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Why Now Is the Right Time to Apply for a Role in Luxury

As Virgil Abloh’s appointment underscores, a millennial mindset is taking hold in the luxury industry — creating opportunity for emerging talent with new ideas and non-traditional skills.
(L-R) Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Gucci | Source: InDigital
By
  • BoF Team

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LONDON, United Kingdom — The luxury industry is in flux. Designers Virgil Abloh, Riccardo Tisci, Kim Jones and Kris Van Assche are taking up new roles at Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Dior and Berluti, respectively. What's more, at the end of last year, the industry's largest conglomerate LVMH announced an executive reshuffle with a number of new appointments, including Pietro Beccari to the top job at Christian Dior and Sidney Toledano's succession of Pierre-Yves Roussel as chairman of the LVMH Fashion Group.

In the luxury industry, change such as this creates opportunity. Due to their unique working processes and creative aesthetics, a leading designer’s support team typically migrates with them from house to house. The process of assimilating these creatives in a business often creates new roles, as new challenges and output requirements are discerned — as well as any holes in aesthetic influence.

However, perhaps the greatest opportunity for young talent currently in the job market is the "millennial mindset" taking hold across the luxury market. The appointment of Virgil Abloh, the founder of Off-White, as men's artistic director of Louis Vuitton — one of the world's biggest and most powerful luxury brands — underscores the magnitude of the luxury industry's pivot to street and millennial aesthetics.

At the heart of the shift is a new generation of consumers. Generations Y and Z are already the main growth engine of the luxury goods market, driving 85 percent of luxury expansion last year. By 2025, they are expected to account for 45 percent of total luxury goods spending. Shifting aesthetic preferences to streetwear and athletic wear and an increasing demand for authenticity from consumers has created a knowledge gap across. In today's job market, there is growing opportunity for professionals that can engage and cater to millennial and Gen-Z consumers at a luxury price point with global appeal.

What's more, luxury leather goods sales are growing again. Successful designs like Louis Vuitton's Petite Malle, which retails at over $3000 and Gucci's Dionysus bag, one of the most popular products in 2017, are encouraging consumers to spend more on their accessories, contributing to strong results for many luxury brands in 2017. Earlier this year Hermès confirmed its operating margin for 2017 was approaching 35 percent. Growth is creating additional specialist design roles in accessories design teams and driving further demand for craft skills, which continues to also outstrip supply. Many luxury houses have increased their production facilities. Louis Vuitton is opening a new workshop in France in July, having already opened another site last year, the first in six years.

Conversely, although the newly independent Stella McCartney remains one of the luxury industry's only significant flag-bearers for ethical fashion, millennials are more attuned to the origins of their clothing than previous generations according to reports. Oeko-Tex found that 60 percent of millennials are interested in certified sustainable clothing, while 69 percent of millennials check claims like "eco-friendly" or "sustainable" when buying clothes. Increasingly, they expect the brands they buy to share their ethical concerns,  and as a result, the recruitment of employees that can develop ethical fabrics, and have the skills to work with them at a luxury level, is accelerating.

To search BoF Careers and view hundreds of opportunities in the luxury sector, click here.

Louis Vuitton, Women's Leather-Goods Visual Merchandiser, Paris, France

Gucci, Visual Designer, Milan, Italy

Dior Homme, Visual Communication Project Manager, Paris, France

Barneys New York, Regional Vice President – East Coast, New York, United States

Browns, Retail Director, Maternity Cover, London, United Kingdom

Christian Dior, CRM Manager, New York, United States

Proenza Schouler, Designer PSWL, New York, United States

Saint Laurent, Store Director, London, United Kingdom

Stella McCartney, Sustainability Assistant – Graduate Trainee, London, United Kingdom

Ermenegildo Zegna, Campaign Manager, London, United Kingdom

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