The Power Within Fashion Is Differentiation | The Talk of Alicia Yu on InnoBrand 2018

December 5,2018

The InnoBrand Competition was founded in 2015 by Luxe.CO and has been held for four consecutive years. It is the only entrepreneurial competition in China focusing on fashion and lifestyle. On November 30th 2018, the “InnoBrand 2018” final was held in Shanghai, 15 Chinese and overseas fashion and lifestyle entrepreneurial teams staged to present the brand's design concepts, features, business models and team, facing the questions from the jury, composed by the top professionals in investment and fashion industry.

The following is the opening speech of Alicia Yu, the founder of Luxe.CO, and the president of Orange Bay University, on the final day.

InnoBrand is the only entrepreneurial competition in China that focuses on fashion and lifestyle. Quite often I meet people who criticize that, fashion brands rise too slow compared to technology startups. In this regard, I usually sedately respond, a good brand is a great friend of the time, and the accumulation of brand equity must not be the result of quick piling.

Recently, I saw a saying from Jeffrey Preston Bezos, the founder of Amazon, allow me to start thinking about the relationship between fast and slow from another perspective. The general idea of Bezos is that Amazon will go bankrupt ultimately since throughout history, the average life expectancy, even for a gigantic company, is only 30 years.

I believe that when Bezos said this, he must have not given a thought of the fashion industry, thus in this world, almost every far-famed brand retains a long-living history -- Louis Vuitton 164 years, Chanel 108 years, Gucci 97 years, Hermès 181 years, and Patek Philippe 167 years. Beyond the past, given the current market position of these brands, it cannot be too daunting for them to keep up vibrant for another century.

They are the undoubtedly built to last, because the unchanging elements contained in these brands are far greater than the changing ones, and their existence responds to the request of human beings for being stylish and sophisticated. Time passes, this request stays continuously despite the rapid change and iteration in technology.

If the business life expectancy is only 30 years, then the measurement unit of its life speed will naturally be extremely short. Every year, every quarter, even every month, you are expected to take a new step and accomplish a new achievement, especially in today's highly competitive, dramatically evolving circumstances. Conversely, if the life expectancy of a business is 100 years, or even eternally, then the measurement unit will be far longer.

It turns out that underneath the apparent relationship between fast and slow,  it is actually the difference in the measurement unit of life speed. The fashion business is to use aesthetics, creativities, and subtle but unique humanity compassion to gain the resonance, acquiring, and even loyalty.

Compared with other types of businesses, the fashion industry requires relatively slight capital when embracing an unlimited imagination. The reason is, usually, the starting point of fashion entrepreneurship is an unobvious but strongly independent personality, often simply driven by interest and passion instead of profit. A fact that is often overlooked is that the business of maximizing revenue and efficiency is often difficult to differentiate, and the differentiation of fashion is profoundly rooted in humanity, which is to say, each individual is determinately unique.

Looking back over the past four years, fashion entrepreneurs and brands came to InnoBrand have shown a strong personality. Under the diligent entrepreneurial spirit, unexceptionally, they pursue persistent uniqueness and aesthetics. I believe that most of them all carry the dream of shaping a timeless and classic brand. For this dream, they would rather be precipitated and polished in loneliness, and gain more solid growth at a slow pace.

I recently read an article by Tony Chi, a famous Chinese-American architect. And I want to share his views here -- in terms of enabling things a touch of unique charm, people are always better than machines. Differentiation is neither abnormality nor outlier, it is a potency and power.

The power within fashion first and foremost exists in differentiation, followed by endless creativity and strong vitality.


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