Campus life: Learning from challenges

Last April, accompanied by Pr Hua Li, four international students from the MSc in Marketing Management took part in the 2022 Future Retail Challenge during the World Retail Congress in Rome. The…
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21 Apr 2022

Last April, accompanied by Pr Hua Li, four international students from the MSc in Marketing Management took part in the 2022 Future Retail Challenge during the World Retail Congress in Rome. The focus was on rethinking the fast fashion business model in order to make it sustainable for the companies, the planet, and the people. The program provided the students with coaching sessions.


It’s a fact. The fast-fashion produces colossal waste and puts huge pressure on the planet's resources. Its business model is considered unsustainable for the environment and as a business model. “The global clothing industry must abandon the fast fashion business model within the next ten years, says Robert Genz, Co-CEO of Zalando. The fashion industry is part of a global sustainability problem.”


Refashioning fast fashion

Against this background, the World Retail Congress chose to challenge students to find ways so fast fashion can serve the needs of the people and the planet. To begin the challenge, each team had to select a fast-fashion retailer to research and understand the fast-fashion retailer you have selected, and specifically its current policies and strategies to tackle sustainability. Then, they had to take their chosen retailer forward five years to 2027 and show how you would generate 25% of income from activities that reduce or replace the consumption of new physical products, or through products that fully comply with the principles of the circular economy.

Key learnings

A challenge is not just about winning but also learning. “We learned how to make an idea into a concrete business proposal, which leveraged our capability of problem-solving”, says Yutong Yu. “These real-life cases make us start thinking like a real businessperson,” comments Ruoyan Tan. Ruoyan feels she has gained in-depth knowledge that she had not been exposed to before. “For example, by widely conducting research about the second-hand market and fast fashion industry, we found a way to combine the two trends into one digital community for the sustainable goal. We believe that applying blockchain technology in the digital community for consumers to understand the story and unique value behind each garment is the key to transforming the relationship between product and consumer.” The challenge made the EDHEC team realise that sustainability, digitalization, and customer-centricity are starting to become the main core of business development. But also, that “building an emotional connection with people is the key point to promote a creative idea”, explains Yuli Wang. After the competition, the team enjoyed intriguing speeches and conversations with retail industry professionals from all over the world. “I particularly liked the Q&A session with Ron Johnson who is the CEO and founder of Enjoy. He gave us insights into the retail industry performance over the years from his experience and some future trends to look forwards to. Later on, I enjoyed listening to Ira Kalish from Deloitte talk about the impacts of pandemic and Russia Ukraine war on the retail & supply chain industry”, recalls Rohit Bhushan. An unforgettable experience for the team of four. 


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