The Role of Fashion, e-commerce and "Made in Italy" in a rapidly changing scenario - ICCIUK Interview
Lucia Restani is an Italian entrepreneur, founder of Showcase It by LR, and a new member of the ICCIUK.
With over 15 years of experience in consulting for major luxury fashion brands and in styling a portfolio of international women, she has a true passion for promoting Italian excellence and artigianato, artisanal handicraft.
Recently, she has decided to make use of her background and expertise by creating an independent shopping platform, Showcase It by LR, which provides a truly Italian personal shopping experience: thanks to Lucia’s exceptional styling skills, she can provide a tailored and exclusive consultation on a handpicked selection of exclusive and limited-edition collections made with the finest “Made in Italy” fabrics and crafted by leading Italian manufactures.
Her core value is indeed to support authentic brands and craftsmanship that pursue Italian excellence and high-quality, produced with a sustainable approach.
We have reached out to her to get to know more about her new platform and to hear about her views on COVID-19, Brexit and “Made in Italy”.
ICC: You have recently launched your independent shopping platform, Showcase IT by LR, after years in consulting. Tell us more about the project and, in particular, the motivations behind its creation.
LR: The project is actually a bi-product of the pandemic, I must admit. All of a sudden, I could not meet clients, organise events, visit suppliers, and therefore I needed to find a formula that would allow me to evolve while remaining authentic to my core values and my work.
Additionally, I could see the struggle of Italian artisans and manufactures to survive during all the changes that were going on and, at the same time, to compete with the big companies. In Italy we have plenty of small and medium artisanal companies with amazing know-how, as well as many creative people, and I am committed to supporting them through Showcase It by LR.
The platform is like a curated concept store that offers a window to niche, sustainable and limited produced lines, while keeping a very personal approach and direct access to myself and my expertise.
ICC: In your opinion, how is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the shopping trends of individuals and how can the fashion world try to exploit this situation?
LR: The pandemic has changed our way of living and the fashion sector, as a reflection of customs and lifestyle, has been hit quite hard and it had to adapt fast to changes.
The lack of opportunities to go out and wear different clothes has led to a major drop in ready-to-wear sales, but also a change in the general mood. There has been an increasingly strong request for leisure and sport clothing, rather than smart or evening garments. Of course, designers are being called upon to be able to respond to this new mood through their collections, and brands need to be able to evolve without losing their DNA.
Moreover, people not being able to visit stores has meant that everyone started to shop online: therefore, those who already had a presence online or were able to quickly build their presence there were visible, whereas those with lack of means or a more traditional approach were strongly penalised.
Certainly, there will be no coming back from the implementation of new technology, and probably shops will have a slightly different function in the near future.
ICC: And how is your platform and, in general, the e-commerce sector, going to be affected by Brexit?
LR: My platform is relatively new and still needs a lot of work to grow; therefore, Brexit is a particularly demanding challenge, due to all the additional bureaucracy and costs that come with it for those who, like me, have a business based on goods coming from the EU.
The situation for e-commerce platforms focused on UK products is different and, especially in the short term, I do think that they will have an advantage because they will not be subject to duties or to add-on expenses for imports.
However, I believe that, similarly to every major change, it takes time for a new situation to adjust, but eventually it will; I also believe that there will always be desire and curiosity for what comes from overseas.
ICC: In your platform you do stress the importance of sustainability: in your opinion, how is the fashion world adapting to this increasingly important trend? What more can and should be done?
LR: First of all, sustainability is a very broad subject, and it means different things to different people or, better, some people may only consider a single aspect of it. This is why, through my platform and initiatives connected to it, I am doing my best to communicate and clarify many aspects around this concept. The pandemic has made everyone more conscious about the importance of taking care of the environment we live in, and the change in the general mindset can be revolutionary if we act genuinely on it.
I believe that the key aspects are transparency on all the steps and elements of the products, and education toward the customers, but also a level of responsibility from the consumers themselves in researching what is behind the label.
As an example, in a certified Made in Italy product, sustainability is often implicit if we consider the various elements that goes into it, starting from the choice of quality materials, the respect of labour and environment to the limits of how much can be produced. Therefore, the product has always been sustainable but, in the past, there was no need to communicate and state it, while today we can and we must inform more. ·
For more information, please visit: www.showcaseitbylr.com www.luciarestani.com