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Learn about D&AD’s new Luxury Category from our Jury President

Ravi Amaratunga Hitchcock explains the changing-face of luxury and why it’s important to celebrate creative excellence in this category

Image from the Yellow Pencil-winning Burberry Open Spaces by 750mph, Final Cut and The Mill London for Burberry that won in the Visual Effects category in 2022

This year, D&AD has added a new category exclusively for luxury work, to acknowledge and celebrate the very best of creative excellence and innovation in one of the world’s most daring and crafted creative sectors. Heading up the jury is Ravi Amaratunga Hitchcock, a BAFTA-nominated executive creative director and D&AD Board of Trustees member. Hitchcock created and ran creative departments for Dazed Media and VICE Media in London before moving to Amsterdam to help drive content creative for brands such as Heineken, Boiler Room, and Red Bull. He currently runs his creative agency Soursop, which acts as a thought partner helping define long-term creative strategies for brands such as Gucci, Nike, Maserati, The Guardian, and Ray-Ban. As a proud second-generation British Sri Lankan, Hitchcock prides himself on his global viewpoint and approach to creativity. Here, D&AD’s Jury President for Luxury tells us why smaller brands are as likely to win in this new category as the major players.

Why does luxury need its own category at D&AD Awards?

D&AD is a celebration of global creative excellence, and luxury communication, when it reflects the products that it's selling and that luxury embodies, is the ultimate craft. It almost felt like a misstep to miss out on the luxury industries, especially because the process of creating work in this category is sometimes outside of the traditional agency models, since a lot of fashion houses and hospitality and travel companies don't use advertising agencies; they have in-house teams. They have creative directors, who bring in their individual talents. Same with design, as a lot of high-level individual designers also act as artists as opposed to using design agencies, so the work is amazing. We wanted to bring a different community into the D&AD fold.

Image from the Yellow Pencil-winning Aston Martin – Intensity.Driven. by Design Bridge and Partners for Aston Martin that won in the Writing for Design category in 2023

What is happening in the industry right now that is exciting you?

Luxury has become a lot more open now, and the people who have access to it and aspire to be a part of it are much more broad, inclusive and diverse. It’s not as polished as it used to be, and as Gen Z grows into fully formed luxury consumers, their desires are completely different. I think it's too easy to just think luxury means expensive and pretty. It's much more complex. It's a kind of constellation of codes that people are joining, so it's fun to see the mad expansion of that and the rewriting of those rules. I would say luxury is now an aspiration amongst people to get to an amazing standard of products or work, but the ways in which you access that, and the ways in which it proliferates are different. With every image too, there's deep cultural relevancy and story, and that wasn’t the case at the start of this century, but it certainly is now.

Who should enter their work into D&AD’s Luxury category?

If you are a production company, a stylist, a photographer, or a consultant working within the luxury individual industries, you can canvas your brand-owners to enter this, because I think it will be a huge shame if we just have the usual network agencies who happen to have done some luxury work or set up a separate luxury division enter. I would love us to be able to get under the noses of big groups, but also luxury brands within alcohol and automotive and travel, and celebrate the work those in-house teams have done.

I think the smaller the luxury brand is, the more creative they've had to be because their budgets are smaller, and the more likely their work will win. To be honest, and I won't name names, there are a load of new, fantastic, smaller brands in the accessories and fashion and especially the B2B space, that could really win over huge brands. I think what's brilliant about D&AD is that it's a level playing field in terms of what your budget is, because it's more about what the creative concept is than how much money you spent on the campaign. I think a lot of those younger brands just understand modern marketing instinctively, and how to use social instinctively. So I think we’ve started to see a lot of those pop up. I just hope they'll get to enter and see the opportunities.

Image from the Wood Pencil-winning Prada FW 2022 Menswear Invitation by Zak Group for Prada that won in the Graphic Design category in 2022

What are the opportunities within the industry right now?

There's a whole technological revolution that people haven't wrapped their heads around in terms of how AI and AR are going to affect luxury, and also this idea of digital stuff being worth as much as physical products and how we operate within that realm, and how creativity exists within that. I think purpose and impact is the other interesting part, because you've got a whole generation of consumers who don't see DE&I as this kind of good thing, but they just see it as what you have to do as a brand, otherwise you don't exist. That's across industry of course, but especially for luxury goods and luxury products, sustainability and multi-use and pre-loved and being inclusive is going to be really important.

What are you hoping to see in D&AD Award-winning work in the Luxury category?

There are quite a few different sub-categories within the category, which is great. Prior to this photography and film would be your go to, but there's everything from sustainability and social impact, right through to product design, visual merchandising, and retail. Luxury in this new luxury era that's been around for the last few years has expanded the aperture of what luxury is. So I think, as well as beautiful imagery, I’m looking forward to seeing really inventive and creative concepts within the sub-categories.

D&AD Awards 2024 is now open for entries. The new Luxury category celebrates design and creative communication campaigns for luxury brands, including films, motion, photography, audio, CSR, retail, editorial, commerce, packaging and sustainable footprint of the brands. Luxury industry sectors include Fashion, Beauty, Jewelry, Watches & Accessories, Alcohol, Automotive, Travel, Experiential and Food. Learn more about and enter the Luxury category here. 

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