This September, Vilnius Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts, in cooperation with Vilnius Academy of Arts, Design Innovation Center and the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Italy, within the framework of Enterprise Europe Network, organized two events with the participation of the Italian fashion design expert Alessandro Maria Ferreri.
Ferreri, who has been working with luxury goods for over twenty years, has a wide range of experience, from working at the United Nations in New York to leading positions with the most famous luxury brands. The Turin-born engineer worked for many years as Managing Director in Asia for the global fashion conglomerate Aeffe Group and later as Retail and Sales Director for Jean Paul Gaultier (when it was owned by Hermès). In 2008, he returned to his native Italy to become Sales Director for the prestigious fashion house Etro. Now Ferreri works for The Style Gate, a consultancy company he founded, which focuses on global brand development, offering management services to both start-up and already established companies. He is also a tenured Lecturer, Field Coach and Project Mentor at the London Royal College of Arts and the Università Cattolica di Milano.
On September 12, Alessandro Maria Ferreri met with Lithuanian designers and other representatives of the fashion industry. During the one-to-one consultations, he shared his knowledge on the creation and successful development of brands, the efficient use of resources and the creation and expansion of the production chain. Ferreri also discussed the possibilities of entering the Italian fashion market, establishing contacts and cooperation as well as participation in exhibitions and competitions. During the B2B meeting, the Italian expert evaluated the quality of the Lithuanian business models, shared insights and gave advice on how to improve the business position on the market.
After the meeting with the Italian fashion design expert, Rita Žalynienė, whose children’s and women’s clothing company RZstyle&fashion has been successfully selling natural fabric products in Lithuania and online stores for eight years, welcomed the opportunity to meet with a top-level fashion professional and to hear valuable insights about her clothing brand. The designer noted that Ferreri was very clear about the opportunities for her company to expand, listed the pros and cons, and pointed out the directions where there is room for improvement. “Now I see a much clearer direction for my business,” Žalynienė says.
Designer Vida Strasevičiūtė, who works as Development Manager at BARKER Textiles / Nareco, echoed Žalynienė, stressing that she took away from the meeting several ideas on possible sales directions for the company’s products and even the possibility of cooperation.
Rasa Braziulienė, the CEO of Euronita, a young private limited company with extensive experience in textile production in Lithuania, was pleasantly surprised by the simplicity and professionalism of the guest. She was impressed that Ferreri was familiar with the creative aspects of the fashion industry as well as with construction, sewing technologies and production processes. “For us, Lithuanian textile manufacturers, who have been facing challenges, it was useful to hear how Italy, one of the biggest fashion gurus in the world, deals with similar problems,” the CEO of Euronita said. Her company has been working with well-known clothing brands such as Burberry, Barbour, M&S, Ted Baker PURE (UK), Isabel Marant (France), Mayerline (Belgium), Stenstroms (Sweden) and others. Braziulienė was also impressed by Ferreri’s perceptive advice for those considering and hesitating to create their own brand. The fashion design expert helped to assess the potential of her company, to understand what kind of product is worth offering in an already saturated fashion market, when it is not even worth starting, what the most important first steps are and how not to become a creator of a collection for one season. Braziulienė’s only regret was that such a useful and interesting meeting had to be interrupted after thirty minutes.
Agnes Krasauskas, a footwear and handbag designer and owner of a private company, particularly appreciated the guest’s insights and advice. She especially liked Ferreri’s suggestion “to put a little bit of dream,” when talking about product photo shoots.
Reda Budvilaitienė, the CEO of a private limited company Reda Design, liked the fact that the meeting with the Italian fashion design expert was businesslike. The founder of the womenswear brand Reda Couture was pleasantly surprised that Ferreri came to the meeting already familiar with her brand. “Since the meeting time was limited, he got straight down to business,” Budvilaitienė noted. “I heard some specific tips and insights. It was very valuable to hear it from such a renowned fashion professional.”
On September 13, the guest from Italy gave an open lecture at the special event “Design Talks” as part of the “Young Designer Prize” competition hosted by the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Other members of the jury: Liene Jākobsone (Latvia), Kristian Snorre Andersen (Denmark), Agnieszka Jacobson-Cielecka (Poland) and Omnigroup (Switzerland), also gave presentations. Vilnius Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts, Enterprise Europe Network and Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Italy were the partners of the event.
Deimantė Vilčinskaitė, Co-Chair of the Culture and Creative Industries Sectorial Group and Export Development Manager of Vilnius CCIC, welcomed the close cooperation with the Lithuanian economic diplomacy and Vilnius Academy of Arts, a member of Vilnius Chamber. She noted that thanks to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Italy, Vilnius Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts was able to invite an expert in luxury fashion brands to Lithuania, who advised Lithuanian designers and companies in the fashion sector. “Seeing the high demand for such meetings from Lithuanian companies, we are planning new activities and strengthening partnerships in the cultural and creative industries sectors,” Vilčinskaitė says.
Enterprise Europe Network is Europe’s largest business support network that unites over 3 000 organizations in more than 50 countries. The Network’s member organizations provide services to small- and medium-sized businesses through databases and peer-to-peer experience to help them grow their businesses in international markets. The Network is represented in Lithuania by Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Crafts and the Lithuanian Innovation Center. Vilnius Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Crafts actively participates in the sectorial groups of Culture and Creative Industries and Retail, and the thematic groups International and Single Market, which allow to strengthen partnerships with organizations from other countries, share experience, organize business networking events, and act as an intermediary in introducing Lithuanian companies to potential partners in foreign markets.