OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — “Like music, the fashion business is fundamentally a culture business... We sell culture as a prerequisite to selling a product. If you don’t buy the culture of the brand, you are not going to buy a $3,000 handbag,” said LVMH chief digital officer Ian Rogers, when he joined Imran Amed on stage for a question and answer session at VOICES, BoF's annual gathering for big thinkers.
Before his surprise appointment to the luxury group last year, Rogers carved out a career in music as CEO of Beats and a senior director at Apple Music, working in the industry at a time when it faced a major digital disruption brought about by mp3s, file sharing and the rise of cloud services like Spotify — at first, resisting the change, before finally moving from denial to growth.
"The way culture is transmitted has fundamentally changed because of the Internet," he said, explaining that “the same lessons from music about how culture has changed” can be applied to fashion.
"Get digital inside your organisation as quickly as possible," he advised. “[And] stop using the word 'digital' and replace it with the word 'internet,' because connection amongst people is what’s really changing.”