Tag Archives: Branding

What’s in a Name?

Is YSL the same with the Y? Is Maison Martin Margiela the same without the Martin? How does a luxury fashion house stay current and new without sacrificing their age-old legacy? ID Magazine takes a dive into the dubious issue of rebranding the luxury name:

“Unless you’ve been living under a WiFi-less rock for the past six months, you’ve probably noticed a few changes at Margiela. At creative director John Galliano’s debut show in London—itself a change from the house’s usual Paris slot—the designer made waves when he removed models’ customary masks and came out for a bow following the finale walk. Amidst all these shocking switch-ups, it was easy to miss one other change: Galliano quietly dropped “Martin” from “Maison Martin Margiela,” ushering the avant-garde house into a new era.

An overwhelming majority of fashion’s top labels still bear the names of their founders, but what happens when times change: the designer leaves or the name just sounds off? Of course, Galliano isn’t the first to play the name game: everyone from Hedi Slimane to Ralph Lauren has tinkered with titles. In the wake of MMM’s streamlined new moniker, we did a little digging into the histories of nine other brand names.

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Saint Laurent Paris
Hedi Slimane is no saint, but when the designer decided to drop “Yves” from YSL following his appointment as the storied house’s creative director back in 2012, he became fashion’s biggest sinner (Colette even started selling an “Ain’t Laurent Without Yves” T-shirt before the house requested a cease and desist, then promptly cancelled the boutique’s order of their spring/summer 14 collection.) Amidst cries of blasphemy, Slimane explained the name change was actually inspired by one of Yves’ own: in 1966, the designer launched the ready-to-wear line as “Saint Laurent Rive Gauche.” Slimane’s rebranding also pulled from this era visually, opting for a sharp Helvetica inspired by the original logo’s sleek typeface.

MbMJ
Marc Jacobs is never short on a sense of humour, especially when it comes to names: the designer’s “Jacobs by Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs in Collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs” tote (seriously) puts a much needed satirical spin on the endless splintering of diffusion lines. In the spring of 2001, Jacobs debuted his secondary line, Marc by Marc Jacobs, one of the most successful diffusions of its kind. Following Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley’s creative takeover in early 2014, Jacobs opted for a streamlined new look, re-dubbing his youthful label simply “MbMJ.”

prada

Prada
Although the ready-to-wear empire has remained all in the family since its founding in 1913, the house originally opened its doors as a leather goods firm named “Fratelli Prada,” or “Prada Brothers.” Although it’s unsure when the name was changed, it probably happened around the time that Mario Prada’s daughter Luisa took the house’s helm (despite the fact that Mario did not believe women should have a role in business.) After taking over for her mother, Miuccia again played the name game in 93 when she launched Prada’s sister brand Miu Miu, its title taken from her own childhood nickname.

Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren is undoubtedly one of the most iconic names in fashion, a paragon of Americana since the label’s debut in 67. So it’s the ultimate irony that Lauren’s actual last name was something different entirely: Lifshitz. Having made the switch when he was just 16-years-old, the designer once told Oprah: “My given name has the word ‘shit’ in it.” “When I was a kid, the other kids would make a lot of fun of me. It was a tough name. That’s why I decided to change it.” The rest is seersucker history.

Yohji Yamamoto
Before the Japanese designer debuted his eponymous collection in Paris in 1981, Yohji Yamamoto had already produced under the line “Y’s” as early as 1977. These early designs were launched in Tokyo, before the designer—alongside Rei Kawakubo and Issey Miyake—took the fashion world by storm with their anti-fashion avant-gardism.

burberry

Burberry
Founded in 1856 when Thomas Burberry opened his own shop in Hampshire, “Burberry” actually was the store’s original name. Because so many customers around the world kept referring to it as “Burberrys of London,” the company switched to “Burberrys.” When the brand’s Knight Logo was later developed in 1901, the Latin word “Prorsum,” meaning “forward,” was added to the trademark, and has since become the name of the house’s high-fashion division headed up today by Christopher Bailey.

Acne Studios
Originating in Stockholm back in 96, Acne Studios was initially conceived as a branch of the creative collective ACNE, an acronym for “Ambition to Create Novel Expressions.” The original collective focused on film, production, advertising, and graphic design, but in 2006, the coalition branched out into separate entities, including Acne Film, Acne Advertising, and of course, Acne Studios. Despite the confused reception of such an outlandish name at its outset, the industry’s embrace proves that the product speaks for itself. Jonny Johansson’s modest denim project has since become a global fashion powerhouse, presenting menswear and womenswear at Paris Fashion Week.

Balenciaga
Although Balenciaga has kept founder Cristobal Balenciaga’s name intact all throughout its 100 year history, former creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere was one of the first designers to insist on adding his name to the brand. However the days “Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere” are certainly no more, as the designer still finds himself squaring off against the house. Current creative director Alexander Wang doesn’t insist upon the same personalisation, so for now it’s back to good ol’ Balenciaga.

tiffany

Tiffany & Co
Although the American luxury jeweller did undergo a name change from its original 1837 moniker “Tiffany, Young and Ellis” to “Tiffany & Company” when Charles Tiffany established the firm’s emphasis on jewellery in 1853, that’s not what landed the iconic blue box on our list. Because Tiffany is one of the first American luxury brand names, it sparked a wave of status-seeking parents (including Donald Trump) actually naming their babies Tiffany in the 80s. This yuppie staple demonstrates just how powerfully luxury brand names can infiltrate mainstream culture.

