Women Leaders in Fashion Business: Yves Saint Laurent’s (YSL) Valerie Hermann


Code : FMB0007

Year :

Industry :General Business

Region : US

Teaching Note:Available

Structured Assignment : Available

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Abstract: The Darwinian Theory – ‘survival of the fittest’ applies to the fashion industry where fashion changes faster than seasons. The definition of ‘fittest’ also changes accordingly. Fashion businesses for over decades has been built on the core principles of rarity and exclusivity – operated with ‘supply-creates-demand’ psyche. Buzz around the founder, engulfed the business side. With the emergence of new contexts, fashion businesses are waking up to the new realities. With increasing competition and high volatility in fashion trends, these companies are realising the need to strike a balance between creativity and business. Like other major industries namely banking, IT, retail, etc., this industry is learning the economics of business. Although the industry has embraced technology, improvised its supply chain logistics, modified organisational structures, not much change has been witnessed in terms of encouraging the participation of women in business as executives. The industry has a dearth of women executives – barring a few like Coco Chanel and Liz Claiborne. However, proving detractors wrong, more number of women are shouldering big responsibilities in this industry. Valerie Hermann took up the challenge of turning around YSL as its CEO in 2005 – that was suffering for decades. Her new initiatives are paying off and her approach towards YSL is being commended by analysts. This case study discusses the role of women executives in an unpredictable fashion industry and debates upon whether women executives can become ‘the turnaround CEOs of loss-making businesses’.

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Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To prepare an industry analysis of the fashion business to gain insights of its market dynamics and to analyse the industry attractiveness using Porter’s Five Forces Model
  • To examine the emergence of women in business especially in the fashion industry and therefore compare the leadership styles of women executives with that of men
  • To discuss the challenges and constraints for women executives in the fashion industry and debate on what it takes to be a successful women executive in this industry.

    Keywords :Leadership, Valerie Hermann, Women in Business, Fashion, Industry Analysis, Industry Attractiveness, Five Forces, Porter, YSL, Retail, Coco Chanel, Supply Chain, Leadership Case Studies, Creative Industries, Turnaround

    Contents :
    » Fashion Industry: From Middle Ages to Modern Era
    » The Global Fashion Houses and the Luxury Brands
    » Estee Lauder

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