A Game Of Musical Chairs? | An Update On The Fashion Industry Turnover


Back in July 2023, GLITCH reported on a bunch of Creative Directors who packed their bags and departed from some of the most renowned fashion brands. In summer, it seemed as though “firing and hiring was in its springtime”, and yet, this game of musical chairs seems to be continuing into 2024, and not slowing down. 

The fashion picture is shifting, and with it, the way we associate brands with certain names and aesthetics. With new profiles being appointed and dismissed across the board, and different brands changing hands with frequency, it seems like we could be entering a new era of fashion. If the career pool for creative directors continues to be this active and alternating, perhaps we are going to see a fresher format for fashion. The “three-year tenure trend” seems to not just be continuing but expanding. With creative directors averaging fewer leading seasons, does this make space for more innovation, more transformation, and more modernisation?

At the close of last year, Moschino tragically lost the newly appointed creator David Renne in November, who passed from sudden hospitalization. The loss was unexpected and came just 9 days after his appointment. Adrian Appiolaza was announced to take his place at the end of January, somewhat of a star boy of the fashion industry who has worked across a staggering number of houses including with Johnathan Anderson, Loewe, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Phoebe Philo and Mcqueen

Matthew Williams also stepped down from Givenchy in early December, with no replacement yet announced. Meanwhile, Rochas rebooted with the appointment of Alessandro Vigilante, who has a background that spans Dolce, and Philosophy by Lorenzo Sarifini.

Valentino’s creative director, Pierpaolo Piccioli, announced he would be departing from the fashion house in March. Having been at Valentino for a staggering 25 years, the move has been dubbed a “joint” decision, and in his place rises Alessandro Michele, the former creative director of Gucci.

In the same month, the 65-year-old Belgian designer Dries Van Noten announced he would step down from his eponymous fashion brand. In a statement on Instagram, the designer specifically said that he feels it is time for a new generation of talent to give a vision to the brand, hopefully, this wish is fulfilled.

There were purportedly over 30 switch-ups in the top-level of major fashion houses in 2023. In the first few months of 2024, we have already seen a handful of notable shifts. The majority of these shifts have seen renowned names simply switch and shift their team and colours. Whilst change is good, how much is the fashion landscape actually changing if we are seeing the same names rotated in the pool of talent? Could all this internal relocating and trading just be making the fashion industry even more moribund?

GLITCH wonders whether after this chaotic shifting of directorial roles, we will end up with a fashion landscape spearheaded by younger, fresher, and more diverse faces, or whether brands will fail to fully capitalise on change. It feels as though for the last 10 years everyone has been saying fashion needs a shake-up; the time is ripe for this shake-up. But will brands hire and fire with enthusiasm to facilitate this period of transformation, or will the risk-averse option to hire from within be a safer bet? The developing pattern of how fashion leaders are evolving is certainly very interesting. 

Written by Hebe Street from GLITCH Magazine



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