The Business: Graeme Lewsey
In our final interview for The Business series we hang out with VAMFF’s very own CEO, Graeme Lewsey. Fashion is part of his heritage. His love of fashion and design blossomed at RMIT University where upon completion of his Arts Degree, he was awarded ‘Australian Young Designer of The Year’ by Woolmark. He’s since built a successful career in Europe and Australia helping develop fashion brands and events including Australian Fashion Week in Sydney. When he’s not leading the team for VAMFF, you’ll find him supporting the industry through advisory boards and relaxing at home with his partner and two cats. We chat to Graeme and find out why creating a strong culture is a game changer to lead a successful organisation.
Please introduce yourself.
I'm Graeme Lewsey - the guy that has one of the best jobs in the creative industries here in Australia. I'm so grateful and love enabling creativity for everyone to enjoy. This is my 6th year as the Festival's CEO and I continue to be inspired and energised by the amazing team and abundant creative brilliance I have the pleasure of working with every single day.
Share one piece of advice that has been a ‘game changer’ for you in life or in business?
As a leader, culture creation is key. What I mean is that great talent, creativity, business acumen, mentoring and governance can fall down like a deck of cards without an environment that supports it. I’ve learnt that if you create a culture that provides a sanctuary for healthy attitudes, you’ll always enable human potential for the best results.
If you could travel to one destination for inspiration, where would it be, and why?
I’d go back to Milan for the Salone del Mobile. It’s the world's biggest design fair where industry and consumers embrace and celebrate design in all its glory. It's beyond inspiring.
What is your in-flight travel essential?
Lots of water and Kiehls Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer is the best!
Fashion is always evolving, how do you stay on top of trends in your industry?
I listen to my team and absorb intel from a variety of my favourite online influencers and commentators from around the world. I also simply look at the Festival-goers themselves. They reveal the true street-style movements and trends.
Share something exciting on the horizon?
I’m finally on Instagram @graemelewsey. I've spent almost a decade driving digital strategies for the companies I've worked with and have finally been convinced (thanks to my team) that people would like to see my point of view as the CEO. I’m no digital native, but definitely an Instagram virgin. I hope everyone enjoys seeing the Festival from my point of view this year.
What personal traits do you think are essential to ‘change the game’?
Being able to listen and watch, I believe the first step should always be around observing what is there. Once you build this base understanding then go for it, trust your instinct to create for better.
Find Graeme on Instagram and LinkedIn.
The Business presented by Virgin Australia is an interview series capturing the spirit of entrepreneurship. We talk fashion, business, travel and lifestyle with industry insiders who are leading the way in their field during VAMFF 2017. Read more interviews from The Business series here.