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Question

Discuss Hedi Slimane’s departure from YSL and the trend of young, hot designers joining old world fashion houses, then departing within a few years. Does it help/hurt the major fashion house’s brand? Does it help/hurt the designer’s namesake brand?

Read Vanessa Friedman’s article, if you haven’t already: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/02/fashion/hedi-slimane-saint-laurent.html

Answer

Hedi Slimane’s departure from YSL

Hedi Slimane’s departure from Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) left many in shock and wondering what will happen to the fashion industry he has helped shape.  Slimane served at Yves Saint Laurent for a period of 4 four years, having joined the fashion house in 2012. This is not the first time it has occurred – in the recent period, the fashion industry has been hit by a wave of young and fashionable designers joining the industry and then leaving in a few years’ time. Last year, Alexander Wang, an iconic fashion designer left Balenciaga after serving for only three years. Slimane made a number of accomplishments in the short period he has been at the helm of the fashion house. This is evident in the growth of revenue and popularity of the brand over the few years he has been the image and creative director.

The new trend has changed the fortunes of most fashion houses. It helps in developing the brand of major fashion houses in a number of ways. The new trend is helpful in that new designers introduce new and unique talents which help in making the brand more marketable. New designers can help fashion houses identify niches in the market which may be profitable to exploit. For example, Slimane overhauled the previous label image marked by sophisticated designs and introduced grunge styles that became a favorite in the industry. Bringing a new designer can be of great importance especially to a fashion house that is underperforming in the market. The departures also help in popularizing the designer’s namesake brand. This is because by the time the designer leaves the fashion house, he/she is still cherished in the fashion industry. A namesake brand would be more popular when the designer is at the helm of the fashion industry.

Reference

Friedman, V. (2016, April 1). Hedi Slimane’s Dangerous Legacy. The New York Times.

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