The next growth frontier: Africa to play a significant role in the future of luxury
12 April 2019
The 5th Condé Nast International ‘Nature of Luxury’ Conference drew to a close in Cape Town on Thursday, 11 April 2019, with Condé Nast chairman and CEO Jonathan Newhouse declaring “Africa’s time in now”.
“As Asia fuelled the growth of the luxury industry during the last 15 to 20 years, surely Africa will play an outsized role in the future of the luxury industry in the years to come,” said Newhouse to applause. “We at Conde Nast are pleased to have employed this conference as a way not only to support the luxury industry in general, but to focus on Africa and its mighty role in the future. How delightful to be here in beautiful Cape Town, a magical place.”
Speakers on the second and final day of the conference included Bruce Cleaver, CEO of De Beers, who pulled a 616-carat diamond from his suit pocket during his keynote presentation; Wendy Hu, founder and CEO of Chinese investment company Yu Holdings; Micaela le Divelec Lemmi, CEO of Salvatore Ferragamo; and Roberta Annan, co-founder and managing partner of the Impact Fund for African Creatives. Annan is at the helm of a new €100 million fund that has a mandate to invest in fashion brands across Africa.
Hosted and curated by Suzy Menkes , Editor of Vogue International, the event offered business leaders a unique networking opportunity and the chance to debate and discuss the latest luxury and fashion industry developments and trends.
The event has travelled the world, taking place in intriguing and diverse locations – from Lisbon, to Muscat, to Florence, to Seoul. This was the first conference of its type to take place in Africa.
The African continent has become integral to the ever-changing concept of luxury in today’s world, said Menkes, who at the end of the event announced that next year’s Condé Nast International conference will take place in Vienna, Austria.
“I never felt so emotional in two decades of conference hosting than now in South Africa,” said Menkes. “I feel that our speakers have reached out to a higher level in what we have discussed and I feel that we’ve all dug deeply into subjects never before related publicly with luxury. It’s with tears in my eyes that I say it was an exceptional experience for me and I am proud to have been here. It’s been an honour and a privilege to be in Cape Town. Nature is indeed the ultimate luxury.”
The event hosted at The Lookout attracted over 400 senior business and creative leaders from the global luxury industry.