Dear Fashion Brands

Dear Italian Fashion Brands,

What got you here, won’t get you there.

Revenues for 2016

Giorgio Armani - 5%

Ferragamo + 0,6%

Prada -10%

Tod’s -6,7%

First semester 2017 results:

Ferragamo + 1,1%

Prada - 5,5%

Tod’s - 6,1%

Several established high-end fashion brands have been caught in quite a dangerous situation.

All high-end brands, with a very distinctive identity and best-seller products, they have been developed during the last decades by the Italian owners and founders.

The typical entrepreneurial company with a great vision, a smart eye on key products offered to a specific target of cultivated and wealthy people, these Brands risk to find themselves in the new fashion era storm. Revenues are not growing as expected.

Confident of the success of the past decades, they have set up a specific business plan and they continue to stick with it with passion and grit, trusting that what take them here will make them successful also in the future decades.

They properly developed the key markets and the retail network, they advertised on the cool magazines and held events in the key locations, developed close relationships with Hollywood stars and collaborated with the key opinion leaders.

So, generally speaking, what went wrong?

They missed the “handover”. 

Considering that every Brand has a life cycle and that the peak performance cannot be kept for a long time, every Brand should find its own way to accept continuous change and managing it at the best.

Brands that are so relevant in the industry and oriented towards long-term growth should train like marathon runners:

  • always keeping fit on all the fundamentals
  • never giving performance for granted
  • finding their own proper rhythm instead of chasing others that maybe are running the 100m
  • choose a wise trainer and support team
  • distribute the effort along the route
  • shortcuts will get a disqualification 

In a world where competition is fierce and many Brands have a very aggressive short term strategy, the Italian brands that are more keen to be developed at a proper pace should put in place some key actions that could help them overcome the storm in perfect shape. 

The key word is: accepting and driving change as a crucial part of the Brand story.

The secret of the long term success of an established Brand is very well represented by Hermès and Louis Vuitton.

A Brand's life must be focused on how to change in the best and most efficient way, keeping the Brand identity intact.

Change acceptance and Innovation through evolution will help keeping the Brand fit with no need of drastic actions and with no risk of waking up a morning and see a dusty, old, weak Brand in the mirror.

Susanna Nicoletti for Joliegazette - a fashion and luxury marketing, communication and digital senior professional in the industry with boutique consultancy www.