May 21, 2024

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What Fashion Marketing Professionals Need to Know Today

Discover the most recent and relevant industry news and insights for fashion professionals working in marketing, to help you excel in your job interviews, promotion conversations or simply to 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, as well as the exclusive interviews and conversations we have with experts and market leaders every day — to deliver key takeaways and learnings in your job function.

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

1. The Party May Be Over, but LVMH Has Moves to Make

This month, sector bellwether LVMH reported softening sales growth, the latest sign that the luxury goods boom is over as shoppers sober up from post-Covid, YOLO (“you only live once”)-fuelled euphoria, and inflation and high interest rates weigh heavily on discretionary spending. Sales at LVMH’s critical fashion and leather goods division, which includes key megabrands Louis Vuitton and Dior, grew just 9 percent in Q3, missing estimates by over two percentage points.

But a closer look at the results suggests that LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault has a few moves up his sleeve and may be able to play the sales miss to his advantage. For a group whose key fashion and leather goods portfolio has long been dependent on Louis Vuitton and Dior, the latest results revealed just how far the company has come in turning some of its smaller projects into multi-billion-dollar businesses, notably Hedi Slimane’s Celine reboot and Jonathan Anderson’s reinvention of Loewe.

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PR Manager, Tapestry — London, United Kingdom

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2. Unpacking Birkenstock’s Underwhelming Public Debut

Man wearing Birkenstock sandals in hammock.

The verdict on Birkenstock’s initial public offering: right company, wrong time. The 277-year-old German sandal-maker’s stock was initially priced at $46, roughly in the middle of its expected range. But its value promptly dropped as shares began trading, ending the day down 12.6 percent at $40.20. Birkenstock ended the day with a market capitalisation of about $7.5 billion, still a hefty premium over the €4 billion ($4.3 billion) L Catterton paid for the brand in 2021. But that figure is below pre-IPO projections of up to a $10 billion valuation.

“There are just a lot of concerns regarding the consumer segment,” said Jessica Ramirez, retail analyst at Jane Hali & Associates. “We’ve heard from a number of retailers that the second half of the year is tough, and holiday sentiment isn’t exactly high in the US market.” The frosty reception for Birkenstock’s shares is also a discouraging sign for other IPO hopefuls, including Arc-teryx-owner Amer Sports, which has filed for a public listing, and Kim Kardashian’s Skims, which is rumoured to be exploring that option.

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3. Chloé Confirms Chemena Kamali as Creative Director

Chloé has named Chemena Kamali its new creative director.

Chloé has officially named Chemena Kamali as its next creative director. As previously reported in BoF, the Richemont-owned label had tapped Kamali to lead a parallel studio at Chloé as it prepared for the departure of former creative director Gabriela Hearst, who staged her last show for the brand on September 28 at Paris Fashion Week. Kamali joined Chloé from Saint Laurent, where she was a key deputy of Anthony Vaccarello, serving as design director for women’s ready-to-wear, but has a history at Chloé, where she worked under designer Phoebe Philo and again as design director to Clare Waight Keller.

Now back at the label and officially installed in the top creative job, Kamali has her work cut out for her. In recent years, Chloé has struggled to keep pace with rivals as sales surged for many luxury brands. Under Hearst, Chloé enjoyed momentum selling lower-priced items, such as its knit “Nama” sneakers, but struggled to sell the more expensive leather goods that once anchored its business, according to sources.

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4. Why Victoria’s Secret Is Bringing Sexy Back

Hailey Bieber in black bra-and-garter set for Victoria's Secret.

The radical transformation of Victoria’s Secret is over. The American lingerie chain has spent the last two years overhauling its hyper-sexualised image in a bid to regain cultural relevance and win back young consumers who preferred more on-trend upstarts like Savage X Fenty and Parade. Indeed, Victoria’s Secret: The Tour ‘23, an attempt to revive the runway show format that launched on Amazon Prime Video last month, fell somewhere in between the personification of male lust of the brand’s aughts-era heyday and the inclusive utopia promoted by its many disruptors.

