Kickstarting India Fashion Forum 2022

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New Delhi, March 24 (IANSlife) On March 23, 2022, the largest retail intelligence organisation in South Asia and the Middle East, IMAGES Group, launched the 21st edition of India Fashion Forum, India’s largest fashion retail intelligence event, at The Leela Ambience in Gurugram.

IFF Chairman Akhilesh Prasad, President & CEO, Fashion & Lifestyle Business, Reliance Retail, touched on the pandemic’s curveball to the fashion retail industry and highlighted Reliance’s quick response to it during his welcome address.

Prasad said of this industry-wide challenge, “The only thing certain about the future is that it will always be uncertain, and we need models that cater to that.” The industry’s future is ever-changing and dynamic, and we need to create models that are more adaptable than ever before. The key to thriving in this volatile environment is to be prepared to face challenges head on and capitalise on opportunities that arise.”

Saloni Nangia, President of Technopak, kicked off the forum by sharing fashion retail industry insights through the lens of economy and GDP, the overall fashion industry, and key trends for 2022 – 23. She emphasised the impact of COVID-19 on consumer spending power and expressed her optimism that the industry will recover in the coming years, with an estimated 10 per cent increase in GDP per year until 2025. “Technology is set to be the largest value creator in the industry,” Nangia said, presenting statistics demonstrating the rapid growth of the digital retail space and its unavoidable future growth.

The inaugural panel of Day 1 of India Fashion Forum 2022 focused 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 was followed by innovative and mind-bending sessions by the powerful voices of Kunal Bahl, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO, Snapdeal, and Harminder Sahni, Founder, Wazir Advisors, in a discussion about cracking India’s value commerce code, as well as a speech by Pranav Ahuja, CEO, Xeno, who revealed that the world’s largest companies today predict and personalise their services and products.

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

Ninad Takpere, VP – Sales, Gupshup, delivered a keynote address on conversational fashion and the future of customer engagement in the apparel industry, and Rajul Aggarwal, Industry Lead – Retail, Accenture Solutions Pvt. Ltd., delivered a session speech on the evolution of retail’s new growth levels.

Harmeet Bajaj, Product Development and Communications Strategist, Fashion Academician, moderated an informative and innovative panel discussion with panelists 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.

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

(IANSlife can be contacted at ianslife@ians.in)

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