Bangalore, 3rd March 2023 – The 22nd edition of India Fashion Forum (IFF), India’s biggest fashion intelligence event, witnessed highly interactive sessions in Bengaluru today with leaders, key stakeholders, experts and delegates, from across the fashion ecosystem, gathered to discuss emerging trends like AI, metaverse, Augmented Reality and AI, seamless shopping experiences and the prospects of as many as 100 Indian cities in generating new business opportunities in the post-pandemic fashion landscape.

This year’s theme is ‘Decoding the DNA of Profitability: Growth defined by Value Creation’

Shailesh Chaturvedi, 22nd IFF Chairman, Industry Thought Leader, MD & CEO, Arvind Fashions welcomed the attendees along with outgoing IFF Chairman Akhilesh Prasad, President and CEO, Fashion & Lifestyle Business, Reliance Retail.

Akhilesh Prasad remarked about the formidable position of India in the global market given her 5000-years of uninterrupted civilization. “Over the next five to seven years, the Indian market will be dominated by innovative Indian wear unlike China whose civilization got interrupted after their cultural revolution.”

While the delegates deliberated on the importance of profitability in comparison with growth, the concept of tech-driven consumer experiences got everyone’s attention. Top representatives from brands like Tasva, Bhima Jewels, Bestseller India, Lifestyle International, Celio, Ayesha Fashion, Kompanero and Being Human Clothing discussed various aspects of marketing and innovation with profitability at its core.

Speaking about what would work in the future, Saloni Nangia, President, Technopak said, “Smart trial rooms, grab and go self checkouts, ChatGPT, Augmented Reality driven consumer/employee experience and 5G driving digitisation will be key factors in redefining customer experiences.”

“Six years ago at IFF, we spoke about omnichannel format, a trend that was still in its nascent stage. We said that it had to be a part of our life. Today, I think Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and Metaverse will be a part of our daily lives. Though a Metaverse store may not have a Return on Investment now, we have to invest. This is without dismissing the relevance of brick and mortar stores,” said Sanjeev Rao, CEO, Being Human Clothing.

Earlier in the day, in his inaugural speech, Shailesh Chaturvedi underscored the need for brands to shift their focus on building their capabilities so as to be prepared to tackle short or medium term headwinds. He further added, “When we move from the known to unknown markets there is always a lot of value to create.”

In the other sessions, panelists also discussed about the huge opportunity in smaller markets, digital marketing, micro influencers and globally relevant topics such as waste reduction by brands, retailers and manufacturers as well as personalisation and innovation vs consumer experience.

In the inaugural session where brand custodians presented their profitability strategy in 60 seconds, Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Lacoste India, revealed five pillars behind the success of his brand. “Top line, bottom line, expansion/growth, talent development and customer delight are key. Everything else is coincidental.”
Preeti Gupta, Business Head, Nykd, Nykaa and Gloot gave a synopsis of how the market is entrenched in consumer truth.

Jaydeep Shetty, Consulting Partner, Greenhonchos, spoke about Customer and Brand Love. Advising his counterparts that they see online stores as a separate channel and not as a subset, he added, “In retail and fashion, we began adjusting our minds to allot certain percentages to online and physical store presences. People shop whether they are happy, sad or are celebrating something special. Brands are no longer holding customers captive. They are in the customer’s home/mobile phones.”

On the whole, technology and consumer data stood out as the most important factors driving business growth among the speakers in these sessions.

With over 50+ conferences and 200+ speakers sharing their insights over the two days, IFF 2023 also welcomed UK delegates on their first-of-its-kind fashion and beauty trade mission to India. Brands like Lush, Benny Hancock, Jennifer Young and Lilly and Sid to name a few will showcase their offerings and innovation to potential distributors here.

Some of the sessions over the two days include unified commerce as the future of retail, omnichannel in fashion, social media, personalization, sustainability, profitability, mall strategy, global green initiatives in fashion and artificial intelligence.

Among the speakers at the 22nd IFF are: Shailesh Chaturvedi, MD & CEO, Arvind Fashions Limited; Akhilesh Prasad, President and CEO, Fashion Lifestyle Business, Reliance Retail; Amisha Jain, MD & SVP, South Asia, Middle East, Africa, Non-EU, Levi Strauss & Co; Dilip Kapur, President, Hidesign; Rajesh Jain, MD & CEO, Lacoste India; Dr. Naresh Tyagi, Chief Sustainability Officer, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail and Revathi Kant, Senior VP and CDO, Titan Company among others.