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The BoF Podcast: Inside the Digital Revolution with LVMH’s Ian Rogers

LVMH’s chief digital officer discusses the birth of the digital music business, LVMH’s digital strategy and France’s potential as a hotbed for entrepreneurial tech talent.

“Software is craftsmanship. Increasingly, whether you like it or not, software sits between us and our customers,” Ian Rogers tells Imran Amed at this year’s Viva Technology convention in Paris. “You have to build it with the same care that you build a leather bag [with].”

The tech titan came from humble beginnings, but went on to study computer science at college, graduating in 1994. Timing was on his side. “It was the birth of the web,” he says. “I was a music loving skate board kid from a small town in Indiana, and so for me the internet was about this access to culture.”

He went on to fuse his passion for music with his aptitude for technology through various entrepreneurial projects, eventually taking the helm at Yahoo Music in the early noughts. Fast forward to 2014, and Rogers was named senior director of Apple Music, spearheading the tech company’s foray into streaming services and online radio.

LVMH poached Rogers to be its new chief digital officer in October 2015, a move that surprised many in the tech world. While LVMH is not known for having a strong technological disposition, Roger’s arrival at the conglomerate signalled it was ramping up its digital strategy — at a time when e-commerce and technology haave increasingly become the industry's most important growth engine.

About a year and a half after Rogers' arrival, the conglomerate launched multi-brand e-commerce platform 24 Sèvres; just this week, it confirmed leading fashion search platform Lyst's $60 million funding round (LVMH contributed about 45 percent according to market sources).

“The way that we build awareness and the way that we sell is fundamentally changing,” says Rogers. “The way that we grow the business the next 15 years will be different to the way we grew it those previous 15 years.”

Disclosure: LVMH is part of a group of investors who, together, hold a minority interest in The Business of Fashion. All investors have signed shareholders' documentation guaranteeing BoF's complete editorial independence

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The State of Fashion: Technology
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The State of Fashion: Technology