London fashion students take on global challenge at World Retail Congress 2017

Four students from the Fashion Retail Academy in London will battle it out with rivals from around the globe at the World Retail Congress in Dubai next week.

Olivia Jones, 18, from Cheshunt in Hertfordshire, and team mates Evie Klein, Jourdain Grover and Meighan Good, all 19, were chosen from 700 students at the Fashion Retail Academy.

They were tasked with selecting a successful online-only retailer from their country and developing a bricks and mortar offer.

Olivia explained that the team of four chose www.prettylittlethings.com, the women’s fashion offshoot of Boohoo.com, as it was a “current, energetic and fun” brand that appealed to the Instagram generation.

“With the decline of the high street and the switch to online, a physical store simply selling product was no longer enough to appeal to our target market,” said Olivia.  “For this reason, we came up with a concept store that was fun, unique and revolved around the use of social media and celebrity culture.”

Olivia has been creative from a young age, enjoying art and design throughout her school life. At A-Level, she studied business, geography and sociology. Combined with placements at Miss Selfridge and F&F, she began to see that fashion buying offered the potential to merge her creative skills with her business knowledge in a challenging and fast-paced environment.

Getting to the World Retail Congress as a competitor is her “greatest achievement”, she explained. “We have put so much hard work, time and effort into the competition. To make it to the Congress and present an idea that we are really passionate about on an industry we want to work in is a moment that I will never forget.”

Umar Kumani, CEO of PrettyLittleThing, said it was a pleasure to meet the students at the company’s headquarters in Manchester last week and wished them luck.

“I am proud to be supporting the students in the World Retail Congress competition and excited that a London team could win by representing the PrettyLittleThing brand,” he said.

The team take on rivals from other parts of the globe including Portugal, where students have selected A Marmita, an online provider of ‘home cooked’ meals, as their challenge.

Also entering the competition is a team in Dubai who have chosen Mumzworld, a Middle East online retailer for mums’, babywear and baby products. Other competitors include students in Hong Kong who have created a concept store for Castetify, a customised phone case company, and a team from Abu Dhabi who have created a vision for Khalidiya, a street fashion brand.

This year’s challenge is based upon the vast shifts in retail markets with the rise of discounting, the disruption of digital and the ‘fast fashion’ that has stretched globally from single country origins.

The Future Retail Challenge is in its 9th year. London won in the launch year of the competition, and other past winners have included teams from New York and Hong Kong.

This year, the panel of judges include Fadi Jabbour, Chief Operation Officer of Retail at Chalhoub Group, Bernie Brookes, CEO of Edcon Group, Robin Sackin, Chairperson at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York and Jodie Fox, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Shoes of Prey.

The Future Retail Challenge is sponsored by Chalhoub group, the leading partner for luxury across the Middle East since 1955 and an expert in retail, distribution and communication.

Further information is available on the World Retail Congress website here.

London Fashion Students

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