Marc Ecko (Marc Ecko Enterprises) and Xavier Court debate the future of fashion and business in this discussion at Digital Life and Design in Munich.
Moderated by Susan Remke, the debate takes on the issues of recession and the economic bailout.
Born in Saint Etienne in 1966, Xavier Court is currently Marketing Director at vente-privee.com. As the head of an international team comprising 30 staff, Xavier coordinates all website activity related to Customer Marketing, Marketing Intelligence, Website Marketing, Press Relations and Advertising Management.
Having graduated from the ESLSCA (Paris) in 1989, Xavier started his career with the Danone group. After 2 years in New York as a marketing manager for Maille mustard, Xavier moved to Paris to become Sales Manager at LU for a 2 year period before becoming the Customer Services Manager at LU for a further 2 years. He finally became the national Key Account Manager for Belin/LU again for 2 years.
In 1997, Xavier helped to form D2i, specializing in major brands destocking. He then co-founded vente-privee.com with his partners in France in 2001. The website is now active in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. With a net turnover of 510 million Euros in 2008 and more than 900 employees (with 250 new recruits predicted for 2009) this online shopping club is one of the great success stories of the internet in France and across Europe.
From his beginnings in fashion to his recent entries into the worlds of publishing, art, gaming and multimedia, Marc Ecko continues to break the boundaries of conventional wisdom and further solidify his role as the navigator of popular culture.
While others are content to imitate, he chooses to innovate. Marc's goal is not to chase what's already out there, but to establish a whole new category of branded products and services that are immediately embraced as cutting edge and credible.
His journey began in the mid-80's while still a high school student working from a makeshift design studio located in the garage of his parents' New Jersey home. Armed only with an airbrush and his custom graphic designs, Marc quickly built a loyal fan base and in 1993, at the age of 20, founded ecko unltd. Since then, the company has grown to included *ecko unltd. apparel and accessories lines, the contemporary Marc Ecko Cut & Sew collection, ecko red girls line, Zoo York, Avirex Sportswear, Complex Magazine and Complex Media, as well as a videogame and multimedia division, Marc Ecko Entertainment. Last year alone, Marc's full-scale global fashion and lifestyle company reported worldwide retail sales of over $1.5 billion.
Simultaneously, Marc has dedicated himself to a number of social consciousness initiatives, including significant work with youth domestically and internationally and a dedicated role in reversing the plight of the world's rhino populations. Sweat Equity Enterprises, a four-year after school design education and mentoring program is his most personal initiative to date.
In recognition of his achievements, Marc has been honored with a 2006 MTV Video Music Award for "Best Videogame Soundtrack," and is frequently included in such lists as Details Magazine's "Most Powerful Men Under 40," Stuff Magazine's "Style Icons" list, DNR's power list, and New York Magazine's "Influentials" list. He has also gained international notoriety for his various efforts to disrupt the status quo, from two successful graffiti-based court battles against the city of New York, to the 2006 "Tagging of Air Force One" viral video campaign, and his purchase of Barry Bonds' record breaking 756th homerun baseball, the fate of which he turned over to the public in a groundbreaking online vote.
Marc, age 35, is married with three children and is currently building an estate, "Stronghold," in Bernardsville, New Jersey, where he resides.
Susann Remke is a Senior US Correspondent for FOCUS Magazine, Hubert Burda Media's flagship newsweekly, based in its New York office. She started her job at FOCUS six days before September 11th, 2001. After covering terrorism-related stories for her first year she moved back to her initial beats: social issues, entertainment, fashion and literature. Susann has interviewed numerous celebrities, CEOs and artists from eBay's Meg Whitman to The Rolling Stones.
She has a Master's Degree in British and American Literature and previously worked for DIE WELT, Welt am Sonntag, dpa and The Miami Herald. As an early adopter, she moved to what is now hipster Brooklyn in 2001 and is happily living a bridge-and-tunnel life with her husband, her son and her two cats ever since.
Spawned after his NYC graffiti art show was shut down in 2006, fashion designer Marc Ecko painted a rented 747 to look like Air Force One and circulated a video of the plane being tagged with the slogan "Still Free."
Ecko says the video worked because it went viral during a "unique window" of time -- during a less cynical, pre-Google YouTube.