The Giorgio Armani brand owned and run by the founder designer Giorgio Armani has earned the much hallowed space in the fashion industry through its superior design, relevant themes and trends. It maintains the aura of a real luxury brand. Not only has Giorgio Armani become one of the most respected and known brand names in the fashion and luxury brand industry, it is also one of the most highly valued fashion companies in the world with a value of nearly 3 billion Euros.
Giorgio Armani started the company in 1975. Being a designer himself, he made apparel with his sense of aesthetics, beauty and luxury, a sense that appealed to the elite of the society. It is a privately held company with the founder Giorgio Armani being the sole shareholder. With many sub-brands designed under the parent umbrella brand of Giorgio Armani to cater to the specific needs of different market segments, it has become one of the strongest fashion and luxury brands in the world.
Giorgio Armani is very expansive in Asia Pacific with its multiple future growth markets for luxury brands. For example, China is embracing premium fashion and luxury goods at an increasing pace, and Giorgio Armani has been one of the forerunners to exploit the market potential. There are approximately around 10-13 million Chinese luxury brand customers. Giorgio Armani opened its Emporio Armani store next to Shanghai's historic "The Bund" in 2004 and has been opening stores across China since then.
Unlike the usual practices of branding that are normally seen in the consumer goods industry, the branding philosophy in the fashion and luxury goods industry is quite unique and personality based. Most of the famous fashion houses like Christian Dior, Yves Saint-Laurent, Gucci, Versace and many others were built on the personality of the founders. As design is the most important ingredient of fashion and luxury apparel, the individual style of these designers becomes crucial to creating and sustaining the fashion brand strategy. It is these unique designs and patterns that reflect the personality of their creator that gives an identity to the brand and helps to differentiate it from the crowd.
The Giorgio Armani fashion house, like many other fashion houses, has been built primarily on the unique personality and identity of Giorgio Armani himself. The brand takes on the identity of the founder through the designs created.
Though this aspect of the fashion industry provides fashion houses with a strong sense of differentiation that can be conveyed in a tangible and visual form, it also poses a serious threat. When an entire brand and fashion house are built on the basis of the founders' personality and identity, it becomes a major challenge to keep the brand going after the demise of the founder, something many of the fashion houses have realized in the recent past.
(Continued in the next issue)
Print ed: 08/09