How to succeed in the fashion business? Narrated by Victoria Kozlova

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Victoria Kozlova is the co-owner of the One Group fashion retailer, the official partner of Philipp Plein, Dirk Bikkembergs, DSQUARED2 and other world brands. Victoria has been working in the fashion industry for more than 10 years and, perhaps, knows all about fashion retail. We asked her about work, the impact of Instagram on fashion and how to succeed in the fashion business.

Shirt and jeans Philipp Plein

How did you come into fashion? Is it passion from childhood or just business?

I always liked beautiful clothes, but as a child there were not as many opportunities to get involved in fashion as now. I went with magazines in the studio and asked me to sew the things I liked on order – it was difficult to find them in the stores.

At the university I studied business, specialty – quality management. It was not directly related to fashion or the production of clothes, but it allowed me to apply knowledge in these areas. Over time, I realized that fashion is my element. I began to get more interested in fashion trends, follow designers, study in detail the work of the industry. And then I realized that my life would no longer be the same. (Laughs)

How did your career in fashion begin?

It all started with the sale of premium fur products. At that time, it was a fairly popular fashion trend. Helping our customers to be beautiful, we and our partners paid attention to the Philipp Plein brand – we wore it ourselves and recommended it to friends. People were interested, and we bought more and more collections of clothes. Soon this brand became our flagship, and over time others were added – now we represent about ten brands, opening new names every season. During this time, a company of 10 people grew to 100 and, in addition, we have online store.

Now my responsibilities are quite extensive – these are sales, finance, HR, PR and, of course, strategic tasks.

What are the main trends in the fashion business now?

Now everyone is betting on online retailing – every year the percentage of sales through the site and social networks is increasing. Over the past year, for example, we have significantly increased the number of purchases through the website and Instagram.

Probably the most discussed topic in the industry at the moment is sustainability. Everybody is talking about ecology today. Brands are increasingly switching to organic and recycled materials. I am sure that in the near future we will buy less, but do it more consciously. The time has passed when the client wanted “all and more”, now he prefers to buy one quality thing than ten that you throw out after a season – this idea echoes my inner conviction. I think everyone saw films about the production of the mass market and the impact of fashion on the environment. For example, “The real price of fashion."

Another trend is the blurring of gender. And in society, and, accordingly, in fashion. Today, women can wear men's clothes, and men are no longer shy to try on feminine images and colors. For example, incredibly popular for several seasons, pink and neon. According to world statistics, the market for men's goods is increasing every year. And I think this trend will continue to develop.

And of course, brands continue to focus on the client, reduce production and delivery times, are increasingly interested in the opinion of the client. Buyers, in turn, refuse all-consuming trends, do not want to dress like a carbon paper. They are looking for their own style, and customization is a good way to give the client what he is looking for.

Jacket Philipp Plein, Brigitte Bardot dress

What are your favorite brands?

First of all, these are the brands that are represented in One Group. I am sure that only when you love something can you offer it to customers. My personal favorite is Philipp Plein. I am very impressed with the variety of his collections – from bright rhinestones to the absolute base of the wardrobe, from neon to black and gray. I also like the activity, brightness and working ability of the designer himself. Still, I’m sure that every brand should have a strong and charismatic personality.

In general, for me, a brand is more about respect, trust in quality, level of service, fashion history. Among those I trust the most are Louis Vuitton, Dsquared2, Gucci, and Jimmy Choo.

Do you go shopping often?

With my occupation, shopping can be every day. (Laughs.) So yes, often! I also love shopping in Milan and Paris, sometimes I order clothes from Ukrainian designers.

What are your favorites?

Julia Asina, Elena Burba, Elvira Hasanova, Katya Silchenko, AMG, Jean Gritsfeldt.

You have a pretty popular instagram – almost 100 thousand subscribers. How did it all start?

I registered there about 5 years ago when a friend asked: “Are you still not on Instagram?” I didn’t even think that something serious could come of it. And this is just the case when reality has far exceeded expectations! I do not position myself as a professional blogger, but at the same time I follow new SMM trends. By the way, soon I plan to hold a series of live broadcasts devoted to the theme "Fashion on Instagram."

