Luxury Names Rely on Fashion Design School Talent
by Marianne Salina
Fashion Career Center Columnist
In case there was any doubt that fashion design school offers more than just sewing classes, the 12th annual "Design and Marketing of Luxury Products" semester-long course proved that design students are just as invested in profit margins as they are in deconstructing blazers.
For over a decade students from the most prominent business school and fashion design school in New York City have brainstormed solutions to real business challenges faced by luxury names like Saks 5th Avenue, Hermes, Salvatore Farragamo, Lalique, Louis Vuitton, and Graff.
Learning Marketing and Management in Central Park
In the greenery of Central Park, the business and fashion design students split up into six teams that represent each luxury name, creating strategies and product ideas to help the company maintain longevity. "Luxury companies are in it for the long haul," said Barbara Crikva, chair of LEF, "They should look at an investment as just that, and not as an expense." Since luxury names now compete with companies like H&M and Zara--cheaper versions of designer labels with faster production turnaround--fashion survival depends on smart business strategy.
Business and Fashion Design Go Hand in Hand
With company image and history in mind the students come up with a range of ideas to help broaden product lines and reach more customers. Team Saks, for example, considers tactics for better reaching the men's customers in the store--particularly on the 6th and 7th floor--with design concepts like a Saks logo umbrella that opens up to reveal a panoramic skyline of New York underneath or benefit parties held by "Ambassadors of Style" on the men's floors.
New York: Destination for Fashion
"Design and Marketing of Luxury Products" students know they are playing for keeps. According to President of LEF Ketty Maisonrouge, "if they come up with a good idea, the company will run with it." New York is after all a destination for both serious students of fashion design and the labels that support the luxury market. Since fashion is truly both an art and a business--what better place than New York to explore the possibilities of design school?
About the Author
Marianne Salina has a B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing and enjoys researching and discussing the myriad of fashion design pursuits in her columns.