What Fashion Designers Need to Know Today

What Fashion Designers Need to Know Today

Discover the most relevant industry news and insights for fashion designers, updated each month to enable you to excel in job interviews, promotion conversations or perform better in the workplace by increasing your market awareness and emulating market leaders.

BoF Careers distils business intelligence from across the breadth of our content — editorial briefings, newsletters, case studies, podcasts and events — to deliver key takeaways and learnings tailored to your job function, listed alongside a selection of the most exciting live jobs advertised by BoF Careers partners.

Key articles and need-to-know insights for design professionals today:

1. How Does a Brand Like Louis Vuitton Choose a New Designer?

Virgil Abloh at the finale of a show standing in front of the models and beside Gigi Hadid.

The most important thing is that candidates are able to establish a clear point of view. If they have their own label, they also need to convince recruiters that they have the skills to simultaneously turn out two separate, differentiated visions, even if they are linked by an underlying approach.

Increasingly, a candidate’s personal brand is also a factor. If they have their own following and can bring that following along for the ride that can be seen as a big plus. [Virgil] Abloh did this exceptionally well. Gabriela Hearst, too, has brought the eco-consciousness at the core of her personal brand to her work at Chloé with some success (Her Nama sneaker, made from low-impact materials, is a best-seller.)

Related Jobs:

Head of Design, Sahara — London, United Kingdom

Concept Design and Styling Lead, Ralph Lauren — New York, United States

Design Manager, Aje — Sydney, Australia

2. Why Eileen Fisher’s Approach to Sustainable Fashion Works

Eileen Fisher standing in front of a pink background.

Eileen Fisher’s earliest and most important innovation was to take a concept that was percolating in luxury circles — minimalist capsule wardrobes — and make it accessible to a broader group of people. Today, brands at every price point tout their tightly curated collections of elevated basics, but Fisher was there on the ground floor.

Fisher [also] had the luxury of devoting so much time to circularity before there was an obvious payoff with consumers — and to weather periods where sales were in decline — in large part because she has not taken outside investment (the brand, profitable in all but a handful of years since its founding, is employee-owned). This is perhaps why there are about 60 Eileen Fisher stores instead of 600, and why sales topped out at $500 million instead of $5 billion.

Related Jobs:

Production Manager, Completedworks — London, United Kingdom

Junior Manager of Sustainable Packaging, Zalando — Berlin, Germany

Sustainable Design Director, Coach — New York, United States

3. Why Hermès’ MetaBirkins Lawsuit Has High Stakes for Brands and Creators

A collage shows six MetaBirkins in different colors, including one in bright yellow and another emblazoned with a reproduction of the Mona Lisa.

The [MetaBirkins] case is already shaping how the industry thinks about NFTs from a legal perspective. In his order, the judge made clear that NFTs, despite being code pointing to an image, can qualify as artistic expression, which means — importantly — they could be protected as free speech by the first amendment to the US constitution, according to Felicia Boyd, US head of IP brands at law firm Norton Rose Fulbright. Commodities such as mass-produced reprints of artwork do not receive that protection.

The court [also] acknowledged there is a distinction between the MetaBirkins and a digital wearable. It’s still unclear if any eventual decision would address whether the law should treat them differently, but the point is hardly moot when digital creators are making and selling items for use in online spaces from Roblox to The Sandbox, a new blockchain-based world.

Related Jobs:

CAD Assistant, A-Cold-Wall — London, United Kingdom

Digital Art Director, Acne Studios — Stockholm, Sweden

3D Design Assistant, Calvin Klein — New York, United States

4. Eco-Fashion’s Next Big Idea: Turn Pollution Into Products

A dress from Zara's capsule collection containing materials derived from captured carbon.

Efforts to develop materials from captured emissions are nascent, in many cases still in development in the lab. Products currently on the market typically contain only a small amount of recycled carbon and face significant financial and structural barriers to scale.

A landmark climate bill signed into law in the US this month could help change that. […] The Inflation Reduction Act is a sweeping package of legislation that represents the most aggressive action on climate ever taken by the US government. It’s designed to pump hundreds of billions of dollars into technologies that will help the country meet global climate goals, among them carbon capture.

