'My Incredible Career' Alexander Schulman / Fashion Business Club

Alexander Shulman / Dolly Jones / Stylist Rebekah Roy / 'Business of Fashion' Editor Imran Ahmed

What a difference a week makes, I realised why I've getting backed up with the blog posts, life on the home front took over. Flu, conjunctivitis, dance performances, dad's very ill, computer viruses, course work and today is day four of chicken pox nurse under house arrest. Yesterday I sent a text to a friend explaining my absence.. she sent me one back.. ' ha ha you got me.. April fools right??? It certainly feels like someone else is in the driving seat!

So this past Thursday, at One Alfred Place, I sat down with members of the Fashion Business Club amongst a group of London fashion industry to be part of a historic event. The Vogue on Vogue interview, Dolly Jones Editor of Vogue.com in conversation with Vogue UK Editor Alexander Shulman. A little background on how I got invited to another illustrious event. I discovered FBC through the multi talented Rita Nazareno (have read about her on Rebekah Roys blog Stylist Stuff ), she's the one in the picture below wearing a smile, a new haircut and a S.C.Vizcarra woven leather bag. Rita and I are at the London College of Fashion, I'm marketing, she's design management. We bumped into each in the Vauhxhall Fashion Scout media centre, we spoke and that was my introduction to FBC. A few weeks later a well timed email request to attend the Vogue on Vogue talk was accepted. So there I was in the FBC members only club for 'bright-minded, fashion business professionals' co-founded by Courtney Blackman they meet six times a year to learn, share and network.

Angelika Huwiler Zovala / Rita Nazareno

Alexander Shulman was a surprise, no devil wearing Prada. I found her entertaining, candid, humble, a great story teller with jokes too..! Confident enough to talk about her flaws, no cover ups she broke down women-omics for us. She shared her moment of realisation that she realised she was a serious contender for the Vogue Editor post was when she saw her name mentioned in the papers! Her free and easy "pedestrians view of fashion" was the start of her fashion life at Vogue. It couldn't happen now ! but, first day on the her job 17 years ago with little in the way of 'fashion' knowledge after securing the coveted editors post! Surely the ability to be in a world and not be entirely consumed by it must be one of the secrets of her success. That and feeling the fear and doing it anyway Shulman hates flying not an easy fear to face on such a regular basis. She shared her experience of juggling fashion, a ready made family, supporting of home grown Brit talent and the challenges of editing Vogue in a recession.

Cue my question.. In the throes of the recession, just when a brand should be giving itself the biggest push it can afford, marketing / PR budgets are the first to go. The past 3 fashion week seasons the number of designers such as 'we are not a rock band' Rodnik, Aganovich, Reem, Theatre De La Mode, Fashion East Menswear Installations click, Katie Eary, Sibling wear 'Sibling', Martine Rose, Jaiden rVa James Gareth Pugh has grown. I asked Shulman about offering film, video, static shows, live fashion performances as alternative, experience driven presentations. Actually the very same ideas were discussed later by Vauxhall Fashion Scout Director Martyn Roberts at Fashion Works 'Ones to Watch' seminar. Shulmans recent visit to Lanvin seasonal presentation is yet another example of the trend. Hosted by Alber Elbaz, an intimate presentation and discusson set againist a backdrop of Albers own art creations. She adds that the catwalk is an invaluable experience, the instant w-o-w factor. But she warns.. only when the time is right, catwalk shows eat into your marketing budget and expose designers to admirers and critics alike. From Schulmans perspective catwalk is great for glossies, but she makes the valuable point that a collection with only 2 wearable pieces that readers can buy into isn't a sustainable one. She left me with this food for thought, a more sustainable business model would be a two headed creative force business and creative, using alternative presentations to showcase wearable and infinitely more profitable and affordable mid season main collections.

Katie Eary A/W '09

Martine Rose A/W '09

Sibling A/W 09

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