October’s – ‘The Bravery Issue’ – Download Now

Holli Rogers is brave. Having championed new brands for over a decade, in her dual role as CEO at Browns Fashion & CBO at Farfetch, she is integral to celebrating creativity, diversity and providing an ecosystem that encourages both.

Tell us about your dual role and how you manage to balance the two?

I joined Browns five years ago and am incredibly proud of the work achieved to date, we are this year celebrating the brands 50th anniversary which is such a momentous milestone. This hand-in-hand with the dual role within FARFETCH has really given us the opportunity across the group to talk to fashion in a meaningful way, one that resonates with the larger customer base whilst continuing to build on the Farfetch brand.

You’ve built a superb team. What do you look for when hiring?

Firstly, thank you! We think they’re an amazing bunch of people too! Obviously, we want to work with people with incredible experience and who love fashion and technology, but it’s much more than that for us. Our culture is something we’re really proud of and we have a simply incredible team. We’ve been able to build this team because we’re values-focused. Our values are important to us and they have been critical in building the incredible culture we have over the years. Our values are:

• Be Human

• Think Global

•Todos Juntos (which means ‘Everyone Together’ in Portuguese)

• Be Revolutionary

• Be Brilliant

• Amaze Customers

We love it when people bring their whole selves to work, so we look for people who see themselves in these values and who would feel at home in a culture like Farfetch’s. Obviously, we are also looking for people who are really creative, who adore fashion and who also love the transformative nature of technology as well.  But, we hire from many different career backgrounds as we think people’s experience, both in work and in life can be applied in new roles. We talk about people being ‘Good for Farfetch’, ‘Good for Role’ and ‘Good for Growth’ – meaning that they can apply their past experiences to new challenges.

You have to wear many ‘hats’ in your current roles – do you find you’re naturally adept at any and which do you enjoy the most?

One of the things I love most about my work here is the variety in my day to day – it’s hard to choose a favourite part!  I have to be both creative but also really strategic and focused and I really enjoy that mix. I’ve loved fashion all of my life, but I’ve also loved taking that creative side and helping grow successful businesses.

When you’ve moved in your career or taken on new challenges, did you go with your gut?

Yes, I’m a big believer in following your gut and not being afraid to make brave choices. I also think it is important to not always adhere to the constructs of what a job role should look like, how do we define a CEO? For example, in 2003 I took a year-long sabbatical as after years of travel and long hours – it was the right thing for me to do for myself. In truth, only you know what you need so it is important to follow your own path.

Which brands or products are your real hero buys this season and which are you most proud of discovering?

This season I’m investing in accessories from Bottega Venetta – Daniel Lee can do no wrong, homewares from the very talented Anissa Kermiche and anything from Richard Quinn as we are all craving dressing up. I also am a huge fan of the Adidas x Lotta Volkova collection, it is undoubtedly the collaboration of the season, and Lotta is the talented stylist behind the FARFETCH campaign.

You’ve created such a supportive ecosystem for brands – how have you achieved this?

Both FARFETCH and Browns were community-focused businesses from day one. Jose Neves, FARFETCH’s founder and CEO, was a shoe designer and boutique owner himself before he started the company, so he had a deep understanding of the fashion industry and what would be helpful for the community – and that’s why he built FARFETCH as a platform for the industry. Browns, similarly, was also always about supporting and championing the community of up and coming designers – it was never just about retailing alone, but also about fostering the fashion community as a whole.

We’ve kept this philosophy going now over many years. Browns is coming up to its 50-year anniversary and FARFETCH is almost 13 years old. In both businesses, we are still very committed to helping the fashion industry thrive.

We love Farfetch’s rebrand – what was the thought process behind this and why now?

FARFETCH has been partnering with some of the world’s best designers and stores for over 10 years and is now in its second chapter as a company – we needed an identity that reflects that. This point in our journey is the perfect moment to build on our growth so far, and marks a new era for us.

Do you have any brands you’ve been faithful to wearing for years?

I’m pretty faithful to brands when it comes to footwear – Manolo Blahnik, Amina Muaddi and Aquazurra come to mind. I also love supporting the next generation of talent and am currently wearing Marine Serre, Duran Lantink and Richard Quinn on repeat.

What today in this market is luxury?

Luxury is the ability to reflect and as the campaign says to open doors, and our minds. I’m hoping with this current moment of pause coupled with the need to be more sustainably-minded that within the luxury arena we can collectively find ways to slow down, and in turn champion the value of products and design longer.

Do you see any buying patterns in terms of global sales?

This season, we have definitely seen a shift towards more classical and effortless styles as well as comfort and athletic wear. We are also seeing an uplift in investment pieces including fine jewellery and bags. I do think that we will naturally see a shift in shopping habits which I believe we were already seeing prior to the pandemic. This is particularly prevalent within the younger generation of customers who are much more consciously minded and who are also pivoting spending to more lifestyle-focused products, whether that be wellbeing or homewares along with experiences. They are also seeking brands with values and authentic stories to tell and I think this will become more important than ever.

What effect has social media played on the fashion industry’s growth?

Social media has played a huge role in driving trends globally and connecting people from around the world. It is an incredible resource to scout new talent, discover brands and platform new voices and I know the buyers at Browns use it as a constant reference. It also has been an incredible tool in driving social awareness and consciousness within the fashion community with many brands and designers using it as a way to educate, connect and inspire.

What advice would you give to your younger self starting out?

Trust your instinct and don’t get caught up in the hype. You can have very clear goals, flexibility in how you get there is key.

This is ‘The Bravery Issue’ – what to you is bravery?

Making bold choices and challenging the status quo. For fashion, I think we have to approach the future only looking forward to what lies ahead, avoiding nostalgia.

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Images: Supplied