Fashion Brand Analytical Study
The Gianfranco Ferre fashion brand can be traced to have come into existence in 1970 with collections of fashionable wear for both men and women, characterized by classy fragrances and stylish accessories made by Gianfranco Ferre. In 1974, Ferre`s fashion company was launched under the distinctive label by the name baila. The growth of Gianfranco Ferre`s brand saw high-end, ready to wear collections for women introduced in 1978. The look was highly appreciated by women as an option to the previously adored women suits which consequently propelled Ferre into fame and fortune. In 1984, the brand diversified to include unique perfumes for women and a famed fragrance for men in 1986. In 2002, Gianfranco Ferre`s company became part of an IT holding, even though Ferre remained the creative mind behind the brand, retaining the simple, yet elegant lines that had become his trademark for years. Ferre continued to take the brand to greater heights until 2007 when he succumbed to brain haemorrhage and died at the age of 62 years.
Gianfranco Frere`s style can be quantified as a sum of elegance, innovation and a perfect combination of values and innovation. Ferre`s brand according to Sara Pizzi a renowned fashion writter represented the exact the exact balance between culture, art and design. Ferre`s analytic method and his love for art saw the brand gain a huge impact in the fashion world, thanks to his designing skills. An example of creativity in Ferre`s brand was the notable sense for colour and elegance in his designs which he had learnt from the colourful Indian Saris women wear. The common thread in Ferrs`s brands was the composition of complex elaboration of simple shapes, a concept Ferre had adopted from Japanese origami.
The brand was further distinguished by Ferre`s ability to use nylon to tailor suits, while camel hair became the lining for army trench coats. Asymmetric tunics were also decorated with leather and put together with cashmere.
Following Ferre`s sudden death a string of lead designers have taken over his company, each attempting to rejuvenate the brand. First to arrive was Lars Nilsson who stayed for less than a year. Roberto Rimondi and Tommaso Aquilano came in 2008, and both struggled to find the right approach in their experimentations. In 2011, Stefano Citron and Federico Piaggi both of whom worked at the company with Ferre before his death came, and currently are keeping the troubled brand afloat as it struggles with financial problems.
Today`s Gianfranco Ferre`s brand is comparable to the first brands in many ways, for instance, the collections then, and their financial worthiness. This can be highlighted, for instance, by the presence of high stiff collars on today`s women tops. The style has been resurrected by current directors, Citron and Piaggi. The presence of shield plate necklaces as was in the design back then and the tucked in belt has slowly crawled back to Ferre`s today`s brand. The warrior looking woman design though has been co – opted by other designers has been reinvented, with the neo-Japanese samurai skirt certainly being a piece for any warrior look.
On financial footing, Gianfranco Ferre S.p.A, the holding company that coordinates their fashion business of Ferre label announced its plans of becoming listed at the Milan stock exchange in 1991. The company had a total sale of 589 million dollars. Ferre`s 14 licences also contributed 58% to the total sales in 1994. Total sales increased to 811 million dollars in 1996. Statistics show that 70% of Ferre`s brand sales were and are even today achieved in export, with the U.S being the biggest market base for the brand. One of the reasons for the huge market in the U.S is that the studio .0001 by Ferre line that is produced by Italian manufacturer Marzotto, which is basically targeted for the American market. Ferre`s brand is distributed in 17 exclusive boutiques worldwide since 1994 with over 250 point of sales.
The brand under Ferre`s label as the creative director and Franco Mattioli as the chief financial officer in equal shares lasted until sold in the year 2002 to IT Holdings is seen to have achieved a total of 589 million dollars in 1994 an increase of over 15%from 1993. The comparisons can further be seen in the sense that Citron and Piaggi designs starting point for the new Gianfranco Ferre collection are similar to Ferre`s designs. The differences are seen in the fact that asymmetric flourishes used to be a key element in Ferre`s designs, further choosing stiff architectural fabrics.
However, Piaggi and Citron today are more inclined to using fluid designs for instance hammered silk. As much as the duo have received criticism in their work as they try to revise Ferre`s designs to former glory, the two have presented a collection of full architectural pieces just like Ferre mostly in a black, white and neutral toned colour palette. In keeping with the structural looks the collections includes dresses clinched notably in an obi-like fashion, jackets with exaggerated collars, a slew of sculpted cocktail dresses and coats and V-neck jumpers.
It`s worth noting that the sportswear collections going by the name Oaks and produced by Ferre and Ferre-jeans used to be manufactured by Italiana manufacture S.P.A, but in the recent past, Ferrre`s brand contracted those lines for the next ten years to Ittiere, who are known to furnish the bridge collections of Dolce and Gabbana. The range of the licenced products is huge which includes stationary, shoes home furnishings and perfumes. The latest inclusion to this list is the licence issued to the Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch.
Gianfranco Ferre`s brand has grown in time from his original ideas which has made the brand so unique over the years. In his mind, Ferre had the picture of a woman who wears his clothes as if in a movement, dark haired, glittering and brilliant. Ferre had a vision of seeing women dressed in feminine curved lines, with asymmetric or faintly restrained silhouettes. The brand is today characterized by garments created in strong shapes and bright colours. His intellectual approach to design has seen the production of powerful and controlled clothes that are folded and layered to send a specific message. What has made the brand become further notable over the years is the expert use of stark colours, mainly black, white, red and gold in addition to the use of luxurious fabrics such as leather, taffeta and fur.
A little comic is further seen in the brand in later years, for instance, the dress made of cane in a basket weave for spring in the year 2000. The brand over the years has further been recognized for the manner in which Ferre sculpted white silk, cotton or his favourite organza into many distinct shapes. The brand has further been acknowledged by the use beaded cuffs, collars and lace ruffles that cut loose with curling sleeves. A modern expression of this brand can be summed up as harmonious, subtlety, free flowing silhouettes, classic in their own respect.
