4 Things We Can Learn From Fashion Brands Reinventing Themselves

4 Things We Can Learn From Fashion Brands Reinventing Themselves

Global superbrand Gucci has undergone a huge transformation in the last year with a new creative direction, management team and innovative digital campaigns These changes have helped propel the brand to post market-defying full year results. The proof is in the figures.It’s a reinvention success story and a mark of how all brands, even the major global players, must constantly evolve to stay ahead. But what can we learn from fashion brands reinventing themselves?


  1. Relevance: Redefining the Cool Factor

Staying relevant is the lifeblood of any fashion brand, needing to evolve its product range and creative direction to remain five steps ahead of its customer. Gucci required a seismic shift in aesthetic from the sexy Tom Ford days. Reinventing the Gucci girl look, along with reconnecting with a new customer base outside the fashion world, helped reposition the brand for 2017.


What can we learn? Asking influencers to reinterpret their design aesthetic was a clever way for Gucci to engage with a wider creative community; its latest #TFWGucci project is a good example of this. Inviting artists from around the world to bring their own personal and idiosyncratic take on its iconic design motifs, Gucci gave creative freedom over to influencers whilst still maintaining a strong tone of voice.


“Once upon a time it was about consistency and controlling the message. But in today’s digital age, the successful brands are ones that manage to hold and style the story. It’s about projecting a strong tone of voice and understanding each communication channel and what it does for you. With a strong enough vision, people will come along for the journey.”

Elliot Wilson, Strategy Director at design agency The Cabinet


  1. Value: The Right Pricing Strategy

“Going back to its roots” is a commonly used phrase when people talk of a re-brand strategy, but innovating whilst staying true to your core customer is a key part of this approach. Mulberry suffered in recent years because of following a move by previous management to go more upmarket, thus pushing up prices and alienating its core customer. Since repositioning the brand, profits have tripled.Current management has said its new “democratic” pricing strategy, with handbags from £500 to £995,is working.


What can we learn? Don’t lose sight of your market, and find the right balance between quality and price. Don’t pitch so high that you alienate your customer. But don’t pitch too low, either, which can have equally adverse consequences.


  1. Flexibility: An Adaptable Business Model

ASOS (originally “As Seen On Screen”) started life as a celebrity-inspired fashion site which copied looks from famous people. But founder and CEO at the time Nick Robertson had big ambitions to become the “Amazon of fashion,” with a dream of turning over £1bn. Their business model started narrow but was constantly adapting and changing. As a result,Robertson achieved his targets and way beyond.


What can we learn? Have big ambitions but be flexible. Start small, build your customer base, learn from your mistakes and grow from there. Amazon itself started life as an online book retailer. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.


  1. Innovation: Leading the market

Burberry underwent a complete transformation, under the direction of former CEO Angela Ahrendts and Creative Director Christopher Bailey, turning the failing brand into a billion pound powerhouse through a clever re-brand strategy, digital innovation and new creative direction.


What can we learn? Be the best and always have your customer wanting more. With a strategy to be the first in all things digital, such as live streaming their London Fashion Week show or allowing customers to buy direct from the catwalk, Burberry led the market where others followed. This in turn allowed them to attract a new customer base.


About the Author

Retail journalist Emily Seares explores how brands stay relevant in today’s marketplace.