The 28th Pambianco PwC Fashion Summit in Milan has focused on the challenges facing the fashion and luxury industry in a ‘new normal’ competitive scenario, characterised by the profound change that has taken place in the industry in the last few years, driven by a variety of factors.
Erika Andreetta, partner and EMEA Fashion & Luxury leader at PwC Italy, presented the results of PwC's latest study on the fashion and luxury sector. The study found that, despite the global trade slowdown caused by current inflationary tensions and rising interest rates, the luxury industry continued to grow in the first nine months of 2023, although a slight deceleration was observed in Q3 compared to the first six months of the year.
Introducing new technology and digital solutions are clearly among the most urgent challenges faced by the fashion industry. Luca Colombo, country director Italy at Meta, spoke about these challenges at the Fashion Summit: “We believe that in future the internet will be much more immersive and connected with people; we will probably no longer need a mobile phone, but we will access the web through hands-free wearables. One example of this is the latest generation of headsets, enabling users to enjoy an immersive VR experience while watching the physical world. Another example is a model of glasses we have developed with Luxottica, featuring cameras and speakers that can be used for making video calls, listening to music and surfing the web.” Colombo added that “our current priority is to allow people to enjoy an online experience by means of items they wear in their everyday life. We’re spending between $3 billion and $4 billion on R&D every quarter, with the goal of achieving these results in 10 years’ time.”
Colombo also mentioned artificial intelligence and the metaverse, which, he said, “are radically changing how we market and advertise products, and how we reach consumers. It’s essential that fashion SMEs too embrace this new culture, and start investing in it right away.”
Finally, Riccardo Vola, managing director Italy and Spain of Zalando, spoke about the future of e-tail: “E-tail is in the midst of a crucial transformation, there’s a real ‘new wave’, especially in the fashion sector. Customers have different needs, such as seeking more inspiration and personalising the shopping experience.