But in a presentation to investors in New York this month, it was clear which version of the brand Victoria’s Secret executives see as its future. “Sexiness can be inclusive,” said Greg Unis, brand president of Victoria’s Secret and Pink, the company’s sub-brand targeting younger consumers. “Sexiness can celebrate the diverse experiences of our customers and that’s what we’re focused on.” The prime objective: improve profitability and cross back over $7 billion in annual sales.

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5. Inside the Big Business of Styling Athletes

London-based Algen Hamilton has gained a reputation for styling a group of the Premier League's most stylish footballers as they broke onto the scene, including Chelsea player Trevor Chalobah (pictured),  Reiss Nelson and Kai Havertz of Arsenal and Joe Willock of Newcastle United.

As more athletes are invited to sit front row at the biggest fashion week shows in Paris and Milan, their need for stylists, rather than “plugs” — a niche economy of personal shoppers who bring selections of logo-heavy luxury and streetwear items to athletes’ houses or hotel rooms for them to buy and style themselves — is on the rise.

While the convergence of fashion and sport is well documented, what often flies under the radar is the multifaceted roles that stylists and fashion consultants perform, helping mould their athlete clients into lifestyle influencers, and laying the groundwork for lucrative brand deals.

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6. Europe’s Luxury Stocks Are at Risk of Going Out of Style

Aspirational Shopper

After starting 2023 in vogue, on hopes of a rapid boost in Chinese sales after three years of lockdowns and the post-pandemic US spending boom showing few signs of letting up, the STOXX Europe Luxury 10 index has just posted its biggest quarterly slide since 2020. Some $175 billion has been knocked off the value of those 10 stocks since the end of March as China’s recovery has been rocky and growth is slowing, while high inflation and rising interest rates are forcing US shoppers to tighten their purse strings.

“The sector has de-rated sharply in the last 2 to 3 months, due to a combination of rising interest rates, investor positioning and in anticipation of earnings cuts,” said Bernard Ahkong, co-CIO at UBS O’Connor Global Multi-Strategy Alpha. Morgan Stanley cut 6 percent from its 2024 earnings-per-share estimate for luxury goods, while Bank of America has slashed its forecast by 7 percent.

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7. Pharrell Williams: The Future of Luxury Is ‘Freedom’

TK

Paris is just waking up from its August slumber, the air still thick with humidity. Pharrell enters a small, quiet room in the Louis Vuitton headquarters. He is zen-like and greets me [Imran Amed] with a head bow, his hands clasped together, a bit like an Indian namaste. He’s more subdued than the last time we met at a ‘Friendsgiving’ dinner in London last November to mark the UK launch of Humanrace, the skincare line he launched in 2020. That night, he spoke passionately about US politics, his life in Miami and Kanye West.

But that was a conversation from another time, before Pharrell’s appointment as Louis Vuitton’s men’s creative director changed his life, turning the multi-hyphenate celebrity singer, producer and entrepreneur from the American South into one of the most visible figures in the global luxury industry. With the baton now passed to Pharrell, the second Black man to lead menswear at Vuitton, I was keen to hear how he would leave his imprint on the LVMH-owned house and luxury writ large. What is luxury according to Pharrell? And what does it all mean for his vision for Louis Vuitton, the world’s first €20-billion luxury brand?

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8. How 2023 Became the Year of the Lab-Grown Diamond

Dorsey, a brand that exclusively sells lab-grown stones, saw 600 percent sales growth in 2022.

Pandora was never a big player in the diamond category. It built its jewellery brand — one of the world’s biggest with nearly $4 billion in revenue last year — on charm bracelets that sell for under $100. But the surging popularity of lab-grown stones, which are structurally identical to mined diamonds but sell for a fraction of the price, has opened the doors for even low-cost brands to offer serious bling.

First developed in the 1980s, these synthetic diamonds are produced by exposing pure carbon to a large amount of heat and pressure in a metal cube, eventually creating a diamond. The rapid rise of lab-grown stones is reverberating across the market. Pandora has raised its sales outlook twice this year, and its share price has more than doubled in the past year. Meanwhile, De Beers is cutting prices of mined stones by as much as 40 percent due to falling demand for traditional diamonds.

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