Fashion industry veteran Julie Gilhart is President of Tomorrow Projects and Chief Development Officer of Tomorrow LTD. In 2011, she founded Julie Gilhart Consulting to connect and grow fashion brands from a desire to have a positive impact.
Prior to establishing her firm, Ms. Gilhart was Senior Vice President Fashion Director at Barneys New York for 18 years, where she oversaw creative, design and business direction. She was responsible for identifying and bringing up-and-coming, new designers into the store, playing a significant role in the building of their global businesses in the process.
Ms. Gilhart was also instrumental in establishing the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund and then the LVMH Prize for Emerging Talent and continues to advise on many initiatives. She is a frequent speaker and panelist on the topics of supply chain transparency, building sustainable businesses, and advocating shared innovation in the fashion industry.
What is a trend or item that reflects women’s style at this point in time?
I don’t always like to go off of trends, but I do believe women will want to wear more soft tailored pieces as it is a strong reflection of women’s style at this point in time. We are seeing so many interesting adaptations and interpretations as to what that looks like to different designers, and we’re also seeing our female heroes wearing these pieces, too. I was so inspired to see Kamala Harris on the cover of Vogue just a couple of months ago in her soft tailored version of a power suit.
How can fashion as a form of individual and free expression play a role in our changing societies?
As a form of individual and free expression, fashion plays a role in our ever-changing societies by allowing us to publicly display the very things that mean the most to us. Wearing an outfit goes far beyond a simple aesthetic. As consumers, we have the freedom to support incredible individuals and causes through what we buy and wear. Think of your clothes as the stories you want to tell. Whether it be shopping Black-owned, female-owned, or sustainable clothing, we have power in steering our society into a positive direction through what we wear.
How does the current crisis impact people’s relationship with clothing and fashion?
From an industry perspective, for the first time, we have been forced to slow down long enough to realise how broken our systems and processes are – whether that our fashion calendars were too intense or acknowledging an overall severe lack of sustainable practices. Clearly there is still a love for fashion, and the fashion community has really banded together throughout this difficult year. It’s exciting to see brands like Patou or Gabriela Hearst of Chloé being change agents and leaders in the industry as they forge a more sustainable path. I believe consumers will be searching for more fashion that not only looks new and stylish, but has a purpose behind the brand – and more importantly, makes them feel good about themselves.