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Kickstarting India Fashion Forum 2022 With Purpose, Pioneering & Profitability

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IMAGES Group, the largest retail intelligence organisation in South Asia and Middle East, commencesits21st edition of India Fashion Forum, India’s largest fashion retail intelligence event, on 23rd March 2022, at The Leela Ambience, Gurugram.

During the welcome address IFF Chairman Akhilesh Prasad, President & CEO, Fashion & Lifestyle Business, Reliance Retail, touched on curveball thrown by the pandemic towards the fashion retail industry and highlighted Reliance’s swift response to it. Commenting on this industry wide challenge, Mr. Prasad said, ”The only thing certain about the future is that it will always be uncertain, and we need to have models that cater to that. The future of the industry is everchanging and dynamic and we need to develop models that are more flexible than ever before. The key to thriving in this unpredictable sphere is to stay ready to tackle challenges head on and maximize the opportunities that arise.”

The forum began with SaloniNangia, President, Technopak, who shared fashion retail industry insights through the lens of economy and GDP, the overall fashion industry, and key trends for 2022 – 23. She highlighted the effects of COVID-19 on the spending power of consumers, and shared her optimism to see the industry bounce back in the next few years with an estimated 10% increase of the GDP every year till 2025. “Technology is set to be the largest value creator in the industry,” said Ms. Nangia, presenting statistics showing the rapid growth of the digital retail space and it’s inevitable growth in the future.

Kickstarting the premier knowledge and networking platform was an introductory address by MC Anish Trivedi, President & CEO, Alenka Media, who welcomed the attendees and with a great sense of optimism said, “Fashion retail is truly well and live in India. Let’s make the most of this momentum at India Fashion Forum and make the most of India’s largest fashion retail event.”

The inaugural panel od Day 1 of India Fashion Forum 2022focused on building future-proof fashion retail models along the lines of making it purposeful, pioneering and profitable. This power-packed panel was hosted by B. S. Nagesh, Founder, TRRAIN, and included insights by panellists – Akhilesh Prasad, President & CEO, Fashion & Lifestyle Business, Reliance Retail, Ayushi Gudwani, Founder & CEO, Fable Street, Himanshu Chakrawarti, President, Snapdeal, Mukesh Kumar, Chairman, Shopping Centres Association of India, CEO, Infiniti Malls, and Vineet Gautam, CEO, Bestseller. The discussion touched on topics of entering the fashion retail industry and the challenges that come along with it. The panellists were in agreement regarding the importance of having a strong purpose and building the organization around it. In terms of profitability, the panel touched on the need to have a balance between ecommerce and brick and mortar stores. Ms. Gudwani attributed this balance to each company taking a personal call and choosing their own path of growth. Commenting on growth opportunities, Mr. Prasad said, “The world will change much more in the next 7 years than it has in the next 17 years.”

The panel then moved towards the topic of pioneering, as Dr. Darlie O Koshy, Educationist and Design Management Strategist, introduced the Dhoni Phenomenon in the fashion retail industry, wherein talent from small town is making it big. Continuing the discussion on talent, Mr. Gautam highlighted that there is an abundance of talent in the country. The challenge lies in developing the patience to groom that talent. He urges organizations to develop a culture of growth wherein the opportunities continually sell the dream to incoming talent. The astute panel discussion was culminated with the official release of IMAGES India Business of Fashion Report 2022.

The panel was followed by innovative and mind warping sessions by the powerful voices of Kunal Bahl, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Snapdeal and HarminderSahni, Founder, Wazir Advisors, in a chat about cracking India’s value commerce code, and a speech by Pranav Ahuja, CEO, Xeno, who brought to light that the largest companies in the world today predict and personalise their services and products.

The second panel discussion of the day revolved around reimagining physical retail. The session began with a keynote speech by the host of the session, Praveen Mellacheruvu, Country Head – Business Applications, Microsoft, who shed light on the solutions for a phygital retail world. The panellists were Abhishek Bansal, ED, Pacific Malls, Darpan Kapoor, Vice Chairman, Chandigarh Council, Kapsons Global Pvt. Ltd., Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Lalit Agarwal, MD, V-Mart Retail, Raghu Rajagopalan, President & COO, Max Fashion, Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Lacoste India – Sports and Leisure Apparel Limited, and Rishabh Soni, MD, SSIPL.

NinadTakpere, VP – Sales, Gupshup, presented a keynote speech on conversational fashion and the future it holds for customer engagement in the apparel industry, and Rajul Aggarwal, Industry Lead – Retail, Accenture Solutions Pvt. Ltd., gave a session speech on the evolution of retail’s new growth levels.

The first half of Day 1 was culminated with an informational and innovative panel discussion led by Harmeet Bajaj, Product Development and Communications Strategist, Fashion Academician, with inputs from panellists Atul Bajaj, Executive Director – Sales & Operations, Puma, Johnson Verghese, MD, Fossil India, Rajul Agarwal, Industry Lead – Retail, Accenture Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Sanjeev Rao, CEO, Being Human Clothing, and Vineet Gautam, CEO, Bestseller.

The India Fashion Forum 2022 is providing a platformto outstanding, eye opening innovation in the business of fashion, from agile design tools to exceptional in-store tech influencers, from the dynamic science of fashion retail analytics to hyper-targeted social marketing.

Key Highlights

  • “Merchandise retail consumption is expected to cross US $1 Trillion by 2024 – 25.” – SaloniNangia, President,Technopak
  • “Physical retail has to step up the options available at the store to compete with digital offerings– digital stores have millions of options at a glance.” – IFF Chairman Akhilesh Prasad, President & CEO, Fashion & Lifestyle Business, Reliance Retail
  • “Hard reality is that we need to be ready to offer more growth opportunities if we need to attract and retain talent. Talent needs to be driven towards the purpose of the organization and its leaders. “ -Ayushi Gudwani, Founder & CEO, Fable Street
  • “The Jio-led 4G revolution in the country changed the scale of ecommerce in the country around 2017. The key is to keep moving forward.” – Kunal Bahl, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Snapdeal
  • “We now live in a world of prediction and personalization.” – Pranav Ahuja, CEO, Xeno
  • “Innovation and technology are extremely important – especially technology that can be used beautifully in physical stores as well.” – Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Lacoste India – Sports and Leisure Apparel Limited
  • “With conversational messaging, the entire fashion experience can be made easy.” – NinadTakpere, VP – Sales, Gupshup
  • “Reset, reinvent, pivot to the right kind of model.” – Rajul Aggarwal, Industry Lead – Retail, Accenture Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
  • “The question we keep asking ourselves is – are we being human?” – Sanjeev Rao, CEO, Being Human Clothing