A further brand analysis of Ferre`s brand shows that the brand has the ability to recreate fashion, as has been the case over the years, with the coming if of different directors. The brand further has a high turnover of products, trendy designs and fitting outfits for all sections of the society, and the fashion designer himself is recognized as an architect of fashion. The brand has also been recognized with several awards and is a top apparel and clothing brand in Italy and across European countries.
However, the brand still experiences some shortcomings such as limited brand awareness as its marketing is less in comparison with other brands for instance, Giorgio Amnani, and Gianni Versace fashion companies. Additionally, the brand has also been characterized by high brand switching due to the numerous options, which, on the other hand, leads to less customer loyalty. This notwithstanding, the brand has a high opportunity of becoming famous globally through expansion of store outlets internationally. The accepted mode of the brand across many cultures internationally further makes it have grounds of being accepted and acknowledged worldwide.
Threats such as competition from other brands are still prevalent hence the need to address these challenges. There is also the threat of economic fluctuations, rise in production cost due to a rise in the cost of raw materials and also a change in consumer preferences. All these challenges mean that Ferre`s brand has to continue adjusting itself to the modern consumer demands.
Gianfrabco Ferre`s brand had and still has a distinctive look, characterized by simple lines but at the same time sending strong bold statements with them, looking especially great for tall and intellectual women. Ferre`s clothes are especially popular amongst American women in search of an elegant, sophisticated look. This is characterized by the fact that the main market for Ferre`s brands is now the U.S, holding a large portion of the 80% export sales that is followed from far by the Italian market by 20%. Looking at the business aspect of it, we can conclude that Gianfranco Ferre S.p.A Company, together with its different branches like GF Ferre, Gianfranco Ferre fragrances and Ferre Milano grosses more than 800 million dollars annually.
Various contemporary researches show that Ferre`s designs have one of the most exclusive inflections of modern luxury, cultivated through a refined and culturally rich aesthetic code that is ever attentive to glamour and the needs of contemporary living. As designed from the start, the brand is a pure expression of creativity in the creation of style and femininity in motion. To certify these expressions, research on the materials used for the brand shows artisanal expertise and technological innovation, characterized by the light fluid lines, the details, the mixes and the new accessories that are designed as days pass.
Cultural research on the brand further reveals an identity of style, for individuals who love elegance, exclusiveness and quality and at the same time appreciate the extensive and accessible interpretations of the brand in different cultures. On cultural matters still, the brand has been proved to be acceptable as a symbol of a cosmopolitan lifestyle, trendy outfits, which totally favours the modern attitude and culture worldwide of mix and match. Technological research on the brand serves to highlight the materials, graphics, colours and details in the brand that give that cool contemporary symbol both to the old bolder looks to the new easy jeans.
On the business front, the brand has had frustrating economic conditions to the point of filing for bankruptcy protection, mainly due to the global economic crisis that has hit the Italian clothing industry according to Reuters news. Though it has not yet taken place, the company sought to take advantage of an Italian law that allows companies with more than 1000 employees and compounded with more than 1 billion euros of debt to be placed under emergency administration.
Ferres` brand today faces stiff competition from other leading fashion and luxury brands in the world due to their own unique style. Giorgio Armani, for instance, a leading designer in lifestyle products including apparel, jewellery, fragrances, watches and home furnishings with a retail network of boutiques is one big threat. The company, founded in 1975 by Sergio Galleoti and Giorgio Armani began to broaden its portfolio from America to European markets. The Giorgio Armani brand has diversified its dealings to partner with electronic companies such as Samsung in a bid to market it further. In the deal with Samsung, the two companies came up with high end electronic and consumer products that included the launch of a Giorgio Armani mobile phone and the Armani/Samsung television. The partnership has seen the company gain global knowledge of its existence hence increasing its market share in the fashion world significantly. The partnership with Samsung is a strategic client oriented mechanism that seeks to target customers worldwide. Giorgio Armani leather handbags cost an estimate of 2,880 dollars, while men`s silk ties with logo pattern go for 195 dollars.
Another major competitor to Gianfranco Ferre`s brand is the Gianni Versace fashion company that also deals with high end fashion accessories such as handbags, shoes, watches, jewellery and fragrances for both men and women. The company has also diversified its operations in a bid to get a foothold of the customers share by being the first international luxury goods company to operate a hotel, Palazzo in Australia.
Another palazzo kind of hotel is currently being constructed in Dubai that is set to be opened at the end of this year. This is an example of the company`s client analysis that it has embraced in a bid to reach high-end customers with their fashion products. Versace Couture is the brand`s main line which contains of high end and often hand-made apparels. Couture dresses costs about 10,000 dollars while suits go for approximately 5,000 dollars. The brands clothes are known for their striking colours, cuts and materials that can be said to be sexy to the point of going uncouth for some people.
Other growing competitors to Ferrer`s brand are Canali, Dolce & Gabana, GAP and Cerruti all that deal with high-end fashion accessories. The diversion to other client friendly products by Georgio Armani and Gianni Versace fashion companies only highlights what Ferre`s brand should be doing, in order to increase its foothold in the market. Competition is stiff and their lack to engage in productive partnerships may be one of the main reasons behind their continued downfall since its proprietor Gianfranco Ferre died. Along with forming such partnerships, the brand also needs to increase its awareness in the market to get a grip of other high flying fashion brands.
Frisa, M. L (2010). Gianfranco Ferré: Lessons in Fashion. RIZZOLI International PUBN.
Fashion Brand Analytical Study