Creative Turnover on the Rise
Creative directors are the innovative leaders in advertising and marketing within a brand; the vital role in all the arts and entertainment industries. Currently, the fashion industry has an incredibly fast-paced turnover, due to the increased demand for instant gratification by millennials. With fashion evolving, churning fresh ideas is important to keep locked in the eyes of the largest consumer base.
In return, brands need exciting new talent on their teams to represent their image— visionaries who have innovative approaches and are focused on business development. Furthermore, they must question everything to ensure every topic has been covered to its advantage, including questioning approaches and solutions that are being presented, resulting in focus on the deliverable for the end set goal.
But why is this role as a creative director being turned over so quickly?
Many fashion brands have consistent performance reviews, focusing on how to grow the business. If no expansion is made, new ideas and talent are brought into the business to re-vamp the consumer's desirables.
A key example is current editor-in-chief of British Vogue magazine, Edward Enninful. At just eighteen, Enninful undertook the position as fashion director at i-D, making him the youngest ever fashion director for an international publication. He soon became known for his edgy elegance, which quickly became his trademark. Enninful’s unique style gave him an advantage, his innovation toward modern style setting him miles apart.
However, employing a new creative director does come with risk and capital expenditure, as they often have high wage packets, especially if high-profiled and working for a big brand. Including catering to their needs, and members of staff they may require having. For example, when Hedi Slimane joined Saint Laurent in 2012, the brand set up a design studio away from their own headquarters and rearranged their operating model to cater for their new venture, concluding with a high price.
Possibly, one reason why being a creative director is such a time conscious job, is because it is a competition to who can connect with their audience; who can create the freshest online campaigns, working amongst the fashion team, involving a range of departments. For example, under Alessandro Michele’s creative direction, the Gucci social created their own memes, latching on to the latest online subculture. The Gucci memes were an incredible promotional tool, increasing hype and fitting in with the millennial demand for interesting online content.
However, I am conscious of the fact that maybe creative directors are being overturned much too quickly. Sometimes it should be about weighing up the pros and cons and giving new directors the time to expand and explore their role. One collection isn’t enough to turn over a brand. Many brands are turning over roles quickly due to companies not giving enough time to their creative directors to settle in; they must commit to the long-term collaboration to see its full potential. Alessandra Fachhinetti is a prime example of many, only staying at Gucci for a year in 2004, lasting two seasons due to a disagreement with management.
In contrast, Celine Vipiana, who founded ‘Celine’ was there for more than half a century before Michael Kors took over in 1997. This outlines an example of commitment and determination. The role of creative director is a role of learning and expanding to create an end product pushed to its potential in an ever-evolving industry, and we need to give them the time and opportunity to do such.
Written by Abbie Weight