Starting today, Oxfordshire’s Soho Farmhouse will host VOICES, the Business of Fashion's three-day gathering for industry professionals, now in its second year. The invitation-only event brings together big thinkers, entrepreneurs and visionaries from across the fashion spectrum, to share their experiences, challenge conventional wisdoms and explore new opportunities.
In true BoF style, this is much more than a traditional industry conference. Through a series of provocative talks, interactive discussions and group activities, the experience-based program invites attendees to open their minds, and is designed to take them out of their comfort zone. Among the list of speakers participating in this years event are Antoine Arnault, Chief Executive of Berluti, designer Dries Van Noten, model and philanthropist Natalia Vodianova and Sarah Andelman, the Creative Director of Paris lifestyle store Colette.
During last year’s inaugural event, casting director James Scully gave an impassioned talk about the unacceptable abuse of models, which opened up an industry wide discussion about the issue. And the industry charter to protect models, spearheaded by Scully, has since been signed by both Kering and LVMH.
In an effort to allow further discussion this year, VOICES 2017 will see the introduction of intimate salon-style conversations where attendees will have the chance to examine and discuss key global and industry issues more closely. Among the topics that will be explored in the VOICES salons are the circular economy, the reinvention of retail, and what fashion can learn from the sharing economy, which will be hosted by Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb.
The three-day event will culminate with a gala dinner this Friday, in honor of the recipient of the Global 2017 VOICES award. This year, BoF will be honoring Natalia Vodianova, not only in recognition of her impressive modelling career, but of her many charitable endeavours. From founding the Naked Heart Foundation and Elbi, the global philanthropy app, to her work as a member of the Board of Directors of the Special Olympics and her advocacy for full implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, she has had an exemplary impact on the wider world.