Rethinking Creativity to Better Meet Fashion ChallengesInterviews
The release of NellyRodi’s latest fashion trendbooks (“Women & Men 2021”) offers a timely opportunity to talk to Global Creative Director Cécile Rosenstrauch about the challenges facing the fashion sector and how the agency has updated its methodology to meet them.
What are the major challenges facing the fashion sector?
It is our conviction that the fashion sector is undergoing major upheavals. Longtime players and new entrants alike will now have to excel on three fronts – corporate social responsibility, agility and creativity – while preserving their singularity and coherence.
Contrary to common belief, the key transformations underway, especially in the areas of transparency and eco-responsibility, represent tremendous opportunities for the sector. For instance, it will now be able to support creativity by inventing new processes and tools (especially digital) that are increasingly agile and convenient.
It is time to rethink job descriptions, find new ways to generate intra-team synergy and develop more horizontal, collaborative approaches.
This leads to another notion, i.e.the renewal of creative vision. While creativity has long been viewed through the prism of a product’s aesthetics (e.g. print motif or color), it is now perceived as part of a global approach to ensure desirability and singularity. In other words, creativity is understood to encompass not only the product, but also the 360° vision of a brand’s touchpoints (e.g. website, social platforms, physical stores and merchandising).
How will this affect future processes and job descriptions?
Well, creative minds will always find solutions!Since competition is fierce, the constraints associated with industry-wide changes must be perceived as an opportunity to boost creativity. For instance, the issue of eco-responsibilility is an excellent reason for a brand to introduce intelligent, eco-friendly practices at every echelon as well as innovations bearing on its materials as well as its storytelling, points of sale and services.
In parallel, brands need to update their collection design process by integrating today’s paradoxes (anticipation/reaction, trendiness/reassurance, practicality/creativity, surprise/transparency) in order to cultivate positive friction. They will also have to better identify what consumers really want in terms of price level, novelty, transparency, emotion, concepts, surprise effects, co-construction and customer experience.
While anticipation has always been a defining characteristic of the fashion sector, we believe that the creative path has changed. Now more than ever, it is crucial for each fashion brand to transition from its current market positioning and commercial action plan (defining the brand’s discourse, engagement, lifestyle, capsule collections, storytelling and commercial/cultural events) to a more horizontal mode of collection construction.
How has NellyRodi responded to these major upheavals with regard to methodology?
We have completely revised our methodology to produce the “Men & Women 2021” trendbooks. Instead of organizing our concepts by theme, we took a more pragmatic approach, closer to our customers’ business realities, by presenting our conceptsin terms of color, must-have products and inspiring capsule collections.
Our current aim is to provide operational and creative suggestions based on consumption realities via our Consumer Profil Tracker©, a tool designed for a variety of users including buyers, product managers, visual merchandisers and marketing personnel. This distinctive “turn key” tool will also enhance convenience and creativity for product developers as well as provide a source of inspiration for in-store events, merchandising strategy and formulating editorial guidelines for communication tools.
Our dual priority for both trendbooks was to account for our clients’ business realities while meeting their demand for inspirations.