April 20, 2024

Apparel Creations Workshop

Crafting Fashion Trends

What Fashion Designers Need to Know Today

8 min read

Discover the most relevant industry news and insights for fashion designers, updated each month to enable you to excel in job interviews, promotion conversations or 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 — to deliver key takeaways and learnings tailored to your job function, listed alongside a selection of the most exciting live jobs advertised by BoF Careers partners.

Key articles and need-to-know insights for fashion designers today:

1. The Race to Build the Best Generative-AI Platform for Fashion Design

An AI-generated male and female model.

Practically from the moment AI-powered image generators like DALL-E and Midjourney blew up, their potential for fashion was clear: they could allow designers to produce photorealistic renderings of their ideas in moments with only a text prompt. […] But a new wave of start-ups is building generative-AI tools tailored to fashion’s specific needs, hoping to make their software part of the way designers work. Among them is Raspberry, which just raised $4.5 million in a funding round led by big-name backers Khosla Ventures — the first outside investor in OpenAI, creator of ChatGPT — and Greycroft Partners, which has backed companies such as Goop and The RealReal.

“We’re really differentiated versus Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and DALL-E,” said Cheryl Liu, Raspberry’s founder and CEO. “The outputs are much more readily manufacturable, appealing and just things that you could start selling right away.” […] Raspberry offers AI editing so a user can quickly change details on a garment like sleeve length, can turn 2D flat sketches into photorealistic renderings and vice versa and is able to blend images together while holding the silhouette of a garment stable, allowing the user to visualise it in different patterns or fabrics.

Related Jobs:

Designer, Bella Freud — London, United Kingdom

Sportswear Fashion Designer, Oysho — Barcelona, Spain

Design Intern, Dion Lee — New York, United States

2. Making the Ordinary Extraordinary in Paris

Dries Van Noten Autumn/Winter 2024.

I don’t know if Dries Van Noten and Jun Takahashi have ever met anywhere, except perhaps on the astral plane, but they are truly kindred spirits, writes Tim Blanks. No one has devoted more of their (lengthy) career to making beauty from the mundane than Dries. Which is why his invitation — a lock of hair — would have been weird coming from almost anyone else (Galliano could get away with it). The title for this show was The Woman Who Dares to Cut Her Own Fringe. “She’s quite audacious,” he said. “She decides what to wear for herself.”

Nicolas Di Felice knows how to make an impression. Courrèges helps, of course. Di Felice’s fashion education was informed by iconic images from the house he now creatively directs. His new collection sprang from a picture of a model holding a simple square of silk in front of herself. He associated it with the carré blanc, the white square that French television inserted as an advisory that “the following programming is unsuitable for under-16s.”

Related Jobs:

Bag Designer, Acne Studios — Paris, France

Concept Designer, Hugo Boss — Stuttgart, Germany

Associate Designer, Danielle Frankel — New York, United States

3. Moncler’s Plan to Take Back the Mountain (And Stay at Luxury’s Summit)

Remo Ruffini.

“We are the smallest of the big groups, and the biggest of the small ones,” says Remo Ruffini, founder, chairman and CEO of Moncler Group. And he plans to keep it that way. Ten years after Ruffini’s blockbuster listing of Moncler on the Milan stock exchange (its stock leapt 50 percent to value the company at €4 billion) the Italian industrialist is celebrating strong figures for 2023 and a market valuation that’s now approaching €20 billion ($22 billion).The secret to Ruffini’s success? Frequent revolution is required to keep standing alone in a luxury arena dominated by bigger groups like LVMH and Kering, he says.

Five years ago his slogan — pegged to Moncler’s “Genius” initiative of frequent designer collaborations — was to take the brand “beyond fashion.” Today, he wants to move beyond luxury, as well. His push to expand the definition of luxury has taken the form of a complete overhaul for Grenoble, Moncler’s high-end mountain sports line. It’s both a new departure for Moncler — which has aligned itself with fashion more so than technical gear in recent years — as well as an effort to reassert the brand’s historic identity: Moncler rose to prominence outfitting the French Olympic ski team and K2 mountaineers for the harshest conditions.

Related Jobs:

Sampling & Development Manager, Saloni — London, United Kingdom

Footwear Designer, On — Zurich, Switzerland

Technical Designer, White House Black Market — Fort Myers, United States

4. Dior and Saint Laurent: Designers Defiant!

Christian Dior Autumn/Winter 2024

The primary graphic for Maria Grazia Chiuri’s new collection for Dior was derived from the shopping bag Alexandre Sache designed for the Miss Dior boutiques in 1967. She opened the show with a pant suit, acknowledging the newness of trousers for Miss Dior’s first customers. There was a string of smart little skirts and jackets, some artfully worn denims, a double-breasted white trouser suit with black buttons, which would have looked smart on Emma Peel (especially if she’d whipped the jockey’s cap off the following model), a dress of gold bugle beads with gold fringing, and a rather fabulous belted leopard coat.

