On March 21 we met at Manufacture NY for the insight event on the topic of culture and values. After discussing the process of defining core values, vernacular ("fashion designer" vs "entrepreneur"), and the culture differences between B2B and B2C, we surfaced the key themes of what is and what we'd like to see.
While there is a lot of agreement in the room that "things need to change," there is also an understanding that change is happening all around us. And so we are actually in a fortunate position where the momentum is building, and we have simply to choose what to do with it and orient our efforts. The challenge is to identify the values that will carry us in a productive and constructive direction. And then to get a critical mass empowered to work together that way.
So in the interest of getting there, we are taking an audit of where we are, and the thoughts circulating under the radar. From that conversation, some larger trends emerge.
Re culture and values in the fashion industry, we would like to see:
1) Schools teaching the importance of having a productive corporate culture.
2) Clearly defined values, for internal and external use, shared publicly
3) A constant referencing within companies of values in decision making
4) Community in corporations, meaning a feeling of connection between management and coworkers
5) Fashion lose its reputation and gain one that celebrates the humans
6) Understanding fellow workers across departments
7) A new culture created from the industry leadership in American fashion
8) A singular founder/designer vision translated to global brand mission
9) For institutional and governmental regulations to enable full time positions rather than encouraging freelance (i.e. Company sponsored health care)
10) Values that engage every aspect of an organization's operations
*An important amendment to the list (added 4/11/16):
11) Companies identify fostering talent and developing talent as key aspects of future growth.
The key to putting these steps into motion is to bring awareness through community engagement and education. Here we are going to do our best to facilitate that.
Thanks for reading, and for being engaged in your future and the future of the industry.
See you soon.