New trends in luxury

Jan 2018



Fanny, part of our business development team, attended the “new modes of consumption and new business models in luxury” conference at Usine IO on Thursday, 25 January 2018. Only two steps from Station F in Paris, it is the world’s largest incubator of hardware projects each year dealing with 300 startups, SMBs, large corporations and research institutions.


Why did we go?

To share in the retail expertise of our collaborators, architects and interior architects at the cutting edge.

We learned about Digital Native Vertical Brands (DNVB) who are massively changing the face of fashion and luxury industries and displacing physical retail.

Some of the world class DNVBs are Glossier, Birchbox, Warby Parker, Everlane, Casper and Bonobos with Le Slip Français, Bergamotte, Tediber, Sézane, Gemmyo and dominating in the French market.

Common themes came through from the conference:

  • Competition with traditional brands forces a rethink on their business models.
  • DNVB companies appear to be an alternative; they ‘break’ monopolies
  • Revolutionary changes to company culture include direct sourcing, cost reduction and thus a more transparent process to pricing)
  • The customer experience is the focus point with a greater reliance on user-generated content. Values of benevolence, belonging and a real sense of humanity answer millennial expectations.


What did we learn? 

We looked at whether DNVBs necessarily limit their growth to the digital environment and found that “the development of physical points of sale is sometimes necessary for DNVB to generate growth” (Viviane Lipskier, Brand Alchimy).

Several of the speakers (Sézane,, ElssCOllection and Gemmyo for example) have been DNVBs but now are branching out into physical retail spaces. Recent experiments in physical places rather than the digital are L’Appartement Sézane for Sézane and a pop-up for the jeweller Gemmyo at Printemps Haussmann.

DNVB expectations for physical spaces seem to be different from traditional brands. The aim is for coaching and advice rather than sales, turning towards experience and discussion rather than shelving management and looking like showrooms and apartments rather than boutiques.

These specificities and expectations need a new vision in the way of thinking of space and will ultimately impact on the roles of our architects.