NEW YORK, United States — “Fashion is crucial to everything I do, whether it’s music or film, or how I feel on a daily basis,” said Selena Gomez on Saturday night at the #BoF500 Gala dinner at the Public Hotel. Nearby, the artist-photographer Petra Collins, who shot Gomez for the cover of BoF’s latest special print edition, chatted with power stylist Kate Young. Gomez and Collins are just two of the new names joining this year’s edition of the BoF 500, a diverse global community of fashion industry insiders, presented in partnership with Target.
“We are known for our coverage of the business of fashion, but tonight I want to talk about diversity and the power of fashion to change the world,” said Imran Amed, founder and chief executive of the Business of Fashion, to a room of top designers, executives, editors, fashion-tech pioneers, models, muses and other industry catalysts hailing from over 20 countries. “Every year we bring together a diverse group of people from every corner of the planet — all shades and shapes and colours and creeds — because diversity is one of the things that makes the fashion industry one of the most creative, dynamic and influential forces on the planet. We need to use this as a force for good.”
Attendees included designers Virgil Abloh, Jason Wu, Tommy Hilfiger, Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, Jack McCollough, Lazaro Hernandez, Kris Van Assche and Dean and Dan Caten; C-level executives such as Pierre-Yves Roussel, Victor Luis and Richard Liu; models and muses including BoF cover star Adwoa Aboah as well as Jared Leto, Karlie Kloss, Halima Aden, Jordan Barrett, Ashley Graham, Imaan Hamman, Liu Wen, Rila Fukushima, Alek Wek and Lineisy Montero; media leaders including Carine Roitfeld, Olivier Zahm and Tim Blanks; industry catalysts such as Steven Kolb, Caroline Rush, Ivan Bart and Brooke Wall; creatives such as James Scully, Elizabeth Saltzman and Karla Welch; and retail innovators including Julie Wainwright, Sébastien Fabre and Lauren Santo Domingo.
“It’s an honour,” said Hilfiger, member of the BoF 500 Hall of Fame. “I think being recognised with your peers is important because it makes you feel as if you have some meaning behind what you’re doing.”
“It’s wonderful to be recognised, but more importantly to support the fact that there is a very unbiased and very clear point of view in the industry,” added Victor Luis, chief executive officer of Coach, Inc.
The special night of community was ripe with conversation as BoF 500 members from different fields and countries came together over their shared drive for innovation and creativity.
“This where anybody and everybody in fashion is, and being honoured, and now I’m in with the cool kids,” said the model and designer Ashley Graham.
“It makes me so proud to feel like I was one of the people really changing the world of fashion especially because I come from a new world,” added Chiara Ferragni, the mega-blogger founder of The Blonde Salad.
Indeed, the theme of the night was ‘Generation Next,’ the Gen-Z and Millennial consumers upon whom the industry’s future depends, not only as consumers — the cohort is expected to account for 45 percent of the global market for personal luxury goods by 2025 — but as the engines of new ideas and innovation.
“The thing that’s amazing about this younger generation is that they are unapologetic, they are fearless and woke and grounded and have this amazing ability to smell phoniness from a mile away,” said Aboah.
“There is so much room to break rules and look at things with fresh eyes…it’s the time to be a novice and explore,” said Virgil Abloh, creative director and designer of Off-White. “[Fashion] is in a moment of searching for a new formula. It’s uncertain, it doesn’t feel settled.”
But the dinner was only the beginning: following an intimate set performed by Jacob Banks, guests proceeded downstairs to Public Arts where a roster of Interscope Record’s buzzing young musicians took the stage, including BØRNS, 6LACK, Daya, Oliver, and AlunaGeorge.