Twenty years ago (in 2000), long before the launch of Facebook, Instagram and the iPhone, Federico Marchetti founded YOOX, the world’s first lifestyle e-commerce destination. And in 2015, Marchetti drove the game-changing merger of YOOX and NET-A-PORTER to create YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP, the world leader in online luxury fashion. Federico was dubbed “the man who put fashion on the net” by TheNew York Times, the publication also suggested that “no-one has had more to do with bringing e-commerce to fashion than Federico Marchetti”. He convinced many luxury houses to take their initial steps online at a time when the web was largely unchartered territory.

Speaking to Shereen Bhan, managing editor, CNBC TV-18.at the 18th edition of the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Federico shared how it all started, “It was 1999, and I wanted to be an entrepreneur…. I thought that one day fashion was going to intersect with technology, the internet especially. Because those two worlds in 1999 were completeley separate and they needed someone to bring them together. And that’s basically been my role for the past 20 years. I’ve been trying to combine luxury with technology for the past 20 years. My inspiration, my philosophy has always been to find a good balance between human and machine.”

 

He went on, “Luxury is an industry that is all about emotion, quality and beauty, while technology is all about process, data and speed. I think it’s important to find a balance because if you move more towards technology you alienate the luxury, and if you are too much into luxury then you are missing out on the biggest trend ever in the fashion industry, which is the digitization of it.”

On being asked what the future of fashion and the union of luxury and technology will mean in a post-pandemic world especially since people have stopped going to physical stores in order to maintain health and safety rules on account of coronavirus, “The quality of digital shops have improved dramatically since 2005 when I came up with the first idea, and sometimes I have to say that digital shops are better than physical shops. But this doesn’t mean that physical shops will disappear. There will be a balance between going to physical shops and digital shops. And the final stage will be the perfect integration between the two.”

Talking about emerging trends and what will be drivers of change, he shared, “In the past few months we have seen a big, big increase in everything that is timeless and investment pieces.”

About sustainability in fashion he said, “In order to become more and more sustainable you need to use the progress and advancement coming from technology. He added that, the “Pandemic has made people aware of sustainable fashion. More and more brands and customers are now becoming aware of sustainable fashion.”