by: Shamin Vogel
WeAr interviews Martijn Hagman, CEO Tommy Hilfiger Global & PVH Europe on the potential of the metaverse, future of retail, brand strategies, crypto, sustainability, loyalty programs in the NFT world, and the phygital world.
What was your essential incentive to enter the metaverse in its early stage?
For a few years now, we have been at the forefront of exploring digital innovations. We are stepping into an inspiring and exciting new era of commerce that offers endless opportunities to connect with consumers in the digital and physical worlds. We stay strongly committed to our consumers by creating brand experiences that are authentic and unexpected, while encouraging them to express their individuality.
What is Tommy Hilfiger’s attitude towards digital fashion and NFTs?
Digital fashion is stronger and more appealing than ever — from 3D product development to the digitalization of the supply chain, to self-expression through an avatar. By increasing our investments in digital, we can enhance and improve our sustainability efforts in many ways. For instance, when it comes to the consumer, offering direct interactions and personalization, through to a complete virtual wardrobe experience. NFTs are a big part of this new digital space, which can add incredible value to the community and our brand. We see NFTs bringing the next iteration of brand access, membership, and loyalty, while also providing new opportunities for collaborations through projects, digital artists, and innovators in this space.
Can you explain how you will adapt your strategy to fit the current phygital trends?
There is an undeniable acceleration in the merger of digital and physical worlds. Web3 will continue to evolve, pushing brands to break barriers and lead the industry with new experiences that surprise and excite consumers. We are currently developing our metaverse strategy, which will be a clear indicator of how we continue to innovate in phygital brand experiences that add value to our business and bring us closer to consumers. At the same time, we are leveraging technology in our physical stores to enhance the omnichannel experience.
Will the metaverse help tap into a new consumer group that previously was not a prime target group for fashion companies?
The metaverse has opened the door for us to engage with new consumers we wouldn’t otherwise reach using traditional channels. It’s also allowing us to stay connected to our current fans in more inclusive, new, and exciting ways by offering virtual fashion that gives a whole new meaning to “universal” clothing. One of the great aspects of the metaverse is its inclusive nature, which connects to our brand values of “Welcoming All.”
As a pioneer in Web3, which lessons have you learned? What can be improved to achieve a holistic experience for consumers?
Over time, digital will become the leading sphere of everything we do and making sure we have a well-thought-out strategy is key to success. One key takeaway so far is not to get swept away with the fear of missing an opportunity. There are many new ways to connect with consumers on a whole new level, giving them access to the brand in experiential and personal ways. The key is to be strategic and considerate, to understand what they want, and deliver at the right moment.
How do you see the future of cryptocurrency and fashion intersecting?
It’s already happening — some brands are accepting cryptocurrency, others are offering digital wearable NFTs, and some are just observing. The e-commerce landscape will change, cryptocurrencies will be just another payment method available. Once blockchain protocols become more consumer-centric, shopping will become much simpler. Right now, the instability of crypto must be carefully considered when thinking of traditional retail.
Brands have started to issue NFTs together with roadmaps, tying them directly to brand loyalty. Will this be the ultimate future of using NFTs, or do you see other options for fashion companies, which live from one-off purchases thus far?
As we continue to seek innovative ways to connect with the community, NFTs can be powerful allies for membership and loyalty programs. The overall demand for NFTs is progressively increasing, presenting an opportunity for them to evolve from simple collectibles to utility assets – think of exclusive access to clubs, communities, and virtual or in-person experiences. By creating exciting NFTs that unlock exclusive brand experiences we can stay more connected with consumers in new and unforeseen ways. Looking ahead, NFTs could be the central digital touchpoint between brands and consumers – one that can be fully controlled by brands.
Looking to the future, will you create specific collections with different aesthetic approaches for the physical and the virtual stores?
