Where Top Fashion Brands Recruit

Where Top Fashion Brands Recruit

Have a desire to work at Tommy Hilfiger’s design headquarters in Amsterdam?

Consider applying to Kingston University.


Their students have been known to collaborate on projects with the brand, that’s why. And it’s probably one of your best ways into the fashion house.

And on that note, if you have any desire to make it fashion, get comfortable with formalized programs.

Formalized programs?

Yep. They’re created by leading luxury houses and some of the best universities around the world.

The reason behind it?

To maintain their reputations of course. And with that, they need top talent.

So, these feeder programs are now really the key to landing any entry-level position at a top fashion company.

Karen Harvey, an executive recruiter who places c-level candidates in positions on both the creative and business sides of fashion told BoF:

“It’s more about partnerships these days. Through these long-term relationships, companies get to meet with the students more than once or twice. It’s not just about glancing through their portfolios.”

But which schools offer opportunities at which brands?

BoF examined three of the industry’s top conglomerates to identify both formal and informal partnerships between their labels and the world’s leading fashion schools.


Top Brands:

  • Gucci
  • Saint Laurent
  • Bottega Veneta
  • Balenciaga
  • Stella McCartney
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Brioni

Kering’s formal programs with universities span both disciplines and regions.

A spokesperson for the group told BoF;

“A key objective of the group is to attract, recruit and develop the best people for every aspect of our activities, wherever they may be.”

And also noted:

“We want to create an environment where each of us is encouraged to learn, to grow, to fulfil our potential and to have a positive impact. Diversity in the workplace — of gender, nationality, age, background, sexual orientation and talent — enriches us all and is a key driver of creativity and growth.”

In terms of MBAs, the fashion house sponsors the “Kering Luxury Certificate” at international business school HEC in Paris.

Within the program you can expect seminars to be led by Kering managers and visits to Kering brands. In addition to that, there is an annual competition which is judged by HEC professors as well as Kering directors.

In 2017, the program accepted 38 participants from 15 different countries, which, according to Kering, regularly results in appointments within the group.

In terms of the creative side, Kering is known to participate in various different initiatives, which include a partnership with the London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) that offers:

  • a master’s course in sustainability supported by the company
  • the annual Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion
  • a monetary prize and/or an internship placement
  • an annual talk given by a Kering executive

In the talk that occurred this past October, Marco Bizzarri, a chief executive at Gucci, announced the fashion house would no longer use real fur in its clothing and/or accessories.

At Parsons School of Design in New York, Kering awards two BFA fashion design graduates the opportunity to intern or apprentice at one of its brands.

And at the University of Tsinghua, in Beijing, Kering offers two programs:

  1. the artistic innovation studio – allows students create their own workspace
  2. a scheme – offers financial support to 10 female students

There are also more specialized programs within Kering’s brands, including:

  • a partnership between La Scuola dei Maestri Pellettieri
  • Bottega Veneta’s workshop
  • the University IUAV of Venice offers post-graduate training in creating handbags and other accessories
  • Brioni allows tailors to be trained through its own sewing school — Scuola di Alta Sartoria


Top brands:

  • Louis Vuitton
  • Céline
  • Givenchy, Dior
  • Loewe
  • Marc Jacobs

Typically the luxury brand recruits from traditional design schools like Institut Français de la Mode, Central Saint Martins and Parsons School of Design, but they also look schools to hire MBA’s. Some schools they look to are:

  • Harvard Business School
  • HEC

At ESSEC business school, which happens to be right outside of Paris, students have the chance to be selected for the LVMH chair (a luxury brand-management program) which include:

  • seminars led by LVMH managers
  • company visits
  • internships

Students also have the opportunity to work on a real-life project with an LVMH brand manager.

LVMH and Dom Pérignon support ESSEC’s “Savoir-Faire d’exception” chair, which is a 20-student course that goes into detail about the importance of heritage in the luxury industry.

At HEC Paris, LVMH offers a chair in general management in excellence and client experience.

In Asia, LVMH has partnered with Singapore Management University on a research initiative that aims to shed light on the luxury goods market in the East through unbiased case studies and field reporting.

On the design and creative side, LVMH often recruits interns and entry-level designers from Central Saint Martins as well as Parsons School of Design.

For dean of fashion at Parsons, Burak Cakmak, these programs are not just about work placement it’s about building your résumé building.

Cakmak mentions:

“The immediate benefit for a brand is the ability to learn from the talent and to be able to hire the individual.

And also notes:

“But it will always be a small number of students who achieve that. No matter if you are directly hired, what matters is what you have on your CV and diversity is critical.”


Top brands:

  • Calvin Klein
  • Tommy Hilfiger

PVH is based in New York and welcomes anywhere form 300 – 350 summer interns into a 10-week program, and that does not include those placed in its offices in Europe.

Note: PVH hires anywhere from 20-25 percent of its interns each year.

Dave Kozel, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at PVH notes:

“They do real work.”

Note: Calvin Klein welcomes about 50 new interns each semester.

PVH has has continuous working relationships with about 250+ schools globally.

And wany of PVH’s senior executives have graduated from schools located on the east coast of the United States like:

  • the Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Philadelphia University
  • the Savannah College of Art and Design

PVH recruits from certain schools for certain skills.

For example:

  • Lehigh University and Penn State University (both located in Pennsylvania): often have ideal candidates for supply-chain related jobs.
  • University of Delaware: known for its strong fashion-merchandising program.
  • Parsons and FIT: primary feeders for entry-level design positions.

To view the full State of Fashion Education Report and BoF Global Fashion School Rankings, click here.

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