TLQ 0.3 | Editor’s Letter

Letter from the Editor

For TLQ 0.3, The Lead’s Editor-in-Chief Noah Gellman poses the critical question — are today’s fashion brands & retailers taking the right steps to equip themselves to meet an unknown future?

BY Noah Gellman | Co-Founder & CEO | The Lead

We have been spending a lot of time asking ourselves: Are today’s fashion brands and retailers moving fast enough to equip themselves for the unknown ahead?

Fashion is around seven years into a twenty year transition. And as we follow the trajectory of the bell curve, it is safe to say that the rate of change is still increasing and the most significant shifts are ahead of us, not behind.

Preparing for this increasing change-velocity means acknowledging a reality my friend and mentor David Kidder writes on in his new book New to Big, ‘The Future is Discovered, Not Planned.’ And if we are yet to discover this future, we must be prepared when it arrives.

Monitoring changes in customer behavior, understanding what new technologies are available and understanding the way digital native millennial brands are re-imagining fashion and retail – that is table stakes. Fortunately The Leading 100 List and Foremost 50 List do much of this work for you – but is your organization ready to meet the future when it appears?

In a recent speech, Stephen Sadove (the legendary former chairman and CEO of Saks Incorporated) unequivocally stated that when pursuing success in a changing world, culture trumps strategy every time.

So we ask ourselves again: are today’s fashion brands & retailers equipping themselves for the unknown ahead? The murmurs amongst brand and retail executives suggest that the answer is becoming ‘yes.’ We are hearing that organizations are developing ‘cultural master plans’ and looking at a very different talent profile to bring these plans to life. Recruiting is happening internally and externally (to the company and the industry). But the desired profiles suggest a bend toward science rather than art, versatility rather than specialty, speed over perfection – these seem to be the foundational considerations when assessing new talent and executing the ‘cultural masterplan.’

The future that these companies are preparing for is emerging from the Global Silicon Valley. Over the next few months, our research team will be completing The Leading 100: our flagship list of emerging technology companies that sit in the sweet-spot where innovation is shifting behavior and creating new opportunities.

We invite today’s fashion brands and retailers to equip themselves to meet these opportunities.

Noah Gellman

Editor-in-Chief | Co-Founder & CEO

The Lead