Neville Findlay, ZAMBESI

"Reinvention... the Mother of Survival.

Like in so many facets of modern society, rapid change is a predominant influence within the fashion world. Fast forward, instant gratification and disposable trends are so prominent in the twenty teens.  The challenge for those who care is how to hold fast to their long won brand values?

Take the example of a beautiful campaign shoot to launch a new collection. A talented photographer will work their magic together with brilliant models, make-up artist, stylist, hair director and post-production to produce a stunning piece of art, which unless booked for a glossy magazine or poster is likely destined to appear on Facebook, Instagram or other social media where the appreciation and enjoyment of the reader may be measured in a few seconds at best. This situation is of course now a fact of life in our industry and so demands a new and different skill set for our creative’s to master.

The danger lies in the loss of appreciation in the subtleties... of light, contrast and mood that an enduring image may evoke on paper. This is a mere example, but indeed characterises so many aspects of our creative appreciation.

Zambesi has always favoured the notion of producing enduring clothes for real people where season on season there is a connecting thread, and whilst each is fresh and exciting it seems like a generation of collections manifesting as seamless and endless. This modus operandi has given Zambesi a comfortable place in the market where their clientele does not always demand a slavish adherence to fad, colour or trend.

That said, the challenges of today are still to be dealt with and to that extent we all seem to be on a huge learning curve, especially when preserving brand values held dear. The obvious biggie is the huge presence of specialist online shopping sites, aggressively attempting to penetrate into traditional retail shopping habits.

Whilst this is a war that may not be won, it is important to remember and foster what is inherently great about the physical shopping experience. This is surely where one can personalise and enhance “brand love” in a way that even the slickest online operation may be found wanting.

The obvious ideal is to excel on both platforms and to that end Zambesi will soon launch a new improved website, which is just part of their ongoing updating process.

The Zambesi phenomenon started back in 1979 and is now the result of more than just the efforts of its creators. Zambesi is the embodiment of a highly talented design team, dedicated staff, committed family and loyal customers. The way in which Zambesi’s clientele have styled and collected the clothes over the years has been an inspiration to head designer Elisabeth Findlay. She is constantly amazed at the clever way clothes are styled on the street and is truly of the belief that the Zambesi faithful are unique stylists in their own right.

So contemporary challenges are many and complex, but the following maxim should hold true: “Be acutely aware of your ever changing journey... but hold fast to your dream.”