We are already on this path – our recent Roblox collaboration presented exclusive virtual items that were very well received by the community. We will continue to explore partnerships that enable us to create these smaller digital capsules which allow us to interact with a new generation of consumers. Be it by collaborating with digital players, or developing our own collections, there are great opportunities when it comes to creating fully digital products that defy the laws of physics — customization can not only empower fans to celebrate their individuality, but also builds long-term loyalty.
What would the perfect phygital world look like?
I am passionate about the word “phygital” and what it represents – the heights we can reach are endless. Breaking boundaries and having an innovative mindset are critical to creating a phygital world. The shift to a digital-first mentality will become the norm and we are already seeing the integration of physical and digital becoming more and more realistic – digital activations in-store, virtual initiatives that deliver physical products to your door, and many others. We are committed to investing in innovations that will bridge the gap between online and offline in exciting ways, not only to our consumers, but also in upgrading internal processes and operations.
Congratulations on finding the QR Code to hopefully get one of the limited numbers of NFTs that Tommy Hilfiger and artist Gigi Gorlova made available to WeAr readers. Each supplied 71 NFTs, for WeAr issue 71, as a gift to our readers. Scan the QR Code and follow the instructions. Kindly understand that due to the limited number not everyone can get one of the NFTs.
by Azra Tuco
WHILE SECOND-HAND SHOPPING HAS A LONG HISTORY OF STIGMATIZATION, THE INCREASING DEMAND FOR PRE-LOVED, RARE, AND EXCLUSIVE ITEMS ILLUSTRATES NEW DESIRES AND BUYING TRENDS.
Resale represents a meaningful step forward in unlocking circularity by giving pre-loved items a second life, and a growing number of luxury retailers are entering the second-hand market to meet conscious customers’ demands for sustainable fashion. By providing a platform where consumers can mix vintage finds with the latest collections, retailers are looking to join the resale movement.
A McKinsey report from 2021 observes that the market for luxury resale, predominantly oriented to women’s fashion, is thriving, especially in the EU, US, and China. Several factors contributed, including the pandemic, digitization, and the “generational headwind,” where younger consumers are more inclined to buy pre-owned goods. While reselling remains largely offline, online platforms are growing exponentially. A projected 20–30% annual growth is expected from specialized digital platforms that trade pre-used luxury goods.
Whether referred to as “pre-loved,” “pre-owned,” “vintage,” or simply “second-hand,” this growing category is available in both digital and physical forms. In 2019, Selfridges joined forces with Vestiaire Collective, a leading pre-owned fashion marketplace, to create a permanent space for “pre-loved” in-store and online fashions. A partnership between luxury online platform Farfetch and on-demand donation service Thrift+ was announced the same year to promote circular fashion. In 2021, Net-a-Porter teamed up with leading resale technology provider Reflaunt to empower customers to resell their designer items. Mr Porter and The Outnet followed suit in early 2022. The trend is also visible in Sweden, where luxury multi-brand store Nathalie Schuterman launched an online “pre-loved” category that allows customers to resell and purchase pre-used luxury goods. Luxury brands have also started exploring the resale market in recent years. By the end of 2021, Burberry and Gucci had forged partnerships with The RealReal; Mulberry had introduced its in-house resale program; and Balenciaga had partnered with Reflaunt.
Reselling allows brands and retailers to communicate a “buy less, use more” mentality that resonates with conscious consumers. It has also been driven by pressure to reduce fashion’s environmental impact and to participate in the retail opportunities it presents. As a growing number of luxury retailers and brands seek to create circular business models that provide value for both their customers and the environment, barriers to entry are being lowered. Amidst a changing fashion landscape where retailers, brands, and consumers are rethinking how fashion can be consumed, resale continues to dispel stigmas and promote more environmentally friendly shopping practices.
