Ralph Lauren RTW Spring 2021

Ralph Lauren Corp., which has been on course to build even stronger digital connections, has made some key changes in its creative department.

Jack Becht, most recently digital fashion director at Selfridges, joined last month as creative director, agency,  at Ralph Lauren, overseeing the Polo, Luxury, Lauren, Home and RL content studio divisions.

He reports to Alice Delahunt, chief digital and content officer, who has been with the company for three years, having cut her teeth at Google, Snap Inc. and Burberry, where she worked for six years and rose to global director of digital and social.

Becht has more than 10 years of experience in advertising, branded content and editorial. Prior to his year at Selfridges, he spent three years as creative director at Condé Nast, where he led the Fashion/Luxury group creating advertising and content campaigns for client’s channels, as well as the print, digital and social platforms of Condé Nast’s brand portfolios.

This move comes on the heels of the retirement of Buffy Birrittella, executive vice president, senior adviser to Ralph Lauren and senior creative director of women’s Collection. She left the company March 31, after working closely with the designer for 50 years, overseeing women’s design and bringing Lauren’s vision to life. No successor will be named for her, as reported.

Becht succeeds Nathan Copan, senior vice president and creative director, concept and integration, who left the company effective March 31.

Leading with digital continues to be a key strategy at Ralph Lauren.

Last December, Patrice Louvet, president and chief executive officer, said, “The pandemic challenged every single one of us in retail to implement digital strategies faster than we ever thought possible and create new digital approaches.”

In pondering the importance of digital in business today,  he said, “We as an industry have to ask ourselves some fundamental questions. In a truly connected retail world, what is the role of the store? Is the store a marketing tool or a sales channel? Are metrics like four-wall profitability still relevant?” And beyond that, “What does one-to-one marketing and personalized shopping look like in the future?” he said. “And how do we leverage AI to get to a level of precision never achieved before and apply it without inadvertent bias?”

In February, while releasing third-quarter results, Louvet spoke about the company’s five-part strategic plan, which includes attracting new consumers, energizing core products, expanding by geography, leading with digital and operating with discipline.

He said sales through the company’s own digital channels rose by 10 percent in North America, but increased more than 70 percent in Europe and Asia. He explained that the company was resetting its North American website, which had grown “very dependent” on an international customer stocking up, adding volume but not much to the bottom line. Now the site is being refocused on the growing domestic business.

As reported, Lauren said in September it planned to cut 15 percent of its workforce by the end of fiscal 2021, or 3,600 positions. It  intended to consolidate global marketing and branding functions, establish a new Consumer Intellligence and Experience organization, and focus on leveraging consumer insights and predictive analysis to drive personalized consumer experiences at scale. It also planned to reorganize its corporate merchandising teams to combine core brand propositions.

Overall, the company’s slimming down is expected to lead to pre-tax expense savings of $200 million to $240 million, as reported in February.

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Patrice Louvet on Feeling Ralph Lauren Online

Buffy Birrittella, Ralph Lauren’s Right Arm, Gives an Exit Interview

Buffy Birrittella, Ralph Lauren’s EVP, Senior Adviser and Senior Creative Director of Women’s Collection, to Retire

 

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