The key elements on how the top two leading brands in the fashion industry grabbed everyone's attention
Last year, we all experienced a constant competition between the two most trendy fashion brands of the moment: Gucci and Balenciaga. According to the Business of Fashion, Gucci was the hottest brand of 2017 with top products such as the well-known Gucci GG Blooms Sandals and later on the brand attracted everyone’s attention with their distinguishable sneakers and t-shirts. On the other hand, Balenciaga, along with its speed trainers, was close behind to Gucci when it actually beat it during the fourth quarter on sales, and it’s remarkable how much its popularity has increased in such a short period of time. The truth is, there are reasons beyond the products that each brand offers to the consumers that distinguish them from the rest. Here are the top reasons that each brand did to become successful until now.
Let’s begin talking about how much their products have changed throughout the years, and even before since Alessandro Michele took over as creative director: NOT MUCH. This is a very interesting part to consider because you might think that for a fashion brand to become more successful all it needs to do is to start changing the products they offer. Truth is, Kering chose the right creative director mainly because what the brand needed was not a fresh start, but a new way of showing the freshness of past designs.
Essentially, what the brand is doing with their products is mainly a fresh elaboration and reconstruction of their existing designs and patterns. It’s no wonder that because of that, Michele was clever enough to bring back Gucci’s vintage logo to the picture and make it so trendy that it’s now stamped on a basic white t-shirt, which became one of its most sold products, needless to say, it’s all over Instagram. Moreover, Gucci is more known because of the constant use of its trademark. The logomania trend came in just in time for every brand to go crazy about putting their logos everywhere and Gucci made a hard use of it. There is one thing that differentiates Gucci from the rest, and it is that it has the ability to turn something basic into an eye-catching product, and their main consumers are completely drawn to that.
Asides from the products, Gucci has one killer weapon that has differentiated it from the rest, and this might be its key ingredient to success: THE GUCCI CULTURE. Marco Bizzari President and CEO of Gucci has allegedly admitted that although there is no magic formula to Gucci’s current success, one trick might be that the team behind the brand is piled with millennials and what’s more, the brand has a different work culture from the rest. When it comes to redirecting that work culture to the consumers, Gucci has become a master at selling an experience, or like many people have put it, a fairytale. The brand has culture for breakfast and it’s a thrill for every consumer to fall easily and voluntarily into that. Gucci has had in the past year a lot of projects such as the Gucci Garden and recently, the Gucci ArtLab, their proposal to sustainable innovation and craftsmanship. The trick to surviving a volatile industry such as fashion is to be innovative beyond the product. It’s no longer about having loyal customers that will always buy the clothes, but about making those customers part of the culture the brand is building.
We can all agree that Balenciaga is currently gaining a momentum in the fashion industry. Nobody knows what the magic formula is for sure either, but just like Gucci, their renewed image has a lot to do with Demna Gvasalia’s vision. There is one big thing for sure and you can confirm this by watching the last Balenciaga Fall 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection, and it’s that the brand has the talent of always grabbing people’s attention by making a VISUAL STATEMENT. The brand has become more identifiable because of the way it has played with proportions and although some of the garments might seem odd, people are naturally drawn to them. It’s for sure that people will hardly forget Balenciaga’s gigantic garments shown down the runway for fall and their speed trainers will eventually be in a museum in the future. The brand has successfully reinstated itself as one that is NOT BASIC, but at the same time brings a sense of contemporaneity and modernity that is identifiable from others.
Now when you think of Balenciaga as not being a “basic” product developer, all it takes is to understand the brand’s history. Before Demna’s takeover, the brand was still falling into the traditional patterns that Cristobal Balenciaga had built since its existence; that is, characterizing the brand for its historical elitism and luxurious way of life. Balenciaga is now successful because of Demna’s ability to mix the streetwear aesthetic with that of the traditional patterns of the brand. Mainly thanks to Balenciaga, it is now that the vision of luxury has changed among consumers. The new vision of luxury that Demna has stated is one that is fresh, bold and up to some point, ironic.
When it comes to consumers, it has been recorded that 60% of Balenciaga’s are millennials. The reason for this is that Demna learned to understand the style codes for this specific generation, and so as you might’ve guessed, the use of social media is key for the brand. Balenciaga is known to be one of the brands that apply a massive use of social media influencers into the promotion of their products, and since Instagram is the king for audience engagement now, it’s not hard to tell how their speed trainers became so trendy in such a short period of time.
So, what do both brands have in common?
Millennials and the Gen-Z. Like it was mentioned before, fashion has become more volatile than ever, and the reason for this is that this new generation of consumers has the habit of rotating interests way too quickly. In other words, millennials will get bored of your brand unless you keep surprising them beyond the product you offer. The new generation cares about expression and the quality that is attached to it and so far, Gucci and Balenciaga have been the leaders in attracting their attention. Nobody knows for sure for how long these two brands will lead the market, but it’s always exciting to think about what innovative ideas they will come up with next.