Vogue’s first Forces of Fashion event was held at Milk Studios in Chelsea, Manhattan on October 12, 2017. To start off the day, Milk hosted a “day break event” that started promptly at 7:00 AM in their Penthouse. The day break event had Milk makeup artists, pressed juice, and coffee awaiting the attendees.
At 8:30 Anna Wintour gave her opening remarks talking about the first Forces of Fashion conference.
At 9:15 AM, the Future of Ethical Fashion panel started with Stella McCartney. Tonne Goodman moderated the conversation. They talked about her start in the fashion industry, ethical fashion for the next generation, and great design. When Stella McCartney started in the industry she was ridiculed for not being able to sell luxurious garments without using real fur or leather. Her goal was for consumers to purchase her products because they look luxurious and not realize they are made from eco-friendly material. From the start, McCartney’s fashion house has always been environmentally sustainable. She talked about how technology is the future of fashion. “The fashion industry is desperate for change,” said McCartney. The fashion industry is the second most wasteful industry in the world. “I’m hoping in 10 years, people will look back at the fact that we killed billions of animals and cut down millions of acres of rainforest, and used water in the most inefficient way – we can't sustain this way of living.”
At 9:50 AM, the Power of Independence panel with Dries Van Noten, moderated by Vogue’s International Editor Hamish Bowles, began. During this panel, Noten discussed his fashion shows, being intrigued with India, and politics. When he presented his collections, Noten said “I always like to tell a story through my collection...We always like to do things in a slightly different way – not just be different, but it's interesting to find a different angle… we also have to do something that puts people out of their comfort zone – not by bringing them to a dirty and strange location but by bringing them to Hotel Georges V.” Noten brought up how he started working with companies in 1987 doing embroidery in India. The embroidery was done by 3,000 men in India. When Bowels brought up the subject of politics, Noten claims that he is already politically involved with his clothes and he doesn't need to speak on the topic directly.
At 11:10 AM, Vogue’s Creative Digital Director, Sally Singer, talked about fashion in the age of Instagram with Marc Jacobs and Kevin Systrom (the co-founder of Instagram). Last year, 50 million people watched Fashion Month on Instagram. This year, 150 people viewed fashion month via Instagram. During this panel, both Jacobs and Systrom talked about having optimistic companies. Systrom wants to know “How can we build technology for kindness?” He and his team are working on “deleting the trolls” on the internet. When asked about how to run a successful company Systrom said: “I learned everything about running a company on YouTube.” Kevin wants to know “what legacy can Instagram leave in the world?” Meanwhile, Marc talked about how people are not experiencing his shows live anymore. “Everyone watches the show through their phone.” This frustrated Jacobs because people are not watching the models walk down the runway. Jacobs said, “I used to consider social media, anti-social media.” The final question Singer asked Jacobs was if he had any regrets? He responded “I have no regrets. You can only regret what you don't do. You can't regret what you do.”
At 11:45 AM, Being on First-Name Terms With the World panel started with Virginia Smith talking with Michael Kors about his career, assisting his mother with her wedding dress, and diversity on the runway. Officially, his career got started in the 1970’s as a window dresser, but from the age of five he had an eye for fashion. It was at this that his mom got remarried. His mother's dress was covered in bows, and when asked for his opinion he said the bows have to go. Once they cut them off of the dress, he said it was “timeless.” When asked about his most recent Spring 2018 show that featured a diverse range of models he responded by saying “I’m not doing my job well if I can't dress the mosaic of woman.” When asked why other designers don't use a diverse range of models he said: "To me, the idea that models in a fashion show should be mannequins feels so impersonal.”
At 12:35 PM, Star Power in the 2010’s started with Erdem Moralioglu, Simon Porte Jacquemus, Joseph Altuzarra, and was moderated by Mark Holgate. During this panel, they disguised the idea of fame as a designer, reviews, social media, and advertising. Moralioglu feels that the idea of a star means somebody who is famous for fashion it would be a distinct style that separates you from other people “I think it has much do with the idea of handwriting a point of view.” Jacquemus talked about his thoughts on reviews of his collections. “For me, the only review I believe is in a ‘regram or a retweet. It's all about the amount of people sharing something -– that's the real review. ” He also touched on the subject of social media saying that his pictures have a deeper meaning than what people see; it might be the color inspiration, or an idea for a new look. Altuzarra talked about his latest collection as well. “This season, it was all about growing up in Paris. I was very, very nerdy in school, and I didn't have a lot of friends, and I a lot of bad experiences at school. I think that the emotion and the story that you’re bringing to the show is important-– there aren't a lot of places where you have a captive audience of 400 or 500 people who are willing to share that moment with you and listen to you, especially because of how bombarded by images we all are right now.”
At 2:10 PM, the When Your Second Act is Fashion panel began with Victoria Beckham, and she talked with moderator Nicole Phelps about how she felt when she first got into the fashion industry and she said she surrounded herself with the right people and is “not as scared if I was doing it right knowing what I know now...the product spoke for itself.” This was Beckham’s new career and not just a licensing job. Beckham said “I had to start very small...I wasn't trying to copy what everyone else was doing”. She wanted to continue the Spice Girl’s message through her clothing “I want to reach out and empower all women.”
At 2:15 PM. the Connecting with the Joy of Creativity panel started with John Galliano and moderated by André Leon Talley. Galliano talked about his childhood in London, how “glamour cannot exist unless you have an audience,” and how he was obsessed with perfection until he joined the house of Maison Margiela and “discovered the joy in unfinished (garments).” Galliano also discussed how he has only met Maison Margiela a few times and how “he’s very anonymous.” Margiela’s advice to Galliano was to “Take what you will from the DNA of the house, protect yourself, and make it your own.”
At 3:30 PM Can you Keep Cool...Cool? began with Heron Preston and Off-White’s Virgil Abloh. They talked about how much they hate the word “cool,” meeting each other on the internet, and “how a whole new generation is defining what the city is to them.” Preston talked about how he was inspired to collaborate with the New York Department of Sanitation when he was on a dirty beach in Ibiza. Abloh talked about how 17 year olds are now defining luxury. “Cool Kids want to be rich, rich kids want to be cool...The friction between that is something we’ve always noticed…the luxury world wants so hard to be ‘cool’ and be in the streets, and that is something really becoming relevant.
4:40 PM the panel Disrupt, Disorientate, Doing it His Way started with Demna Gvasalia from Vetements and Balenciaga, and he talked about how he “didn't want to be the guy who just makes hoodies and ripped jeans” so he took the job with Balenciaga. He talked about how “The internet formed and shaped me about fashion.” Eventually, Sarah Mower asked Gvasalia about the pant boot and his response was “very unpractical, but looks hot”. A major part of his motivation to pursue the fashion industry was “rejection and anger.”
The final panel at 5:15 was with Rihanna and moderated by Hamish Bowles. They discussed the Fenty x Puma collection and Fenty Beauty. The Fenty x Puma Spring 2018 collection was a “combination of surf and motocross.” Rihanna said “I have long-term goals in fashion, but not so much with any one brand. You never know what’s going to happen.” Her current fashion obsessions are “tailored looks that feel fresh and youthful.” Rihanna spoke on Fenty beauty saying she had always wanted to get into the beauty industry. “The first woman I saw put on makeup on her face was a black woman–my mom–and when I think of my customers, I want everyone to feel like they can find their color, that they are represented as a part of this new generation.”