Anthony Vaccarello’s defiance at Saint Laurent was something else altogether. Last season’s utilitarian cottons left him craving sensation. So he showed a collection that was barely there. It was literally body stockings, outfits made from sheer stocking material. Not muslin, not mousseline, but the stuff that clings and ladders. It was even seamed like stockings as it curved around hips and breasts. And when it wasn’t that, it was a knit onesie, woolen suspenders snapped to stockings. It truly was the most perverse fashion statement I’ve seen in a dog’s age.

Related Jobs:

Leather Goods & Accessories Trainee, JW Anderson — London, United Kingdom

Raw Materials Developer, Burberry — Florence, Italy

Associate Designer, Sea — New York, United States

5. How OTB Gets Fashion Right

MArni

OTB founder Renzo Rosso has been working to get OTB on track for several years — and because the group is privately held, he’s been able to take his time to develop and implement a unique strategy that marries artisanal expression with commercial results. […] By giving time and space to the creative directors’ visions, Rosso has positioned OTB brands as an antidote to branding-led luxury megabrands, which leaned more heavily than ever during the pandemic on splashy marketing and logos.

A generation of ultra plugged-in, social media-informed customers know how to recognise flagship items without the logo — and are increasingly turning to items like Margiela’s Tabi-toe boots or Marni’s colourful statement knitwear to express their identity. […] “Young consumers appreciate the fact that our brands often take an opposite approach to the market, focusing largely on the look and quality of their products and continuing their mission to make fashion a dream,” Rosso said in the company’s financial results.

Related Jobs:

Knitwear Intern, Casablanca — London, United Kingdom

Womenswear Designer, Mac Duggal — Chicago, United States

Associate Designer, PVH — Hong Kong

6. Should Fashion Invest More in Vietnamese Manufacturing?

TAL garment workers at one of the company's factories in Vietnam.

Joe Biden’s visit to Vietnam in September was seen as an endorsement for American companies to up their already sizeable investments in the country. Though geopolitics and tech supply chains were top of the agenda, the US president’s visit also underscored the strategic importance of Vietnamese manufacturers to the global fashion industry. From 2018 to 2022, Vietnam ranked as the second largest exporter of textiles and apparel to the US after China, with value surging 54.9 percent over the period, according to the United States International Trade Commission.

For decades, Vietnam has been a primary manufacturing base for global apparel and footwear megabrands. Nike alone has more than 100 suppliers in Vietnam, with 96 plants concentrated in the southern region, according to Research and Markets’ Vietnam Footwear Manufacturing Industry Report 2022. Yet some local factories are struggling to keep up with increasingly competitive players across Asia. “Bangladesh has very low labour costs; the average pay is $80 [per month] versus $130 for Vietnamese,” said Vu Duc Giang, chairman of the Vietnam Textile & Apparel Association (VITAS).

Related Jobs:

Design Manager, Halfpenny — London, United Kingdom

Leather Goods Designer, Tomorrow — Paris, France

Associate Designer, Calvin Klein — New York, United States

7. The Row’s Margaux: A Birkin in the Making?

Margaux Bag.

Throughout the 2010s, The Row founders Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen were routinely photographed carrying Hermès’ famed Birkin bag. Now, they seem to have created their own version. The Margaux has become a celebrity status symbol — Zoe Kravitz, Jennifer Lawrence and Kendall Jenner have been snapped carrying The Margaux — and more recently, a TikTok phenomenon. On the app, the hashtag #Margauxbag has nearly 2 million views and users are dubbing it the “new Birkin.” In December, Vogue called it an “heirloom in the making.”

Demand for the carryall tote, which starts at $3,490 and is sold in a number of sizes and materials including suede, leather and even alligator skin, is surging. […] Strategically, The Row has done a few key things right to make The Margaux a breakout hit. Each season, The Row refreshes the Margaux, introducing new materials, colours and riffs, but sticking to the same signature shape. The bags come in suede and pebbled and smooth leather; some are made with canvas rather than leather lining. It also sells versions with new design elements, such as clipped corners, a belt and unfinished, raw seams.

Related Jobs:

Accessories Designer, House of CB – London, United Kingdom

Handbag Designer, Kate Spade — New York, United States

Assistant Handbag Designer, Tommy Hilfiger — New York, United States

8. White Paper | Incorporating Generative AI Into the Fashion Workplace

Three AI-generated models in front of an Italian scenic backdrop as an example fashion campaign image created in Midjourney with prompts.

Generative artificial intelligence, or gen AI, is leading the charge of next-gen technologies shaping industries and their workplaces. Already, gen AI can be leveraged across the value chain: from product design and content creation across campaign images, marketing text, website code and videos, to online consumer experiences through virtual styling and digital clienteling. Meanwhile, conventional AI can be leveraged to forecast demand for buying and merchandising teams or gather insights for store associates and retail teams.

The management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company estimates that gen AI could add up to $275 billion of economic potential to apparel, fashion and luxury sectors’ operating profits. This BoF Careers white paper explores how fashion businesses can approach integrating gen AI into their workplace, the core skill sets needed in a digitally competent workforce, and the pastoral requirements to effectively support an employee cohort reimagining its day-to-day practices for long-term success.

Related Jobs:

Design Assistant, Strathberry — Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Production Lead, Bershka — Barcelona, Spain

Denim Designer, Alexander Wang — New York, United States

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