Related Jobs:

Kidswear Designer, Zara — La Coruña, Spain

Design Intern, By Malene Birger — Bredgade, Denmark

Ready-to-Wear Design Consultant, Lingua Franca — New York, United States

5. The Great Fashion Show Boom

The finale of Dior's Autumn/Winter 2022 Haute Couture show.

This year, luxury’s biggest brands came swinging out of lockdowns, with Dior staging a staggering eight runway shows since January 2022, up from seven during the same period in 2019. Chanel and Louis Vuitton have both turned out five this year. While top spenders are flown out and seated in the front row in the hopes that they’ll drop six figures on one collection, the content those very important customers and other attendees create reads as far more authentic than content conceived solely for the internet.

However, spectacular fashion shows typically cost millions of euros to produce, so the biggest brands have an advantage. It’s perhaps no surprise that Dior — which generated around $7 billion in sales in 2021, according to estimates, and is thought to be the fastest-growing megalabel over the past 12 months — has staged the most shows of any other during that same period.

Related Jobs:

Design Assistant, Prada Group — Milan, Italy

Designer, Vetements — Zurich, Switzerland

Showroom Designer, PVH — Amsterdam, Netherlands

6. What Designers Can Learn From Issey Miyake

Issey Miyake at the finale of his 1997 Autumn/Winter show in Paris.

[One Issey] Miyake lesson: ditch nostalgia. Since he established Miyake Design Studio in Tokyo in 1970, [the designer] has been constantly moving forward, channelling countless advancements in construction and fabrication. Resolutely rooted in the moment, he kept looking ahead rather than back, whilst still nurturing an acute awareness of past traditions.

Creating clothing that moves instead of just looking good in a static image — the main curse of contemporary fashion making — was another key Miyake achievement. The flowing shapes and volumes he conceived were meant to float around the body; his silhouettes were never static, because movement was always part of his creative process. So was the space between his clothing and the body. Miyake’s epic collaboration with Irving Penn was a testament to that.

Related Jobs:

Senior Fashion Designer, Anest Collective — Milan, Italy

Fashion Design Intern, Deity New York — New York, United States

Associate Designer, White House Black Market — Fort Myers, United States

7. Explainer — Why the Menswear Market Is on Fire

Matches, Gucci, menswear, retailer

The menswear boom is driven largely by a fashion reset. The casualisation of menswear had begun far prior to the pandemic, but the new work-from-home lifestyle that emerged in 2020 has cemented new silhouettes that prioritise comfort.

Lower barriers to entry and the proliferation of social media created opportunities for new brands to launch. New luxury cult brands like Aimé Leon Dore have captured the zeitgeist of contemporary menswear, capitalising on trends like “blokecore” — a viral subculture that celebrates the style of middle-aged men, like wide-legged jeans, quilted cardigans, polo shirts and bucket hats. The blokecore hashtag has over 27 million views on TikTok.

Related Jobs:

Head of Menswear, Hugo Boss — Stuttgart, Germany

Accessory Designer, Peter Millar — Los Angeles, United States

Men’s Associate Designer, Figs — Santa Monica, United States

8. How to Let Shoppers Know Your Brand Is Worth the Money

In the event of an economic downturn, brands will bank on messaging that brands their products as a good value for consumers.

Despite all the bad economic headlines, consumer spending remains strong in the US and some other major markets. But retailers are worried that their customers will soon start watching their wallets, particularly when it comes to non-essential fashion and beauty purchases.

To make the case effectively, labels must do more than introduce some new buzzwords to their ads. They will have to strengthen their brand’s narrative, make sure they are merchandising around truly timeless pieces rather than chasing trends, and get honest in their marketing.

Related Jobs:

Print Designer, Stella McCartney — London, United Kingdom

Atelier Design Intern, Gauge81 — Amsterdam, Netherlands

Associate Ready-to-Wear Designer, Veronica Beard — New York, United States

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