Social networking and online stores were hailed as saviors of the fashion industry at this year's IHT Luxury Conference, which wrapped up in Berlin November 18.
Christopher Bailey, creative director of British luxe brand Burberry, kicked off the conference with a talk on how social media had turned into key contributors to his label's success. The young designer launched a new interactive website just a week ago, theartofthetrench.com, that lets users upload pictures of them wearing the iconic Burberry coats and browsing through the photo base using different filters. Brands such as Gucci introduced similar media in the past (guccieyeweb.com) and other (e.g., Louis Vuitton) are increasingly using social media such as Facebook to widen their reach. Burberry currently has 700,000 fans on the site.
Bailey also highlighted in a separate talk during the conference that Burberry had reduced its environmental footprint by 17 percent through video conferencing (instead of traveling).
Tomas Maier (Bottega Veneta), Frida Giannini (Gucci), and Claus-Dietrich Lahrs (Hugo Boss) also addressed the luxury professionals from around the world. Natalie Massenet of designer shopping website Net-à-Porter and Dazed & Confused's Jefferson Hack agreed that editorial and shopping content would fully move online within the next decades.
Other big news during the event included Mercedes-Benz announcing sponsorship of London Fashion Week (which turned 25 this year) and top model Claudia Schiffer revealing that she is planning to design her own cashmere line.Reuse content