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Fashion Futures Event Returns with Hybrid Format

The numerous challenges that the apparel industry is facing go beyond borders.

The upcoming Fashion Futures event from Dec. 10-11 across Riyadh, New York and Paris, is aiming to provide a platform for international dialogue to solve some of the top issues in the business.

Organized by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Commission, Fashion Futures was originally launched in 2019. For the 2021 year, the event has switched over to a digital format, and is centered on the theme “Building a New Fashion System.” The latest edition of the hybrid in-person and online summit will be broadcast from Riyadh, New York and Paris, allowing viewers around the globe to tune in. The educational event is geared toward both those in the industry and consumers who are passionate about fashion.

One major pillar for the two-day event will be sustainability and advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Kering Group’s chief sustainability officer and institutional affairs officer Marie-Claire Daveu will share her thoughts on remaking the luxury market to be more sustainable. In another session Carry Somers, the co-founder and global operations director of Fashion Revolution, will be speaking about transparency as it relates to garment workers. Other topics include the Amazon Rainforest, textile developments, slow fashion, secondhand and “The Ecofashion Mindset.”

Another item on the agenda is diversity and inclusion. African Fashion Foundation founder Roberta Annan will speak about “Cultural Empowerment Through Local Collaborations.” And a panel including 11 Honoré founder and CEO Patrick Herning, Chromat creative director Becca McCharen-Tran and The Narativ founder Farai Simoyi will cover “Inclusivity in Size, Gender and Color.”

Innovation is also a focus of conversation, with a look at how fashion is merging with technology. Mulberry Group CEO Thierry Andretta and Marigay McKee, co-founder of Fernbrook Capital Management and the former president of Saks Fifth Avenue, will chat about e-commerce. And Google’s technical lead and director of engineering Dr. Ivan Poupyrev will discuss wearable technology.

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Rounding out the themes for the event is entrepreneurship. Speakers throughout the two days include the founders behind startups such as deadstock textile marketplace Queen of Raw, traceability solution Arianee, and fashion tech company Wearable X. Additionally, LVMH’s open innovation director Laetitia Roche-Grenet will speak on “How Startups Can Construct the Future of Luxury.

Other subjects include the evolution of retail and what the future holds for fashion weeks.

Among the speakers is Sourcing Journal founder and president Edward Hertzman, whose keynote will explain why the “Status Quo Means Falling Behind.”

As part of Fashion Futures, Global Fashion Exchange will be hosting a clothing swap. From Dec. 5-10, consumers can bring gently used fashion to the Personage store in Riyadh to donate it ahead of the swap. Then on Dec. 11-12, the trade will take place in the store. Those wishing to participate must bring at least one item with them that is clean and in good shape. Instead of exchanging any money, swappers are given a token per item, allowing them to exchange tokens for new items on a one-to-one basis. The event will also include installations and workshops on sustainability.

“The Fashion Commission is honored to host the Global Fashion Exchange, which will be taking place in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the first time ever,” said Her Highness Princess Noura Bint Faisal Al Saud, ecosystem integration and program delivery general manager for the Fashion Commission, who is leading Fashion Futures alongside Fashion Commission CEO Burak Cakmak. “The GFX activation aims to shift the mindset of not only brands, but also consumers towards sustainable consumption and encourages a more sustainable perception in the future.”