Credits Text Emily Manning
Photography Marshall Astor of Prada, Marfa by Elmgreen and Dragset”Original post: http://bit.ly/1zD5L8i

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Transparency Tuesday – Wits + Beaux – Expressive Men’s Accessories Made In NYC

Wits + Beaux – a men’s sock, bow tie, and pocket square e-commerce company – has an honorable dedication to supporting American manufacturing; all of the production processes of their brilliantly colorful, expressive menswear accessories are conducted in The Garment District of New York City. For Transparency Tuesday, I.F. takes a behind-the-scens look at this NYC start up brand who puts quality and high design at the forefront of their business model.

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Wits + Beaux Merch

In a time when large fashion corporations outsource their production to factories abroad where labor is cheap, small start up companies like Wits + Beaux  are rethinking the way the supply chain has been circulating and realizing the benefits of having production be local.  An honorable anomaly in the world of American fashion brands, Wits + Beaux makes it a priority to support the movement for keeping manufacturing in The States – a movement that has seen a resurgence in the small business community with the help of platforms such as Makers Row, but still has yet to fully take hold. As the insatiable fast-fashion consumer hunger for new fashion products continues to drive companies to stock new merchandise on the shelves more and more often, the focus remains on finding the cheapest labor possible to keep prices low, rather than having quality pieces.

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Wits + Beaux Intsagram

Luckily, there are pioneers for change like Wits + Beauxwho value the artisanal craftsmanship that can be found in one’s local community, and who believe that quality takes precedence over expense. With the amount of dedication and attention to detail the New York based team of Wits + Beaux puts into the designing of each piece, finding expert artisans to work with and discuss materials, patterns and design was extremely important. By working with The Garment District, the team could easily converse with and visit the workshop where the production took place. They were able to discuss with the experts, in person, how to make certain engineering aspects of their products possible. (Check out the video where the Wits + Beaux team discuss their use of the NYC garment district: http://kck.st/18A4az3)

The collaboration has led to a series of unique features that have become the trademark of  Wits + Beaux design including a unique stitching technique – seamless on the tips, an elastic arch support eliminating bunching, and an few extra inches in height, ensuring a day long wear without having to hike up fallen socks.

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Wits + Beaux Intsagram

Wits + Beaux’s inspiring dedication to keeping production at home  is equally matched with a passion for providing the fashion forward male consumer with “expressive” accessories. Which, for now, at the beginning stages of the brand, includes brightly designed, high quality sock wear, bow ties and pocket squares. As the website explains,

“Wits + Beaux was born from a singular quest – finding a well-made, unconventional and expressive pair of affordable socks. From that seed grew a dream to create a virtual men’s accessories boutique and cultivate a community of like-minded individuals who want more than just a shopping cart to fill; they want an experience. Our customer wants to engage in the design process as much as be inspired by the latest trends of the season.”

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Wits + Beaux Instagram

Fun, witty, friendly, and personable with a pinch of edginess is the perfect way to describe the voice of the brand, with the origin of the brand’s name perfectly corresponding with the mantra,

“’Wits’ and ‘Beaux’ are nicknames from early nineteenth century, Regency-Era England—known for distinctive trends in fashion and culture. We were intrigued by the contrast of these terms to the modern, technology-driven vision we had for our business. ‘Wits’, as they were known, were the poets, orators, and politicians of their time. The ‘Beaux’ were the trend-setting gentlemen of fashion. So, with a tip of our hats to this rich history of sophisticated and stylish gentlemen, we hope you enjoy the smart, superbly designed and crafted men’s accessories Wits + Beaux brings you without having to have a royal checkbook or a horse-drawn carriage to get them!”

Wits + Beaux invites men to a unique shopping experience while still relaxing in the comfort of their own home. This will soon become even more unique of an experience with the addition of the “Design Your Own” feature which is set in motion to be added to the platform soon. Customers will be able to easily customize their products by selecting the pattern and color to make their very own, original design.

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Wits + Beaux Instagram

I.F. commends Wits + Beaux for thinking critically about their business practices from the very get go and putting an emphasis on quality over quantity – high design over cheap trends.  Another A+, and we wish Wits + Beaux luck with the expansion of the brand and getting backed for another round of inventory for holiday! Support Wits + Beaux today by clicking here!

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ZegnArt – Mixing Business with Pleasure

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Gildo Zegna, marketing genius and CEO of successful menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna, has found a way to mix his brands business agenda with his love for art and culture. Spearheading the collaboration called ZegnArt, Zegna makes transnational connections, explores the culture of other countries, and promotes emerging artists through global exposure. The “visionary project” uses the sisters of fashion; art and design, to connect and communicate cultural differences between nations.

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ZegnArt is a long term project composed of commissions and residencies based on a principle of dialogue and reciprocal exchange between countries with emergent cultural programs and institutions. Through the combination of public artwork commissions and a research residency grants, Public promotes a new method of cultural confrontation and contamination through the platform of contemporary art.

Starting with the identification of a partnership country each year, the project activates a single vision divided into two fronts: from one side, the realization of a public artwork commissioned to a mid-career artist from the guest country, in collaboration with a local institution of international reputation; and from the other, the financing of a four month research residency at MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy offered to a young artist from the guest country.” -(http://www.zegnart.com)

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From a fashion marketing perspective, Zegna is brilliantly weaving the name of the brand into the collective consciousness of nations with soon-to-be large luxury markets. Instead of focusing resources on creating storefronts and distributing merchandise, brand emersion and integrity are being delicately and brilliantly promoted through this collaborative project. Zegna will become known as a leader, an innovator, for supporting local and emerging talent in the very communities they will be selling their brand to in a few years to come.

Kudos, Zegna, for pioneering a culturally and socially conscious project while cleverly building brand awareness abroad. Oh yeah, and the artwork isn’t bad either!

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