LVMH Doubles Down on Menswear Market in Asia

LifeStyle
Jimin, a member of the boy group BTS.

On the back of the menswear fashion season, several brands have announced new additions to their line-up of global ambassadors. At luxury fashion conglomerate LVMH, it has announced that Jimin from BTS will be its new global ambassador. He joins a coterie of South Korean K-pop stars like Jisoo from Blackpink, Sehun of Exo and Astro’s Cha Eunwoo.

Fellow stablemate Givenchy has also announced that Big Bang’s Taeyang has been appointed as its first male global ambassador. While over at Louis Vuitton, Chinese actor Dylan Wang is the brand’s newest global ambassador and starred in a video campaign for its collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

Taeyang of Big Bang.

The spade of appointments at the brands under LVMH follows the reshuffle of its leadership at the different Maisons. Christian Dior’s CEO Pietro Beccari will succeed Michael Burke as Louis Vuitton’s CEO and Delphine Arnault, the eldest daughter of Bernard Arnault, will take the helm as CEO of Dior. Perhaps the cogs are already at work even before the new management assumes their roles next month — a greater emphasis on the menswear market in Asia.

According to the market research company Imarc, the global menswear market reached a market value of US$533.3 billion in 2021 and the firm expects the market to hit US$746.9 billion in 2027. The CAGR for the sector is predicted to reach 5.92 per cent between 2022 to 2027.

Supporting this projected trajectory is the growing appetite for fashion among men. Since 2016, sales growth for menswear has consistently outpaced womenswear as reported by Euromonitor. More recently, due to the rise of streetwear, demand for menswear shot up even more. Coupled with the general shift towards casualisation, it is unsurprising that luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, Dior and Givenchy are putting more resources into its menswear department.

 Other factors are also at play like the ease of buying via e-commerce, increasing purchasing power, the rising influence of social media and celebrity endorsement. These help to drive market growth and interest among male buyers. But more specifically, LVMH’s appointment of Asian ambassadors is telling of the group’s focus on the region. Spending power in the region has grown significantly over the years as income also increased in tandem. Asia’s GDP is forecasted to reach 4.5 per cent in 2023, as per a release by IMF.

Not only is the LVMH group focusing on its menswear department, but fellow competitor Valentino has also announced a new brand ambassador. Suga, another boy band member of BTS, will front the Maison’s Essentials line. For these newly appointed ambassadors, the common thread that binds them all is the influence that they hold.

Jimin, Taeyang and Suga were likely chosen because of the huge cultural power K-pop now holds in the world. More than just music icons, these artistes have now become the embodiment of style and assume the role of tastemakers. Furthermore, in a recent report by Morgan Stanley, South Korea is now the epicentre for luxury spending. The country outspends economic giants like China and the US, raking in US$16.8 billion in revenue and translating to a 24 per cent increase in 2022. The younger generation, who has grown up listening to their music will be greatly interested in emulating their idols and one of the fastest ways is through fashion. This presents an opportunity for brands to not only become associated with the ambassador, but it will also become the “trusted brand”.

Riding on emerging celebrities is a proven method for success, as with the appointment of Dylan Wang. The Chinese actor has over 17 million Weibo followers and the video campaign that he did for Louis Vuitton’s Yayoi Kusama collaboration received more than a million reports and close to 700,000 likes on the social media platform. Brands are definitely interested in making sure that they are at the forefront of the cultural movement and capture the attention of the burgeoning youth spenders.

Suppose one were to look at the various appointments at a macro level. In that case, LVMH is trying to prop up sales in the Asia region as tension in Europe and inflation is likely to dampen consumer confidence. As a precautionary measure to cushion the possible repercussions and continue its growth. The group is directing its effort to Asia, which is said to be the next economic powerhouse. With such huge potential, it remains to be seen who else would be chosen to be the next brand ambassador.

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