Fashion is an everchanging game and it’s important to be on top of it if you are aiming to be successful. We spoke with Victoria Dias, an industry player with a clear vision of success. Having worked with fashion companies of all sizes from emerging brands to 100-year companies, in the last 16 years, Victoria has given us her views on what’s actually important in the fashion industry for the emerging brands to succeed.
Fashion Bloc: Tell us briefly about yourself – you’re currently based in Lithuania and consulting some of the Lithuanian designers. How did you get there? What else are you up to professionally?
Victoria Dias: I am human. I am a fashion industry insider. I help brands to develop more relevant products and brand strategies. Yes, I am located in Vilnius, yet I do work with global brands and social projects related to the fashion & lifestyle industry.
FB: What is your professional background?
VD: I am a textile engineer but I work following my fashion & lifestyle branding MBA and fashion creative direction MBA formation. I consult fashion brands for the last 16 years in core aspects of brand development, product & communication strategies. I also teach at Vilnius Art Academy, I lecture seminars and lead workshops in Lithuania and other countries.
FB: You have worked with big and emerging brands – what are the main differences and are there any similarities in the challenges they face?
VD: Some of my clients are just-born-projects some others are family companies with more than 120 years in the textile industry. The challenges that remain eternal for brands are to remain relevant to your times, to deliver products that are fresh, surprise your customer and the industry, to change in time without anyone noticing it, love your customer, people/society over yourself.
FB: What is the future of fashion?
VD: To understand that a brand is a journey, not a destination (because to have to work constantly). To understand that a brand is a tool to transform and impact society and its culture. Brands will become platforms to educate, form and integrate people. Sustainability has also some role but not the one that media is trying to sell. The main change for brands in the future is cultural and not technical.
FB: How do you work with young brands? What’s the process like?
VD: With each brand it is different. With each brand or project, I create a personalised working system according to the client’s needs, budget and time resources.
FB: Your work relies on data analysis, forecasting and AI, how come? How did you get there?
VD: I got to learn and explore AI because it seems to me to be the right thing for me. I got here because I look at the fashion industry holistically and it is fun to learn new aspects, to discover new and powerful tools to help my clients to reach new levels.
FB: Do you see any patterns that so-called post-Soviet emerging brands are sharing?
VD: Yes. The pattern is fear. Most of the so-called post soviet brands look desperately to the “west”. Unfortunately, many designers tend to be a mere echo of luxury Nordic or west premium brands. With some talented exceptions, most of the brands are a local (miss) interpretation of leading global brands. Most of them are afraid to be directional, to express a radical idea and to experience freedom so they prefer to be local versions of Celine, Rick Owens, Yamamoto, Rubchinskiy (ex-soviet too), etc.
FB: There is an on-going hype about the former Eastern Bloc designers that started predominantly with Ukrainian Revolution (so quite a few editors in the West have noticed Kiev’s fashion scene) and spread with the Demna Gvasalia. What is your take on that?
VD: Both textile & fashion industry are industries with strong traditions but not hermetic. Textile is one of the oldest industries in the world with a very clear map and traditional players. But it is also an industry open to new talents. I also lecture special seminars at the Tbilisi Art Academy and love the students there because they are so brave; they explore their identity, passions and fears. In the case of some ex-soviet brand boom, I believe they are related to politic propaganda and country positioning marketing. Some countries decide to invest in fashion as a foreign policy strategy. I know it because I work in developing a country image through fashion & textiles too.
FB: Do you believe in brands or in designers?
VD: I believe in strong ideas and projects that have a positive impact on our present & future.
This article is a part of DIY Monthly – digital membership with Fashion Bloc for emerging fashion brands.