Contrary to the recommendations of professionals, I do not have a hard content plan – this way the page turns out more lively, interesting. I do everything according to my mood and I am very glad that it coincides with the mood of my subscribers.

Does your personal Instagram page help you with your main work in One Group?

The first time I appreciated the potential of instagram, when customers began to ask boutique consultants about the clothes that they saw on my page. Subscribers see what I wear in photos, they are interested in what kind of brand they are, and then they buy. I understand that I simply couldn’t even physically tell all my friends about what (for example) cool dresses or jackets appeared in One Group. I make a post – and everyone sees and knows! (Smiles.)

So Instagram is a serious platform that allows you to communicate with a large audience, and this is inspiring.

Dress Philipp Plein

How much time do you spend on the phone per day? Do you have digital detox?

Oh, a lot! If I get a phone in my hands and leave it in a closed room, in a week I can be picked up in the same place. (Laughs.) I will have both work and communication. The only thing I will miss is families nearby (although at times Facetime saves).

I don’t arrange myself a digital detox, I have other ways of emotional discharge. For example, meditation.

What do you think about the latest trends in social networks?

Now Instagram removes likes and introduces test versions. I partially agree with them, because young people are very subject to public opinion. But for me personally, communication with the audience rather than likes is more important. It is very interesting to see what happens.

Many people are worried that on Instagram more and more they use various filters, production shots. But in life, a person looks different. On the one hand, it is commendable when you want to be the best version of yourself. But on the other hand, social networks set such high templates that it hits the self-esteem of unformed personalities. I think the right decision is somewhere in between. The most important thing, in my opinion, is that Instagram is lively, interesting and honest.

Honesty often leads to conflict. How do you deal with negative in social networks?

First of all, you must always remember that it is impossible to please everyone. If someone does not like the profile, it is not necessary to write angry comments. You can simply click the “unsubscribe” button. Personally, I want to surround myself only with a positive and try to behave most socially in social networks. But if they ask me a direct question, I will answer as honestly as possible.

Who are you curious to follow now?

For all the fashionable global clothing brands, for the Ukrainian gloss and opinion leaders.

Recently, I often read telegram channels about fashion. They write honestly and openly about things that are censored by the media. Bloggers can afford it, and this is their advantage.

Sheepskin coat One Group, Accentuate Jewelry necklace

Please tell us what you are doing, except for the main work and instagram.

In my free time I go to the gym, meet friends, do self-development, meditate, read. I really love to travel.

I devote a lot of time to the development of a 6-year-old daughter, who is engaged in vocals, choreography, acting and modeling.

I also do charity work. Together with the Children to Children Foundation, we help boarding schools, nursing homes, and families raising children with disabilities.

What are your favorite cities?

Monte Carlo, Miami, Moscow, London. It seems to me that success is in the air. When you are in the company of successful people, you are inspired by their energy, you begin to think broader, recharge with new ideas and set global goals.

Share the secret of success in the fashion business with our readers?

I think there are no secrets. In the fashion business, the same principles work as in any other. The same as in life!

Firstly, you need to look at life extremely positively and believe that in any case everything will be fine. It is also important to remember that you are not alone and there are always people who are ready to help you, suggest, teach, share experience. Even if you do not pay them a salary, and they live in another country. A team is a force that leads to success, and one person will never achieve such a result as a well-coordinated and motivated team of professionals. Look for your people!

Thirdly, no matter how trite it may sound, you need to work. A lot and hard. Develop in your direction, constantly improve your level, study new trends, change. You always need to move forward, otherwise you will be left behind.

And, of course, it’s important to understand what you really want. A person can be successful only when he does what he likes and goes to his goal.

Worked on the shooting:

Photographer: Sergey Vasiliev

Stylist: Elizaveta Pavlenko

Hairstyles and makeup: Nastya Leonova

Producer: Diana Melnikova

Production Assistant: Marta Kuzemchak

See also: Opera diva: Interview with mezzo-soprano Lena Belkina

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