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Aug 31, 2023
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Podcast: Yann Rivoallan (FFPAPF) explains how French brands can benefit from the rise of artificial intelligence

Translated by
Aug 31, 2023

Yann Rivoallan is the latest guest on the LuxurynsightXFashionNetwork podcast. In a conversation with Olivier Guyot, editor-in-chief of FashionNetwork.com, the president of the French Federation of Women’s Ready-to-Wear (FFPAPFretraces his career, which is intrinsically linked to the web, from his first computer in the 1980s (an IBM 5155 PC) to the rise of artificial intelligence in the fashion industry.

As an ESCP graduate, he has had a significant digital presence for a long time. In 2008, he co-founded the consulting agency The Oz, specializing in e-commerce delegation strategies and the Shopify ecosystem. This ecosystem is a major player in shaping brand strategies in the digital age.

Scaling in the fashion industry

As the head of the Federation since June 2022—a year marked by challenges like Camaïeu's downfall, numerous legal restructurings, and rampant inflation—Rivoallan's mission is to guide French fashion brands through their daily challenges. These challenges include the digitalization of their business and the "scalability" of their offerings (the product's ability to adapt to demand and market fluctuations).

In this episode, he also discusses the leading Chinese ultra-fast fashion platform, Shein, with its "100% annual growth" and its controversial success. Rivoallan emphasized, "Its growth disrupts the entire ecosystem. One of the Federation's missions is to analyze the collateral effects of such a company, which can achieve a turnover of 30 billion euros."

He believes it's necessary to "stop Shein and all actors with similar methods" that encourage overconsumption. He acknowledges that such political engagement "takes time in the European Union," but France can be a pioneer. "On a French level, we can set an example, influence Europe, and lead the rest of the world. This is what we did with the law on influencers, forcing them to adopt healthier and more ethical practices," he added.

The role of artificial intelligence

A crucial aspect behind the stratospheric success of the Chinese giant Shein, criticized for its highly polluting overproduction model due to the daily upload of over 8,000 new products on its site, is its "quality of innovation" and "use of artificial intelligence," noted the well-versed global fashion player.

Explaining Shein's valuation surpassing that of H&M and Zara combined, Rivoallan stated, "What sets Shein apart is its ability to retrieve data from Google, social networks, analyze searches, trends, and forecast sales on their site. It's an extraordinary, purely algorithmic ability that can only be achieved through computing."

Optimistic about the future, the creativity, and resilience of French labels, Rivoallan added, "French brands have the ability to co-create their designs with artificial intelligence, either to be more creative or to probabilistically find what's most likely to sell. Brands need to learn to produce better and less, while consumers need to consume better and less."

The president of the Federation highlighted avenues like second-hand and circular fashion as potential solutions.

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