The ASEAN Fashion Designers Council was established to assist fashion designers from developing member countries in globally competitive industries. – Image courtesy of CAFD

KUALA LUMPUR, 30 July – The fashion industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors because Covid-19 is damaging the economy worldwide.

With major retailers forced to close due to a pandemic, the Asean Fashion Design Board (CAFD) said it was time for the industry to reorganize its business landscape to ensure sustainability.

The pandemic, he said, has accelerated digitalization and has changed consumer behavior.

Honorary Chair of CAFD, Datuk Kenn Yam, believes this is an important moment for designers to rethink, re-create, and regenerate to be sustainable.

“For decades, the fashion industry was dictated by traditions and conventional methods for marketing and promoting.

“The progress of e-commerce and the growth of environmentally responsible consumers have changed purchasing behavior,” Yam said in a press release.

Yam said it was time for the designers to rethink, re-create and regenerate to stay sustainable.  - Image courtesy of CAFD
Yam said it was time for the designers to rethink, re-create and regenerate to stay sustainable. – Image courtesy of CAFD

The Council also wants to bridge the gap between designers from Asean countries and global consumers.

“However, there is a perception gap between the majority of Asean designers and global consumers in terms of 4P namely products, prices, promotions and distribution points.

“This is what CAFD will bridge as an ASEAN organization to help independent designers sell in today’s global markets,” he said.

CAFD was established to democratize the fashion industry by creating an equal playing field for Asean designers, enabling these talents to become part of the global market and develop in a globally competitive industry.

Since its inception, CAFD has encouraged Asean designers to carve a niche for themselves by prioritizing tailored clothing and high-quality materials while staying abreast of innovative technology and digital marketing strategies.

Trang owns and co-founded Vietnam International Fashion Week and has rights to Next Top Models and Project Runways in Southeast Asia.  - Image courtesy of CAFD
Trang owns and co-founded Vietnam International Fashion Week and has rights to Next Top Models and Project Runways in Southeast Asia. – Image courtesy of CAFD

But a few decades later and millions of people invested to promote their own country’s designers, there was little progress with Asean designers still being categorized as emerging designers.

To support the CAFD designer, the board recently appointed a new committee consisting of an eclectic group of leading entrepreneurs and professionals in the fields of technology, fashion, media and entertainment with influential business networks.

“Each committee member brings a rich network of business and marketing resources to guide and help fashion designers navigate their business to the world,” Yam said.

The newly appointed president of CAFD is the owner of Vietnam International Fashion Week (VIFW) and co-founder Trang Le.

In addition to being an important figure in one of the biggest fashion week events in Asean, Trang has Southeast Asian rights to Next Top Model and Project Runway.

The two CAFD vice presidents are Warner Music Group Malaysia Managing Director Darren Choy and Yeoh-One TV Network Vietnam CEO Tri Dao Phuc – both industry leaders will promote CAFD members using their social marketing and celebrity network experiences.

Fashion designer Bon Zainal and Warner Music Malaysia Darren Choy are part of the new committee.  - Image courtesy of CAFD
Fashion designer Bon Zainal and Warner Music Malaysia Darren Choy are part of the new committee. – Image courtesy of CAFD

CAFD secretary is Datuk Tan Yee Boon’s corporate register specialist while former People’s Bank and Ambank director Datuk Idris Mohd Esa are board treasurers – both of whom have also been appointed as CAFD’s corporate advisors.

Each Asean country will also have its own CAFD country advisor, consisting of influential figures to inspire independent fashion designers to be globally competitive.

They include the president of the Malaysian Designer Bumiputera Association and fashion designer Bon Zainal (Malaysia), senior investment partner of the Brunei government Johan Johar (Brunei) and famous fashion designer Remy Hou (Cambodia) who have designed for people such as Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.

At present, China is the largest consumer market in the world for fashion but it is also one of the most challenging markets.

To help Asean designers navigate the Chinese market, CAFD has appointed Chenguang Liu as his advisor in China.

Liu, who is the deputy secretary general of the China Communications Department’s Film and Television Communication Center, will guide CAFD members in understanding Chinese marketing culture to be successful.

To begin, CAFD Trang president will produce a virtual trunk fashion show that will be available in a special mobile application that features artificial intelligence and augmented reality for in-depth experiences when shopping for Asean craftsman clothing.

Find out more at CAFD website.

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