Interview to the brand strategist Yossi Fisher: the fashion system after Covid-19

We have interviewed Yossi Fisher, a brand consultant and brand strategist who also in this delicate period is carrying out international projects with costumers and associations. Here some reflections related to the phase that the fashion system is going through.

You are connected with many creative people around the world. What is the general sentiment of the people about this moment?

There are a lot of emotions circulating these days, and respectfully so.  There’s no denying the uncertainty of these times. What I’m noticing is while some are seeing the troubles it’s causing in their careers or businesses, the majority of those people are using this time as a way of re-assessing what truly makes them happy, and what they want to return to – or not, when this is all over. Ultimately,  it seems to be a time of great reflection, and people are using it as a way to step back and redefine the values their careers and businesses are built on, and their progressive relevance – or lack there of, as we move towards navigating a whole new set of industry landscapes.

How do you think the fashion system will overcome the crisis and rethink its models?

The fashion system is now forced to take a massive step back and re-asses itself in its entirety. Everything from freelance structures to content, production to manufacturing, retail to design and all the way though to Live streaming, Fashion Weeks, PR dynamics, and digital initiatives … and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As a system all of its components effect the Fashion Economy and how the industry operates as a whole. The entire idea of Fashion will be forced to take a massive step backwards in order for it to move forward. As a collective industry we all have felt in one way or another how broken it’s all become, but there was nothing truly driving change across all of its channels until now, making this a very exciting time.

In my opinion, there’s too much romance and idealism and not enough practicality in the system. I believe this crisis will be the catalyst for healthier business practices, as well as a stimulus for mental health initiatives, especially within freelance and creative communities. Many within those circles are already rethinking why they’ve put themselves through so much financial uncertainty and lack of job stability for so long.

As they find new interests and hobbies that make them happier during this forced pause, many are questioning what exactly it is they’re going to want to do after this is all over. Regarding Businesses, they will need to humanise their practices even further, and will have to face massive questions like; whether trading off ethical values for higher margins and selling more products is emotionally or environmentally sustainable, and how their supply chains and practices will be scrutinized by their consumers as people’s values and humanities change. Many feel that sustainability will be a driving force forward, but even that has its challenges; especially how it tends to price out many consumers who share its values, but can’t afford the slow fashion price points.

As we enter a world with less people employed, and strained finances, many businesses are going to have to strategically reframe their losses if they plan on getting ahead of the curve and have a hand in redefining the industry.

How do u see the future of the retail (physical stores vs digital?)

We are very far away from a completely online world but we are evolving for sure, there’s no question. Physical and digital will both play a massive part in the future of retail, but they will both have to be much more consumer centric. Physical spaces may need to downsize, integrate more digital components, hold less stock, and treat their spaces more as experiential than just a place to shop.

Dynamic in-store brand experiences that revolve more around their culture than products will be a good way to keep consumers coming back, which will usher in the opportunity for much more dynamic collaborations. Online digital initiatives will have to become more personal as well though. Currently E-com shopping lacks personalization and engaging emotional prompts, so having brand specialists go live with scheduled showings, presentations, and collection run-throughs (one on one with VIP’s or mass sessions, where consumers can chime in with questions to better understand their purchases) will be a great way to deepen community, trust and drive D2C conversations.

We will certainly witness more confusion and market disruptions while everyone finds their bearings. Physical retail may need to scale back to invest finances deeper in to their ecosystem, while the Digital realm may require more testing investment as the depths of its foundations and structures are still being explored. I believe the brands that will win he next 6-18 months will be the ones promoting more ethically driven, consumer-centric businesses models.

You started some live conversations with designers and entrepreneurs. What did u get from these dialogues?

I have really enjoyed the IG-Live Talks & Zoom Sessions I’ve been a part of during these times. It’s allowed me to share tips, strategies, and insights with so many communities and platforms (like here on MANINTOWN). More than anything though, I’ve really been using those opportunities to really listen to the ones I’ve been engaging with and the questions I’ve been receiving from our collective followings.

Taking an empathetic approach to these conversations has allowed me to forecast what the world will need post Covid-19. One thing I’ve noticed to be a constant though is the human approach in how these LIVE Talks have been playing out. We’re all vulnerable to these massive global shifts, and it’s obvious just how interconnected we all are. Everyone needs to remember that although we are all going through our own set of challenges, we truly are all in this together. Social media and online communities are offering support in many different forms, and that has really been beautiful to see.

What is your advice for the companies and brands to restart?

EQ is now more important than IQ. The future of companies and brands won’t be products or services; it will be empathy. Leading with empathy at this time and perpetually forward will fundamentally be the most important tool at our disposal.

The humans and businesses that are going to come out of this on-top are the ones that aren’t solely focussing on their problems, but rather on how to solve the ones everyone else is facing. For example; many people have been, and unfortunately will continue to lose their jobs.

As a boutique, perhaps a good idea would be to create a campaign initiative for people that have recently found themselves unemployed, offering a complete outfit (suiting, etc.) + a CV consultation (perhaps serviced through an outsourced professional). That way when businesses open up and start hiring again, these people will be ready and well equipped to hit the market and better their lives again. Consider this a stronger shift towards a Giving Economy.

If you’re a CBD company, perhaps integrate in to your culture a meditation series, exercise video’s, journaling tips, healthy eating to promote clean bodies, etc. Look at ways to help others with their mental health right now. Provide free structured self betterment initiatives, provide resources to nurture and support people’s mental spaces. Both those ideas show that your business actually cares, and that’s what people need now more than ever.

Innovating consumer appreciation initiatives across physical and digital channels will fundamentally compound success rates over time, deepen community appreciation, and strengthen customer relations.

To offer a starting point strategy, Businesses should be asking question like; what do our consumers care about,  what would elevate their lives, and how can we express to them that our values align with theirs? How do we do it in a way that isn’t a direct sell? How we do we humanise our approach?

These are the types of healthy, empathetic actions needed not only to restore our trust in brands, but more importantly, our faith in humanity.

yossifisher.com; IG: @yossi_fisher

Photographed by nathanrichardsphoto.com; IG: @nathanrichardsphoto

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