Beirut Digital District and Endeavor Lebanon, an NGO supporting entrepreneurship, just released a whitepaper highlighting the challenges facing the fashion ecosystem and the possible solutions for tackling them.
“While a handful of Lebanese fashion designers have succeeded in building enterprises and globally renowned brands, some are still struggling to do so, which is for the most part due to the weaknesses in the ecosystem. Particularly the gaps in the supply chain and lack of funding support for the industry in general,” says the report, that recaps a roundtable held in November 2018 at IGNITE Fashion and Design.
Aiming to not only describe a state of play but also offer solutions, the document raises four types of concerns:
- Designers’ creativity, and how mentorship could help them develop a unique brand
- Ecosystem development, and how it can be improved from university fashion programs to manufacturing
- Encouraging talent, through a more dynamic environment and the creation of more factories
- Brand exposure, by way of digital platforms
Most importantly, the report highlights how “technology is disrupting the fashion and luxury industry, and this represents a great opportunity for fashion designers on the one hand as they need to leverage this technology to grow; and technology players on the other hand to develop this technology,” said Christina Chehade, managing director of Endeavor Lebanon.
Referencing the Bain & Company Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study 2018, Edward Sabbagh, managing director of Farfetch for the Middle East, said at the roundtable: “The two worlds need to merge seamlessly, and the traditional retail world needs to develop. Online luxury e-commerce represented 10% of the luxury market but is expected to grow to 25% by 2025. This means that the growth in the industry will predominantly come from the online channels, but it also means that brick and mortar is here to stay.”
As Nadim Chammas, founder of Fashion Next Door, explained: “Online and offline are not really competing. They are different channels with different customer expectations. We see however the huge impact of the online not much in terms of business but how it affects the customer behavior. Because of the e-commerce, we noticed that the customer shops in our multi-brands in a different way: they spend less time in the store, they compare not only prices but also brands, they hardly understand that all the products in all colors and sizes cannot be available on the shelf and most importantly they are over-informed which is, very often, actually misguiding. Here is a major disruption which obliges us to remodel our retail offering.”
The full report is available here.