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LONDON, United Kingdom — Today, a fashion designer’s role must incorporate that of a technician, as well as a merchandiser, digital innovator, fashion disruptor and celebrity. Crucially, a designer is now also the leader of a growing and increasingly diverse team of product specialists. From womenswear to menswear, through homeware, jewellery, sportswear, streetwear and footwear.
The experience of working as a fashion designer is changing rapidly in response to digital advancements, which can both empower and hinder designers today. Technology can speed up and improve the accuracy of the design process, such as Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia tailoring suits with 3D scans of his models’ bodies, leaving just two seams on the jackets for the Autumn/Winter 2018 collection. At the other end of the spectrum, H&M is experimenting with VR environments that enable intercontinental collaboration between designers and merchandisers, working on the same digital avatar.
The impact of technology doesn’t stop there. There is now significant pressure on designers from outside the atelier, with social media allowing for direct interaction from consumers and also bestowing a celebrity status upon designers. Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of Balmain, has nearly 5 million followers on Instagram and Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh has 2.7 million, while even newer designers, such as Richard Quinn, have over 50k.
“A new creative director drafted into a big-name house will inevitably become one of the main markers of identification for that brand’s consumers,” wrote former editor-in-chief of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, for BoF in February 2018. “Online, it is most certainly the life and style of the designer that is more exciting to follow than the clothes themselves.”
Yet, despite the vast demands and assumed responsibilities on creative directors, for many, the appeal and exhilaration of working as a fashion design trumps any challenge. Indeed, design positions are the highest performing in terms of applications per job on the BoF careers platform.
Here are the most exciting career opportunities in design currently live on BoF Careers: