The BFC and TheCurrent host industry pioneers to discuss the future of fashion

Tommy Hilfiger and Avery Baker in conversation with Jo Ellison

How to break through barriers was the overarching topic at the British Fashion Council’s annual Fashion Forum, curated and produced in collaboration with TheCurrent, in London yesterday.

Held at The Ned hotel, the event welcomed BFC members to an exclusive day-long learning experience where they heard from pioneers across fashion and technology and got face-to-face with some of the latest innovations in the market.

Under TheCurrent’s curation, this year’s content saw experts across the industry discussing topics that are particularly in line with the modern consumer’s fast-changing expectations. Topics covered included everything from the store of the future to the importance of ensuring a code of conduct is present across the industry in light of the #MeToo movement.

Meanwhile, a panel hosted by TheCurrent’s founder, Liz Bacelar, saw the founders and CEOs of direct-to-consumer brands Away, Allbirds and Heist Studios, who we previously interviewed for TheCurrent Innovators podcast, discussing the importance of creating products that are anchored in consumer insights.

Another conversation saw skater and artist Blondey McCoy with Ferdinando Verderi, creative director of Johannes Leonardo, Stavros Karelis founder of store MACHINE-A, and Tammy Smulders, president of fashion and luxury at Vice Media, focused on how streetwear culture has reached an inflection point and how luxury brands can learn a thing or two about how to engage with passionate consumers.

TheCurrent's Liz Bacelar with Jen Rubio (Away), Tim Brown (Allbirds) and Toby Darbyshire (Heist Studios)

TheCurrent’s Liz Bacelar with Jen Rubio (Away), Tim Brown (Allbirds) and Toby Darbyshire (Heist Studios)

For this year’s event, TheCurrent also brought keynotes including Ulric Jerome, CEO of MATCHESFASHION.COM to open the morning, and designer Tommy Hilfiger with chief brand officer Avery Baker to close, with a series of stellar conversations about brand growth and innovation.

Our chief intelligence officer Rachel Arthur, meanwhile, spoke to a packed room on three major trends impacting how consumers currently interact with brands, including a deep-dive on the importance for technology to be more invisible and increasingly humanised – a topic we saw beginning to bubble up at this year’s SXSW festival.

Much like 2017’s event, TheCurrent also curated an innovation room where 10 of the world’s best startups showcased their products and services to guests. These carefully selected ready-for-market partners, showcased innovations across digital, customer service, personalization, supply chain, loyalty, visual augmentation and more.

Throughout the day, TheCurrent Innovators team was also on-site recording upcoming podcast episodes on topics ranging from sustainability to leveraging counter-culture, and why physical retail matters even for brands born online. Stay tuned for our first of this series publishing next week.

TheCurrent’s Rachel Arthur