The Movers + Makers are preparing to gather in Manhattan for the annual WWD Apparel & Retail CEO Summit at the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel Oct. 29 and 30.
This year’s theme, Movers + Makers, highlights the people who are powering the fashion business through a continuing whirlwind of change.
And while almost everything could change between now and October, some constants can be expected to remain. Generation Alpha will still loom as the next big consumer base. Technological reinvention will have everyone on high alert. Sustainability will be a goal still in the industry’s future. And the geopolitics of the moment will remain confounding to brands with global ambitions.
To parse what it all means — from designer to streetwear to mass — there will be a slate of speakers responsible for some of fashion’s largest and most influential businesses. Among the chief executive officers taking the stage to help unpack the future will be:
- Manny Chirico, PVH Corp.
- Marc Lore, Walmart e-commerce U.S.
- Patrice Louvet, Ralph Lauren Corp.
- Alessandro Bogliolo, Tiffany & Co.
- Calvin McDonald, Lululemon Athletica Inc.
- Helena Foulkes, Hudson’s Bay Co.
- Art Peck, Gap Inc.
- Silvio Campara, Golden Goose
- John McPheters, co-ceo Stadium Goods
Also weighing in from the executive suite will be Jamie Nordstrom, president of stores at Nordstrom Inc., and Mike Smith, president and chief operating officer at Stitch Fix Inc. And among those the speakers with their finger on the creative pulse of the industry will be Kerby Jean-Raymond, creative director and founder of Pyer Moss.
From Chirico’s move to appoint Stefan Larsson as heir apparent at PVH to Foulkes’ remaking of Hudson’s Bay to McPheters’ deft handling of the sneaker craze at Stadium Goods to the Old Navy-Gap split Peck is navigating, each speaker is leading a business on the move.
And they’ll have to keep on the move to stay abreast of the consumer, technology and stock market, which has been particularly punishing for retailers and fashion companies lately, given the U.S.-China trade war and a slow sales start for many this year.
The anecdote to all this commotion, at least for some, is size.
Chirico recently told WWD: “In our industry, the big are only going to get bigger. I don’t know how you run a monobrand in this environment because of all the pressure that’s put on you from a cost point of view….If you have a single brand, I think the challenge is you’ll make wrong decisions for the brand to stretch for growth. In the retail apparel space, the world is shifting under our feet. The distribution model has completely changed over the past five years and is going to continue to change. Five years ago, I would not have anticipated in apparel that e-comm, in all its forms, would be as big as it is.”
And in five more years, who knows? But whatever that future ultimately looks like, many of the people shaping it will be plotting their courses at the WWD CEO Summit.