be whatever we want? As long as you know intrinsically what Browns stands for, it can be anything, and anywhere, for any length of time. The whole idea of cookie-cutter retail spaces is very outdated.”

Read the full interview: Meet Holli Rogers, Browns’ maestro of product


Ditte and nicolaj reffstrup ganni

Ditte (left) and Nicolaj Reffstrup

Ditte Reffstrup, creative director of Ganni, on building a brand: 

“For me, it is so important to take care of the brand. I’ve seen so many labels expand too quickly and end up killing their brand in the process. I want our kids to grow up with Ganni.”

Nicolaj Reffstrup, chief executive of Ganni, on taking on investment: 

“Some of the most important decisions we’ve made in the past with Ganni as a brand has been allowing ourselves to say no to a lot of accounts. It’s interesting – it’s strange for me, coming from a tech background, to come to the fashion industry where it is taboo to some extent to talk about taking on investment.

“Nobody talks about it, but everybody has it. In tech, it is a huge victory when you bring on capital, and it’s an even bigger victory if you manage to sell your company. I knew from the very beginning that if you want to create an international brand, you need the backing of someone who has done it before.”

Read the full interview: Danish darlings: the canny couple behind scandi superbrand Ganni

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