Vicenza Fair urges jewel trade to connect to “new consumers”
VICENZA, Italy, May 21, 2011 – An international panel of jewellery and fashion leaders appealed to the jewellery trade today to identify requirements of the “new consumers” as technological and design innovations change the face of the industry.
The Internet and use of unusual materials in jewellery making, as well as fresh approaches to retail sales beyond the classic jewellery shop, will guide development of the trade, the panellists said in a roundtable discussion at a packed opening ceremony at VICENZAORO Charm, which runs from May 21 -25.
“There are four keywords: contemporaneity, discriminating consumers, fashion-design, trends,” said Roberto Ditri, President of Vicenza Fair in his plenary speech.
“We will finally gain a better understanding of who these “new consumers” are. Until recently, our knowledge of them has been too superficial, but we will finally acquire a clear overview of how they perceive jewellery, how creativity evolves and even how future sales channels will develop, who wears jewellery and where it is bought.”
In a debate entitled “Who is afraid?” (of change), Dutch artist/jeweller Gijs Bakker said the classical format of the jewellery shop was looking increasingly out of date, and that design boutiques were now well placed to sell jewels that embraced new technologies, unusual materials and vanguard designs.
“Distribution is still too classic,” Bakker said.
“It is too concentrated on the jewellery shop.
“We designers have other ideas: we want to use fur, plastic or new technologies, and it does not necessarily fit in the jewellery shop. We are trying to reach shops that sell design objects.”
Bakker said many contemporary jewellery designs remained dull and heavy, and urged designers to incorporate humour into their creations to boost communication with the new consumers.
“For me jewellery is a communication piece,” he said.
Another panellist, Diane Pernet, a fashion journalist and celebrated New York blogger, said, “Communication is the point. Jewellery communicates how you want to present yourself.”
Alba Cappellieri, professor at the Faculty of Design at the Milan Polytechnic, said jewellery marketing required a new approach as the Internet changed the retail environment and as online sales grew.
“A jewel represents an intersection of high fashion and design,” she said.
“New markets require new products and require a totally different approach to the jewel.”
Gaetano Marzotto, a member of the board of directors of Hugo Boss and Valentino Group, said he had seen on his travels strong respect for so-called “Made in Italy” jewellery, due to the long heritage of Italian craftsmanship and the highly skilled manufacture of precious jewels, and accordingly he did not fear change.
“We see more opportunity than threats,” he said.
“The secret is to understand the end-consumer.
“We (Italians) will be big winners in this field (jewellery), just as we are in fashion, furniture and fine foods.”