Hackathon decodes Louis Vuitton

Fashion & Leather Goods


Louis Vuitton organized a first in the luxury industry in September with a hackathon dubbed Unlock the Future of Luxury. This pathsetting initiative connects with a long tradition of innovation at the storied Maison.

On September 25, developers, designers, data analysts and assorted geeks formed an uncommon group at Louis Vuitton’s historic premises in Asnières. They were all taking part in a groundbreaking event, the  Unlock the Future of Luxury Hackathon. This marathon for software developers marked a major first in the luxury industry, generally viewed as far removed from the world of coding. Yet this proved to be anything but a culture shock for a Maison that since its founding in 1854 has always nurtured a real passion for innovation.

© Louis Vuitton

Selected from nearly 400 candidates, 58 developers took part in this novel event. Half were students from prestigious schools –  Polytechnique, Centrale, Télécom, Dauphine in France, as well as London’s Queen Mary University. In all, nine different universities were represented. Competitors were challenged to develop an innovative application that would provide better knowledge of Louis Vuitton customers, trends and future directions in the luxury industry. Working in teams, they had 48 hours to complete the task, delving deep with the help of computer code and algorithms into the huge pool of data provided.

Ahead of the official Hackathon launch, the big data wizards were invited to Louis Vuitton headquarters to learn about the brand’s universe and different strategic priorities. In an atmosphere that was both buzzing with excitement and studious, participants were coached by Louis Vuitton mentors, as well as specialists from different departments across the company, including Digital, Marketing, Communications and Human Resources.

© Louis Vuitton

After two days of exploring and analyzing over 1,000 GB of data, the teams rose to the challenge and presented their projects to a jury of professionals from the world of big data, Louis Vuitton and event partners. After deliberating, the jury declared a first place tie between two teams, each of them winning a trip to San Francisco and a grant of 8,000 euros.

A groundbreaking and disruptive experience, the Hackathon enabled Louis Vuitton to stretch beyond conventional approaches to innovation. Reaching out to people who might at first not seem to have much affinity with the world of luxury generated a fresh a novel perspective on the industry. By challenging traditional codes, Louis Vuitton remained consistent with its tradition of driving innovation, long a signature of the House.