EN:The eponymous brand Huarte was founded in 2019 by Victor Huarte, a Spanish fashion designer who moved to Porto, Portugal, as part of the Erasmus program in 2017. Since then, the brand has been regularly present on the runway shows of ModaLisboa and Portugal Fashion. Huarte celebrates a good-humored, mindful, and high-spirited perspective of stylish menswear wardrobe with a Mediterranean flavor. For S/S 2022, Huarte showed a collection entitled “Aftersun,” depicting the hot summer days at the beach as the designer’s main inspiration. All the garments are made in Portugal, with a particular focus on the manufacturing process. The high quality of the materials and the versatility of the products nurture the authentic concept of the brand. Huarte collections are available at House of Curated (Lisbon).
IT: Il brand Huarte è stato fondato nel 2019 da Victor Huarte: dopo essersi trasferito nel 2017 a Porto, in Portogallo, per il programma Erasmus, questo stilista spagnolo è stato sempre presente con il suo brand alle sfilate di ModaLisboa e Portugal Fashion. Huarte celebra una visione allegra, consapevole e vivace dell’abbigliamento maschile di tendenza, dandogli un sapore mediterraneo. Per la P/E 2022, Huarte ha presentato una collezione dal titolo ‘Aftersun’, ispirata principalmente all’atmosfera delle giornate estive trascorse in spiaggia. Tutti i capi sono realizzati in Portogallo, con un’attenzione particolare al processo di produzione. Il concept originale del brand si fonda infatti sull’alta qualità dei materiali e sulla versatilità dei prodotti. Le collezioni Huarte sono disponibili presso House of Curated (Lisbona).
EN: Founded by Aaron Potts in 2018, the Brooklyn-based A.POTTS presents at New York Men’s Day. In September 2020, the brand debuted at the Black in Fashion Council’s Discovery Showroom alongside other Black-owned labels, winning the Fashion Group International Rising Star award. Detroit native Potts attended Parsons School of Design. After graduation, he racked up an impressive CV working for Emanuel Ungaro, Anne Klein, Victoria’s Secret, Escada, Badgley Mischka, Ellen Tracy, and Tamara Mellon, where he was Design Director. Potts’ new direct-to-consumer line presents genderless clothes that transcend seasonal trends, body types, and identities. He envisions them as a uniform of airy and sculptural pieces that mix and match, “inspired by modern art, native dress, and work wear.” These ideas are illustrated in his most recent, aptly titled collection, “SKINFOLK: Skin Tones, Sculptural Shapes, and Noir-Romantics,” shown in February 2022, portraying an array of dramatic monotone and printed looks in browns and blacks.
IT: Fondato da Aaron Potts nel 2018, il brand di Brooklyn A.POTTS sfila in occasione del New York Men’s Day. A settembre 2020, il brand ha debuttato al Black in Fashion Council’s Discovery Showroom accanto ad altre etichette di stilisti neri, vincendo il premio Fashion Group International Rising Star. Potts, nativo di Detroit, ha frequentato la Parsons School of Design e dopo la laurea si è costruito un curriculum impressionante, con esperienze da Emanuel Ungaro, Anne Klein, Victoria’s Secret, Escada, Badgley Mischka ed Ellen Tracy, e con un ruolo di design director per Tamara Mellon. La nuova linea direct-to-consumer di Potts presenta capi genderless adatti a qualunque stagione, corporatura e identità e concepiti come un’uniforme che combina elementi leggeri e plastici, “ispirata all’arte moderna, ad abiti tradizionali e all’abbigliamento da lavoro”. Idee illustrate dallo stilista nella sua ultima collezione, uscita a febbraio 2022, il cui titolo è appunto ‘SKINFOLK: Skin Tones, Sculptural Shapes and Noir-Romantics’ e che presenta una serie di look, marcatamente monocolore o stampati, nelle tonalità del marrone e del nero.
EN: Botter’s identity originates from ‘Caribbean Couture’ enriched by the philosophy of Arte Povera and strong sustainability consciousness. As a brand whose DNA rises from one of the world’s most biologically diverse marine regions, Botter is particularly sensitive toward the pollution of the ocean, setting targets to embrace and preserve nature in all its forms.
