Project Manager at Christian Dior
My name is Clémentine Brisset and I will tell you how my passion became my job. People often say that it is impossible to get into the most prestigious houses in the world. However, I am living proof that when you know how to make yourself indispensable and give yourself the means, you can achieve your dreams. The more the months went by, the more responsibilities I had. The message I want to pass on is that doors can open depending on your motivation. You just have to be passionate!
I have always loved reading the fashion press, watching the shows, keeping up to date with the news from the big houses and the latest on the market. I didn't know what I wanted to do for a living, but I was determined to evolve in the field of fashion, and more particularly in the luxury sector.
I didn't have a network in the fashion industry at all. It was a very personal passion. I appreciate all the beauty and know-how behind high fashion products. I wanted to go further than the superficiality of the fashion world, by appreciating the craftsmanship behind it, the authenticity of the people and the know-how that the big houses perpetuate.
I think that our generation is looking for meaning and searching for a job that we really like. I told myself that I could turn this passion into a profession. I set myself the goal of working in the head office of a major brand so that I could make a contribution and help develop these exceptional products.
It is important for me to start "at the bottom" to be on the ground and have first access to the products, touching them, being interested in the materials, studying the choice of jewellery... I really wanted to take advantage of my internships in companies, to gain experience and to be able to sell these skills during future interviews.
Appreciating the authenticity of the fashion industry
I realised that fashion is a much more natural industry than the image people have of it. Clients are sensitive people who are not into superficiality. When I worked at Chloé, I was also lucky enough to have two exceptional managers who were very passionate and took the time to share their passion. It's a far cry from the stereotype of the "Devil Wears Prada". The people in the shop as well as the craftsmen are genuine and passionate people who spend whole days taking care of the products.
I did a 6-month internship at Chanel as a product merchandiser assistant. My missions consisted of building the product ranges that are presented in the boutique. We attend buying sessions called "showrooms" where buyers from all over the world come to buy a collection. We guide them in their choices and give directions for the assortment in the shop.
Another part of the job is to analyse what happens in the shop once the products are on sale. The aim is to draw the best practices from them to buy even better the next collections. There is a real collaboration between the studio that designs the collection and the marketing department that will ensure that the collections stand out in the shop. The objective is to enhance them to ensure good sales.
It is important to know that part of the collections is presented during the fashion shows (ready-to-wear, bags, etc.) but the other part is more commercial and aims to build a product range that makes sense and can be 'worn' by the end customer.
Finding your dream job
When I saw the offer of a work-study programme at Dior, I said to myself that it was for me. I didn't know about this job before I did my internship at Chanel, which I really liked. People often think that it's impossible to get into these prestigious houses. But when you are passionate, when you put your heart and soul into it and when you know how to prove your worth, it becomes possible.
During my work placement, I did everything I could to provide solutions, give 200% and make myself indispensable by producing training content that was always impeccable. As the months went by, I was given more and more responsibility. After only six months of work experience, I ended up in charge of the production of seasonal training courses at Dior. The job was created afterwards.
What can make the difference in a company is the ability to take a step back after the first 2 or 3 years and ask yourself what the final objective of your development is, which really motivates you. Then, we put in place a strategy that allows us to get there by determining milestones and by questioning other people who have been there.
Working for a large group like LVMH offers us a lot of professional opportunities. The company encourages us to be mobile, whether in terms of sector (perfumes, wines, cosmetics) or profession (events, marketing, etc.). This wealth of sectors and professions still leaves many doors open to me for the future.
At the moment, I'm working in my current job because I like it. I am very lucky to have a first job that I am passionate about and that motivates me on a daily basis. For the future, I would like to work internationally and I know that Dior will support me in this choice.
Maintaining your passion
I'm lucky to have a job in which I don't get bored. My assignments change throughout the year. I work on different collections, with different inspirations and new materials each time. I'm always learning, which means I never get bored.
In my working day, I have little time left to go and benchmark what other houses are doing. I reserve this type of work for the weekends. We all come to the fashion industry with a passion, no matter what our job is. All the people I work with at Dior are passionate about what they do.
LVMH has an entrepreneurial initiative called DARE. This allows employees from different departments to co-create an entrepreneurial project together. There was recently a call for projects to develop an idea around sustainable development at Dior. With my team, I developed a project which I can't tell you about at this stage. Our idea was accepted because we were the winners of this competition.
The LVMH group allows us to leave our comfort zone. We are encouraged to propose ideas and the company is ready to follow us by providing financial resources to develop these projects. Sustainable development themes are particularly popular and I think it is very important to face the challenges of tomorrow.
The way of seeing things at Dior is in total opposition to "fast fashion". When you make a luxury purchase, you buy for the long term. If I buy a coat from Dior, I will keep it for many years. And in the case of jewellery, these are even pieces that will be passed down from generation to generation. These values of durability are in contrast to fast fashion, which is now under scrutiny.
Companies offer projects in which we can invest. For my part, I am part of a programme called "Women at Dior" in which I mentor young female students. I help them define their professional project, provide them with a network and am available to them if they need it. When I was a student, I would have liked to be informed about this kind of initiative, but I was lucky enough to be able to do things differently.