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FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR, MOMENTOM 8 LTD,
FASHION'S RESPONSE TO COVID-19, EDITION 3

Continuing with our series of interviews with industry leaders, Mode sat down with Tom Meggle, Founder and Director of Momentom 8 LTD to discuss his thoughts on fashion’s response to Covid-19 and the shift in the luxury landscape.

Tom was born in Munich and after his studies at the European Business School he began his luxury retail career at Cartier  working for more than seven years as General Manager for Northern Europe. In 2008, he joined the LVMH Group as General Manager of Louis Vuitton  Germany and in March 2011, moved to London for the role of Managing Director of Louis Vuitton UK, Ireland and South Africa.  He successfully developed Louis Vuitton's business and teams until July 2018 to then step down and launch his own venture, MOMENTOM 8 Ltd, a Business Consultancy for innovative branding and ethical luxury and M&A in the luxury goods industry. Tom has been Chair of the Luxury Club at the French Chamber of Great Britain since 2017 and is Mentor of Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow programme. He is also a regular speaker at conferences and panels and is fluent in French, English and German.

Following the 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 a re-imagining of 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 we speed up sustainability and we should we re-set the fashion cycle are popular questions for our industry right now.


How has the recent Panademic affected your role in the industry ? How important is strong leadership in a time of crisis?

Having left LVMH in 2018 I have since been self employed and launched my own business / brand consultancy which connects  me with luxury brands through my activity as strategic advisor and  / or M&A advisor.

I would like to share here with your readers my personal view on crisis management and leadership: COVID-19 has hit European and American markets harder than  the Asian markets. During a global crisis as this pandemic leadership cannot be delegated. Leaders should be at all times  present, have a continuous connection with their team /audience, take fast and impactful decisions to secure community and business and reassure the audience with facts and transparency.  Leadership in crisis is about risk management, proactive and anticipative behaviour and a clear set of priorities and the capacity to re-assure the community and reduce damage and loss.

Tom Meggle portrait 3 B&W

What key learns do you think the industry and brands has had from this period? How do you see the  businesses you consult with evolving?

  • Digital first and an authentic and empathetic connection with your clients and audience.
  • Omni Channel Strategy must be enabling a smooth continuous communication and engagement with clients.
  • Retail must be repositioned: it has to be client centric and experience lead and NOT primarily transactional.
  • e-Commerce should target to cover min 15% to 25/30% of the brand’s overall turnover, unless it is a D2C digital native business.
  • Another important issue is to empower local markets in a period where luxury consumption will be driven by locals and not tourists

How do you ensure your brands are able to adapt to a changing market?

  • Continuous monitoring of trends and evolution in order to remain update and be able to seize opportunities.
  • Ensure they have enough space and sources for new ideas, create a fertile foundation for Change Management.
  • Agility, questioning existing strategy to be future proof and aligned with changing Gen Z consumer behaviour.
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WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RECENT CALLS FOR FASHION TO RESET THE COLLECTIONS CYCLE?

Overdue. I want to praise Giorgio Armani for having voiced this urgent need for a rethinking of fashion business well before the pandemic hit China and then the rest of the world. We need to question and challenge fashion brands capacity to rethink the fatal cycle of over-production in fashion. Using AI and VR can enable players to design new collections, share these with their clients and pre-sell collections prior to production, hence enabling full sell through.

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?

 Of course the future is about buying the right product at the right time when you need it, hence not buying your summer outfit in January but in June. It is all about making the fashion business consumer centric and sustainable.

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How do you feel relationships with brands and department stores might evolve?

 The winning brands embrace collaboration and will abandon their “silos” – sustainability and a return to consumer confidence will depend on brands and department stores to cooperate and create relevant new experiences around the collections. Selfridges in London are a master in re-inventing Retail with brand partnerships i.e. their first Pop up for a wardrobe rental platform, Hurr Collective.

How can we entice consumers back into store as the boutiques begin to re-open? Until now the focus has been directed to online.

 It is ll about confidence – communication – engagement – to put the client and not the product at the heart of the brand’s communication.

IS REAL SUSTAINABILITY ON THE CARDS FOR MANY LUXURY BRANDS?

Sustainability is a quintessential ingredient to success, but customers will look more closely to verify that commitments lead to results and a lower carbon footprint and circular economy. Brands which drive change and transformation in terms of measurable and tangible outcome reducing the environmental footprint of their business will be winning more and more supporters. The opposite will be the case for those who pretend to commit to sustainable fashion but cannot deliver…

Do you think there will be a shift in consumer habits following the pandemic?

Oh yes of course, a massive shift. First of call to a more radical reset of priorities, the pandemic has affected our view on priority settings. In a period centred around essential needs as health safety and family, we will see a shift in all consumer priorities.

The biggest losses will be in the hospitality and transport industry as travel and social entertainment will be heavily affected for the next 1-2 years. The impact of the global lockdown on planet has certainly further sharpened our sense for the priorities in our fight against global climate crisis. The purpose of Milan, Paris, NY and London Fashion Weeks and the fashion industry producing between 4 and 8 collections per year are challenged. Fashion needs to reinvent itself in this new context. We will also see an uplift in new luxury categories as health & wellness, nutrition, sport and outdoor activities etc.

Can you share with us any exciting projects on the horizon for brands you are consulting with?

Yes, actively working on a complete digital transformation for a luxury brand with a team plus also on a change management strategy for a fashion brand.


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MODE SEARCH LTD 2020   No. 10889892