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CEO, TEMPERLEY LONDON
FASHION'S RESPONSE TO COVID-19, EDITION 1

Since our last edition of Mode Meets much has changed. Following a global pandemic we are faced with a contraction in global revenues not seen since World War II, massively affecting every sector from  hospitality to Media and Entertainment. The fashion retail sector has been hit considerably hard due to widespread international store closures, reliant on online channels only during this time. Fashion is currently focused on crisis management and contingency planning, but eventually it could be that we are moving towards re-imagining our industry altogether. That being said we felt this edition of Mode Meets should  look to the future and what positive changes could be made to ensure the industry is more resilient. How can we speed up sustainability and should we re-set the fashion cycle are popular questions for our industry right now.

 Mode Meets recently interviewed (via Zoom of course) Luca Donnini, CEO at Temperley London since 2019.  Luca began his career at MaxMara supporting the founder in developing the brand on a global platform. In 2013 Luca also founded Officina Lifestyle, an Advisory C Suite Company, specialising in supporting company development and organisational process till the exit momentum.  Luca joined Temperley London as it approached it's 20th Anniversary.  It is a brand that is epitomised by modern bohemianism with a confident, feminine and effortless attitude while staying true to it's British Heritage. The brand pioneers artisan techniques and intricate hand-worked embellishment; an aesthetic synonymous with it's DNA. The core business focuses on women’s ready-to-wear collections, which have evolved to offer a comprehensive range of daywear, cocktail and eveningwear.


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HOW HAS THE RECENT PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOUR ROLE AS A LEADER AND CEO AND HOW IMPORTANT IS STRONG LEADERSHIP IN A TIME OF CRISIS?

I have been working normally, but with social distancing I have missed the emotional and human relationship side with my team that I would usually have working in the office.   Leadership is an essential quality -  this coupled with experience in order to keep execution fast and efficient.

WHAT KEY LEARNS DO YOU THINK TEMPERLEY HAS HAD FROM THIS PERIOD?

As a business we could accelerate transformation and we have realised how important the value of ownership is – for each and every team member in the business.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR BUSINESS EVOLVING?

We will definitively embrace resilience , with a new approach in editing products and our marketing communication.

HOW DO YOU ENSURE YOUR BRAND IS ABLE TO ADAPT TO A CHANGING MARKET?

I think it’s important as a brand such as Temperly to stay true to your DNA but we will adapt our collections.

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WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RECENT CALLS FOR FASHION TO RESET THE COLLECTIONS CYCLE?

I am fully supportive of this movement. Luxury brands should continue to prioritize creativity and quality. We should ensure the products reflect the seasonal calendars, avoiding High street and Ecommerce driven promotions and distribution. It’s not sustainable for such a short lifecycle of product.

IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT THERE IS A CLEAR DISCONNECT FROM WHEN PRODUCT ARRIVES IN-STORE TO WHEN THE CUSTOMER ACTUALLY NEEDS IT. HOW CAN BRANDS WORK TO CHANGE THIS?

It is a very simple formula. Adapt the delivery drops to season and align marketing communication. However the rest will really depend on clients appetite for change.

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HOW DO YOU FEEL RELATIONSHIPS WITH BRANDS AND DEPARTMENT STORES MIGHT EVOLVE?

It really is at a crossroads. Either brands will be forced to self-manage their assortment, staff and promotions through a concession, or they will have to relinquish control to the stores. Therefore, no staff, with a limited rotation and lifecycle. Collections driven by numbers as opposed to the right product offering.

HOW CAN WE ENTICE CONSUMERS BACK INTO STORE AS THE BOUTIQUES BEGIN TO RE-OPEN? UNTIL NOW THE FOCUS HAS BEEN DIRECTED TO ONLINE

There was no other choice for consumers other than online, but it also true that this is where consumers are becoming familiar with product and brand positioning. We can entice customers back into store firstly through good CRM, reassurance of safety precautions, followed by exceptional instore service and a great product assortment mix. Tourists will be very limited in the coming months so domestic customers/local clientellle will be critical to the boutique. All Channels will be critical.

IS REAL SUSTAINABILITY ON THE CARDS FOR MANY LUXURY BRANDS?

Only with a full control of supply chain and territorial proximity will this truly be possible for brands to maintain. Temperley are considering onshoring part of our overseas production to allow that additional control. This might be easier for some brands than others.

DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE A SHIFT IN CONSUMER HABITS FOLLOWING THE PANDEMIC?

Yes, I think that we will see a different attitude and appetite for fashion. This is mostly due to the global financial downturn that is already starting to happen.

CAN YOU SHARE WITH US ANY EXCITING PROJECTS ON THE HORIZON FOR TEMPERLEY?

After Launching our new RTW range and handbags, we are now in talks to develop a 100% sustainable bespoke project. That’s all I can say for now.


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MODE SEARCH LTD 2020   No. 10889892