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Is it a matter of time before tech companies start poaching fashion designers?

Eoin Cooney
01 March 2016

There is no doubt that the fashion and technology industries are closer than ever. Technology companies are experimenting with fashion product and fashion companies are experimenting with technology product. We have already seen key people in luxury retail move to Apple (Angela Ahrendts, Paul Deneve, Patrick Pruniaux).

Technology companies can offer exciting opportunities with better benefits than most fashion companies. Now that technology companies are moving into the fashion accessories and apparel sectors I wonder is it a matter of time before they are competing with fashion companies to employ top designers?

Anyone reading the news over the past year will know that the fashion industry (particularly luxury fashion) is undergoing an intensive period of change. Nearly every month another creative director announces they are leaving an established brand, often the reason being that their role lacks the opportunity to be creative and the focus is solely on turnover.

On the other side of the fence the technology industry almost exclusively focuses on creativity and innovation. The minute a tech company stops innovating they become irrelevant. To a certain extent we have even seen this happen to Apple, widely known as one of the greatest innovators of all time.

The one element that no tech company seems to have perfected yet is making technology enhanced fashion fashionable. Even with the best product designers in the world no one has cracked it yet. It would be safe to assume that in order to do this they will need to employ the help of fashion designers.

When the focus shifts from wearables to technology enhanced clothing, footwear and accessories I would imagine there will be high demand for top designers. The question is will fashion companies be able to compete with technology companies for the best talent? What will happen to the fashion industry if these designers move, will it create an opening for emerging talent?

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