We caught up with SIMON COLLINS just after his first FASHION.CULTURE.DESIGN CONFERENCE to tell us about his favorite moments, what he learned, and what the future holds for FCD.


BY KATHLEEN RICHARD

Simon, congratulations on the launch of FCD. No easy feat. Now that you’ve had a moment to recover, what was your favorite moment?
 I suppose the moment before Joel Towers and I went out on stage to open the event. The tension and excitement backstage was intense. I’ve spoken on stages around the world and to some very big audiences, but never at my own event. I knew we were building something much bigger than an unconference. I’d seen the incredible talent of the speakers and the people I worked with to put it together. That minute before we went out and kicked it off was a very special one.
So on those speaker, any favorite sound bites?
There were some corking lines along the way. The speakers were all in conversations and the moderators and the audience drew the best out of them. We’re posting many of them over the next few weeks. Here are some good ones:
IVAN_BART Ivan Bart |  ‘I’ll say it, he did the shoot with no film in the camera because he didn’t want to shoot her.’
JOANNA_COLESJoanna Coles | ‘Anyone aspiring to be Joanna Coles needs to have much bigger dreams.’
Ashley Graham | ‘Her body is so interesting, let’s just get her naked.’
TONY_KING
 Tony King | ‘Retail is fucked because retail fucked itself.’
  MARGARET_ZHANGMargaret Zhang | ‘I’m staunchly against paying for branding on Instagram.’
JAMES_TRUMAN
James Truman | ‘Beware the rule of unintended consequences.’
You had a number of interesting panels. Which was the most interactive?
There was real passion in every panel. That’s why we chose the questions and curated the speakers. We knew they all had something to say. I had a feeling sparks would fly on the “Should Corporations Stand for More than Just Profit” panel. Hitha Herzog holds her own with co-presenters on FOX News, Natacha Minniti leads JP Morgan’s family wealth including some very well known fashion families, Morty Singer is president of Marvin Traub and is a diplomat with a strong point of view. To keep them ticking along we had Dominic Rushe, Business Editor of the Guardian and Pulitzer prize winner for the Edward Snowden leaks. You’ll have to watch the video, but when Hitha said we could all sing “Kumbaya,” I’m not sure she entirely meant it…..
So any favorite personal favorite?
I really enjoyed the intense emotions behind the “What Does Beauty Look Like Now” panel. With Alek Wek and Ashley Graham, who have both experienced discrimination for very different reasons, Ivan Bart, who recognized their talent when others couldn’t or wouldn’t accept it, and James Scully and Gilleon Smith, who have both taken firm stands on inclusion even when it was unpopular. Mickey Boardman moderated and he is a very wise and honest man. There are CEOs who still don’t buy the idea of inclusion; some were in the audience. I know we confronted their beliefs and made them pause for thought.
A little pause is healthy for all of us. So after stopping for a second what did you learn along this journey?
If you stick to what you know is right, and you don’t compromise, then it will work. We had many offers of help and support along the way. Some of them would’ve needed us to change things in a way we didn’t feel good about, so we politely declined. It made it harder to carry this off, but it meant we could all hold our heads up and believe in every bit of what we did. And it meant that our speakers, partners, and audience all went away happy with ideas and intel and ways to do things better. And that was the point of it all. Since then we’ve had many offers to take Fashion Culture Design around the world. Which is what was supposed to happen.
When will the next FCD Conference be?
June 2017 for FCD 2. Along the way we will do FCD Japan, FCD China, FCD Korea, and FCD UK. We’re hosting smaller salons through the year where we will address one topic in greater depth. And we’re hosting private dinners for our speakers and curators. We want to find out the next questions that need to be asked.
Any thoughts for next year?
 You’d better get your ticket the moment the box office opens, we sold every seat this year and it was the first one. It’s going to get better and better and you don’t want to be left out. Follow us on social media for information. If you’ve got a question we should ask then let us know. If you have a voice that needs to be heard let us know that too. This is a movement and we’ve only just begun.
Thanks Simon, looking forward to it.
My pleasure Kathleen.

*Images Courtesy of F.C.D., Photographer | Silja Magg