On the first day of Who’s Next League in the afternoon, we chatted with Camille Mère. She is responsible for purchasing, events, and new business in the circular economy, sustainability, fashion, and retail at Galeries Lafayette. After working for the department store chain for several years, she now holds a relatively new position, but of fundamental importance.
The extensive experience of Camille and her broad background in fashion, thanks to a career exploring different missions in retail, commerce, and marketing, add value to her current point of view as a buyer. This fashion professional tells us how IMPACT at Who’s Next facilitates her work as a sustainable fashion buyer.
1. How would you explain your work within the group?
I am part of the offer and purchasing department at Galeries Lafayette, where I am responsible for purchasing special projects, and in this case in charge of developing circular fashion. This is a very new and particular area that we are looking to create.
2. How has your profession evolved in recent years?
The crisis has forced us to renew ourselves. The main axis of renewal for us has been the loss of foreign customers at Haussmann. In fact, we still have an extremely important weight of foreign customers in our Haussmann store, who weren’t there during the crisis. And that, as a result, forced us to renew ourselves, to reinvent our concepts to focus on a more local clientele.
3. What new trends or innovations did you find in the trade show?
I find that the IMPACT part has considerably increased in terms of fashion, we find new brands with an impeccable and clear image, a great price positioning, and in fact already well-constructed collections and brands. There is a fascinating fashion stylistic angle, that is to say, that we manage to mix circularity, and responsibility with really fashionable brands.
4. What is a customer looking for in a department store today?
They are looking for experience. A real added value is to come in-store versus digital, where everything is now accessible everywhere. So the experience can be through the service, the sales ritual, or the advice. It can also be through circular concepts, with a committed discourse behind it, with people who embody this concept, and who explain why we should buy in a more sustainable way. I would say that it is very much linked to experience and human relationships.
5. Did you discover any emerging brands with potential at the trade show?
I was marked in terms of circularity by Louise Marcaud, I found it extremely refined, very sophisticated, and with an impeccable upcycling design. And another one is called Nitah, which is of French-Moroccan origin, where we find extremely qualitative handmade weaving, made by reintegration workshops. I can also mention Homaï Paris with a very successful upcycling, garments with stripes, which gives a very Summer-like, qualitative, and premium result; well-structured with waisted dresses.
6. What brought you to discover this edition of Who’s Next?
It’s a highly relevant show. As a store or as a buyer, Who’s Next is the must-visit event to discover new brands. And you actually have this IMPACT sector, which is quite interesting. I can’t think of any other trade show that plays this card in such a clear and identifiable way. For us, for circular brand spotting, there is an efficient and structured side that is very simple for me.