In a politically troubled world obsessed with technology, many fashion and retail brands need to catch up.
And just how to move forward and where to direct the cap ex will be a focus of the next WWD Apparel + Retail CEO Summit, being held Oct. 24 and 25 at The Pierre in Manhattan. Several digitally driven firms — both start-ups and established companies — will lay out their business models and strategies and provide takeaways on how to navigate the future in an industry getting increasingly mobile, transparent and dominated by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Amazon Inc. and Alibaba Group.
Among the presenters, Mike Karinikolas and Michael Mente, cofounders and co-chief executive officers of Revolve Clothing, where data and optimization is central to creating engaging and curated shopping experiences; J. Michael Evans, president of the Alibaba Group, which provides technology infrastructure and marketing to help merchants, brands and other businesses leverage the power of the Internet; Neil Blumenthal, co-ceo and cofounder of Warby Parker, which has revolutionized the price-value equation in eyewear, and Julie Wainwright, ceo of The RealReal, which catapulted luxury consignment onto the Internet. She’ll also receive the WWD Honor for best-performing small-cap firm.
Other innovators presenting at the summit will be Marco Bizzarri, ceo of Gucci, who also will receive the Edward Nardoza Honor for CEO/Creative Leadership; Pete Nordstrom, copresident of Nordstrom Inc., an early adopter of technology to reduce the friction from shopping and deliver enhanced online and brick and mortar experiences and service; Vibhu Norby, ceo and cofounder of b8ta, a software-powered firm that has pioneered a “retail as service” model and aims to make physical retail accessible to small producers, and Patrick Chalhoub, cofounder and co-ceo of Chalhoub Group, a leading operator of luxury brands in the Middle East, which is guided by a philosophy that retail experiences are “the new luxury.”
Barneys New York ceo and president Daniella Vitale, is also booked to speak. Barneys is undergoing a culture shift by getting data-driven, and earlier this year, the hip luxury retail hired its first chief information officer.
Others set to speak are Kris Jenner; Tommy Hilfiger; Andrea Mitchell from NBC News, and Kendra Scott, chairman, ceo and founder of Kendra Scott LLC.
While the speaker lineup is one of the strongest ever, Rihanna has informed WWD that she will be unable to speak at the summit due to a sudden scheduling conflict involving personal, family reasons.
The legendary Karl Lagerfeld will receive the John B. Fairchild Honor, which is dedicated to the lifetime of service and fashion influence of WWD’s late chairman and editorial director. He also will hold a conversation with WWD executive editor Bridget Foley.
Other honorees will include Moncler as the best-performing company in the large-cap category and Patagonia for corporate citizenship.
About 250 c-suite leaders from near and far are expected to attend the summit where they will network, reconnect with colleagues and friends from the past, and learn about systemic shifts in branding, consumer tastes and trends, how to contend with retail square footage — take it down or put more up — and the impact of private equity.