Lisi Herrebrugh and Rushemy Botter are the design team behind the brand. Recently, they left Nina Ricci, where they acted as artistic directors for more than three years, to focus on their brand. They combine their multicultural influences with mastery of Belgian and Dutch tailoring to infuse their menswear label with a distinct notion of luxury. Edgy yet inclusive, their creative sight is an extension of their personalities: bold, colorful, and refreshingly positive. Their masters’ collection from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp won numerous awards, such as the Dries Van Noten and the Ann Demeulemeester awards. In 2020, they presented their work in Paris for the first time. Botter’s stockists are Dover Street Market (London), Ssense (Montreal), KM20 (Moscow), Boontheshop (Seoul), Printemps, Galeries Lafayette (Paris), and Nordstrom (US).
L’identità di Botter è frutto di una ‘Caribbean Couture’ arricchita dalla filosofia dell’Arte Povera e da una forte sensibilità per il tema della sostenibilità. Botter è un brand che ha le sue radici in una delle aree marine più ricche di biodiversità al mondo, per questo è particolarmente attento al problema dell’inquinamento degli oceani: e si pone degli obiettivi per curare e preservare la natura in tutte le sue forme.
Lisi Herrebrugh e Rushemy Botter, gli stilisti del brand, hanno da poco lasciato il ruolo di direttori artistici presso Nina Ricci, che hanno ricoperto per più di tre anni, per concentrarsi sul loro brand. I due combinano le loro influenze multiculturali con la maestria tipica della sartoria belga e olandese, per conferire al loro marchio di moda uomo un chiaro senso di lusso. Innovativo e allo stesso tempo inclusivo, il loro approccio creativo è un’estensione della loro personalità: audace, colorato e dalla positività rigenerante. La loro collezione di capolavori, proveniente dalla Royal Academy of Fine Arts di Anversa, ha vinto numerosi premi, come il Dries Van Noten e l’Ann Demeulemeester. Nel 2020 hanno presentato il loro lavoro a Parigi per la prima volta. Botter è distribuito da Dover Street Market (Londra), Ssense (Montreal), KM20 (Mosca), Boontheshop (Seoul), Printemps, Galeries Lafayette (Parigi), e Nordstrom (Stati Uniti).
RECENT SEASONS HAVE WITNESSED DESIGNERS BLURRING GENDER LINES AND INCORPORATING PLAYFUL ELEMENTS INTO THEIR COLLECTIONS. WHAT’S NEXT FOR MEN’S FASHION?
For S/S 2023, the playful designs of recognizable fashion houses reflect the pulsating and nostalgic rebirth of spring. This season, the runway shows were dominated by vivid color palettes, eccentric prints, and relaxed silhouettes.
Floral influences were prominent in several collections. Loewe’s outerwear, denim, and footwear featured living greenery, while floral motifs appeared at Louis Vuitton, Marine Serre, S.S. Daley, and paria /FARZANEH. Impactful prints were also strongly in evidence this season. While abstract patterns were seen at Lukhanyo Mdingi and KidSuper, checks ruled at Prada, Hermès, and Gucci.
Outerwear trends ranged from relaxed overshirts and jackets in denim or leather to exaggerated full-length coats. With accentuated sleeves, vibrant prints, and tactile embellishments, the iconic trench coat continues to be reinvented for Spring 2023. At VTMNTS, The Row, and Saint Laurent, the staple outerwear piece appeared in oversized silhouettes in hues ranging from black to beige.
Thom Browne, Prada, and Celine affirmed the continuous influence of layering, where skirts were worn over trousers, tailored blazers over blazers, and jackets over jackets. Color mania is another recurring theme throughout the collections, from monochrome pastels at Craig Green, Alexander McQueen, and Dior to bold color combinations at Versace, JW Anderson, and MSGM. In recent seasons, menswear collections have become increasingly unorthodox and lively. As evidenced by this season’s fashion shows, playfulness and curiosity remain the defining traits.