In our new WGSN series we’re interviewing fashion powerhouses:here’s Amy White on why fashion branding matters and the innovative things Avery Dennison does
It’s an exciting week this week at WGSN HQ, as we’ve just celebrated the WGSN Futures Summit and Awards show – with an incredible roster of fashion industry experts joining us to discuss the trends that will change the fashion industry over the next 15 years.
We caught up with Amy White, VP Marketing Communications & Sustainability at Avery Dennison. Avery Dennison are the leaders in creating fashion branding, packaging and more. At the WGSN awards they also had their very own award category to support and encourage young design talent, with the Avery Dennison Emerging Brand category award.
Here, Amy explains how she got her role and why fashion branding matters:
Q: What does your job entail?
I have been leading branding solutions for Avery Dennison for the last three years, which, in short, means I lead a team working closely with our global brand, retailer and factory partners to understand their branding needs and translate them into labelling, packaging and embellishments.
This could mean anything from collaborating with performance brands and designing embellishments for World Cup 2018 kits, to partnering with designers on innovations and branding for seasonal catwalk shows.
For example, we just expanded our component weave technology, which has already been used by a major sneaker brand as well as been seen on the catwalk for AW16, when we partnered with Holly Fulton for her London Fashion Week show in February.
Q: What are the biggest challenges that fashion will face in the future?
Honestly, I think one of the biggest challenges will be in creating a sustainable model for fashion. I don’t just mean in sustainable materials, but in finding an overall balance in sustainable consumption and production. One campaign – if that is the right term – that really blew my mind was the documentary The True Cost.
You often have to be hit with the hard reality to remember the challenges the fashion industry faces, and that hard truth reminds us we’re also responsible for improving it.
The organisation Fashion Revolution’s work also keeps that at the forefront of my mind. I also like outdoor gear brand REI’s campaign #optoutside to boycott Black Friday by urging everyone to get outdoors rather than joining in with the discounting madness. I think we have to push back against continual mass consumption and crazy discounting. I might be an idealist but I don’t see how that co-exists with a responsible industry.
Q: What are some of the cool retail strategies that are exciting you right now?
I like contrasts – I love both highly digital or customisable experiences as well as very simple ones. I recently went into Shinola while in Chicago. I loved the relaxed artisan feel of the store, as well as the ability to personalise product in-store. It’s slow and luxurious, but coupled with a responsible story of American-made premium goods.
In parallel, I’m a multi-channel shopper. I have very little time to go to stores, so I like discovering brands online, and having a great online or mobile experience with that brand. I hate it when a brand is out of stock or inflexible on delivery terms – I’m definitely guilty of the ‘want it now’ syndrome.
What is exciting is that data is actually becoming the answer to both getting the mobile experience right, and personalising a store experience. Avery Dennison are the world’s largest provider of RFID solutions, which are used for inventory accuracy as well as in-store experience, such as interactive fitting room mirrors.
On top of that we just launched Janela™ – which is an ‘internet of things’ platform for garments. Having the ability to interact with your clothes, and trace garments from creation through to end-of-life opens up multiple opportunities for brands.
Q: Where do you think the next big success stories in the fashion industry are going to come from?
I think success will continue to come from multiple places, but I guess as a consumer I am really interested in fashion tech. What will the store of the future or the garment of the future be? I’m excited to see who really mixes that up.
WGSN Futures, London: Interested in finding out who the full list of winners were at WGSN Futures, Head here.