Fashion Design

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.

Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci since 2015, is set to leave the company. […] From 2015 to 2019, Gucci’s revenues roughly tripled and profits quadrupled during a period of rapid expansion the likes of which had never been seen in the modern luxury sector — with quarterly growth rates at times approaching 50 percent.

1. Why Alessandro Michele Is Exiting Gucci

But Gucci took a heavy hit during the coronavirus pandemic — with revenues falling by 22 percent in 2020 — and has since been growing far more slowly than mega-brand rivals like Louis Vuitton, Dior and Hermès, whose sales exploded as consumers rocked by uncertainty flocked to blue-chip luxury items seen as unlikely to go out of style. “Gucci is suffering from brand fatigue,” Bernstein analyst Luca Solca wrote in a note to clients. “In order to reaccelerate, Gucci doesn’t need to move to the mainstream or to become timeless. It needs to open a new creative chapter.”

2. How Virtual Sampling Went Mainstream

3D design and virtual sampling have been steadily catching hold in fashion after a long period of companies talking about the technology but few fully adopting it. More brands are now embracing it or expanding its use to speed up their processes, cut costs and burnish their sustainability credentials.

These digital prototypes don’t replace physical ones entirely — designers do still generally need to handle some tangible representation of an item before sending it into production. The technology has made more inroads in categories like footwear than in luxury fashion, where brands want to see how a gown will drape and move on a real person before putting it into production. There are other challenges, like training or hiring staff [or] the cultural change necessary to integrate it into the way a company operates. But indications are that virtual sampling will only become more common across the board.

3. Raf Simons Is Closing His Label

Raf Simons, founded in Belgium in 1995, was a groundbreaking menswear label known for its skinny silhouettes and focus on youth culture. The brand propelled Simons to fashion industry prominence, helping the designer land top jobs at Jil Sander, Dior and Calvin Klein before Prada, where he currently serves as co-creative director alongside the company’s controlling shareholder, Miuccia Prada.

While the Raf Simons line remained a tiny business compared to the designers’ mega-brand employers, it was one of fashion week’s hottest tickets thanks to its rebellious ethos and trendsetting play with colour and materials. “I lack the words to share how proud I am,” Simons said. “Thank you all for believing in our vision and for believing in me.”

4. What’s Next for The Frankie Shop

Founded in New York’s Lower East Side by ex-journalist Gaëlle Drevet in 2014, The Frankie Shop has quietly built a reputation for its utilitarian women’s apparel. […] The brand has become an influencer favourite with a wide presence across social media — a million followers on Instagram alone — though Drevet rarely does paid partnerships or collaborations.

Over the past year, to keep up with demand, The Frankie Shop grew its team and brick-and-mortar presence, inking a slew of new wholesale partnerships including Matchesfashion and Ssense. It also launched a home section along with menswear last year, and with the rise of gender-fluid dressing, Drevet notes that most consumers shop across categories. In 2022, the privately-owned brand has brought in $40 million in net sales so far with 100 percent year-over-year growth. “Now our big challenge is to manage this success,” said Drevet.

5. Why Fashion Still Uses Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

Just over a decade ago, fashion’s biggest brands laid out an ambition to eliminate harmful chemicals from their supply chains. [They] prioritised 11 of the most hazardous chemical groups used in the industry, among them so-called “forever chemicals” — a particularly nasty group of toxic substances that never break down and have been linked to health risks from reproductive issues to cancer. More technically known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, they’re used for a range of practical applications, including turning ordinary textiles into performance fabrics resistant to water, stains, oil and even creasing.

Bringing innovations to scale remains a challenge, with many reluctant to take a risk on costly new options. PFAS’ versatility and wide-ranging performance benefits create a particular challenge, with no one-size-fits-all drop-in solution available at scale. [However,] looming regulation [made brands] much more open to suggestions for PFAS-free textiles over the last 12-18 months, said Lewis Shuler, head of innovation at Paradise Textiles, part of supplier company Alpine Group.

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