The first step in creating a strong brand is to have a clear vision of what makes a company special. From this starting point, there are many different marketing strategies to deploy, and one thing to keep in mind: the target audience must be convinced of the authenticity of the message.
In an increasingly crowded fashion and denim industry, making high-quality well-designed products is considered
standard fair, for old and new brands alike. The difference between a successful brand and an unsuccessful one ultimately lies in the company’s ability to capture the attention of its key partners and consumers. From global brands to up-and-coming labels and to denim mills, there are myriad ways to build trust and great stories,
as seen in our selection of winning strategies.
G-STAR’S STELLAR SUCCESS
A strong background in avant-garde design has made G-Star one of the leading names in premium creative denims. The company’s iconic Elwood, designed by Pierre Morisset, was not an instant success when it was first launched in 1996. But G-Star persevered, functionality being a pillar of its brand DNA, and slowly but surely its star product attracted a cult following. It continues to be promoted in ad campaigns, often featuring brand co-owner and Head of Imagination Pharrell Williams. Hooking up with the music and fashion whizz was another smart move made by the Dutch label as it ties the celebrity spokesperson to the brand’s success more powerfully than a paid endorsement would. G-Star’s creative image has also been fueled by buzz-generating collaborations, even before social networks became a thing. It has partnered with Australian industrial designer Marc Newson and has recently named fashion designer Aitor Throup its executive creative director and head of the Raw
Research design lab. The Argentine-born designer may well be the one to write the next chapter of G-Star’s history of experimentation.
Silhouettes from Haikure’s sustainably manufactured , made in Italy, collections
Fashion presentation of G – Star Raw’s SS 1 8 collection by its new head of design Aitor Throup .
HAIKURE, ETHICS & AESTHETICS
Launched by C&S Jeans Evolution in 2011, Haikure is a relatively rare case of a denim manufacturer crossing the line to create a consumer-facing brand. Launched by Federico Corneli, the Italian brand is on a mission to promote clean manufacturing and sustainable styles. Its name, a fusion of the Japanese poetic form “haiku” with
“ure” that is meant to evoke nature, pure and future, encapsulates its eco-minded ethos. Beyond creating a strong identity and image, Haikure believes that today’s successful marketing is also a matter of company integrity and transparency. This is why each product, which are all made
Brand vision is based on a company’s history or DNA but it is also covers a company’s vision of the future and its practices with regards to innovation and sustainability.
in Italy, has a QR-code that enables the brand to engage directly with its consumers via social networks and digital platforms.
Fleurde Bagne’s inspiration dra wson the history of early 20 th century jail life and referencesic onic movies,as seen here,a jean model edonthe on eworn by prisoners in The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
FLEURS DE BAGNE’S TELLING TATTOOS
Founded in 2011 by Mika Dumas, French label Fleurs de Bagne has built an elaborate and unconventional
brand identity on an outcast category that jibes well with denim’s countercultural heritage: jailbirds. The brand’s imagery and inspiration is drawn from the tattoos that criminals consign on their skin to illustrate their high and low deeds.
Faustine Steinmetz’s in tricate denim design swere exhibited atthe Joyce Gallery in Paris in 2016 .
Fleurs de Bagne, which translates literally a “penal colony flowers”, is a poetic reference to the ink injected designs that tell the story of life behind bars. Based in Aix-en-Provence, the brand’s products are all made in France. To further reinforce the its graphic environment, they are sold in boxes with vintage look postcards. But these retro niceties belie the brand’s tough guy message.
FAUSTINE STEINMETZ, DENIM ARTIST
Parisian born Faustine Steinmetz began her studies at Atelier Chardon Savard in Paris before moving to London to complete her Masters at Central Saint Martins. She launched her own label in 2013, the year she bought her first handloom. Denim is present in all of her collections, but it is always extensively and intricately reworked and at times made from used jeans. Her fascination for the fabric is based on its ubiquitous presence in contemporary
wardrobes and the many different forms it takes. In addition to catwalks, that the fashion designs
stages in London every season, her extraordinarydesigns are also featured in gallery shows. Besides the high art of craftsmanship that she applies and seeks to keep alive, the designer also carefully labels each item indicating the date, technique used and whether it is hand or machine made. These personal messages are her way of keeping the conversation going with her clients.
H&M, A HIGH & MASS MARKET PLAYER
The fast-fashion behemoth has many fingers in the denim honeypot. It offers denim ranges in its many
chains, H&M, Cos, & other stories including the recently launched Arket. But the Swedish retailer is
also, since 2008, the owner of fellow Swedish brands Cheap Monday, Weekday and Monki. The unconventional
designs and marketing tactics of these specialist labels continue to be managed as separate
entities, so as not to blur their brand identity. They have however adopted some of the sustainable
practices initiated by their owner. In addition to its low prices and fashion collabs, H&M dedicates great marketing efforts to promote its commitment to sustainability in general and creating a circular economy for denim in particular. The first Conscious Denim range was launched in FW 2014, and included two items made from used
denims that truly “close the loop”. Though not the first company to promote sustainable denims, the retailer’s global presence and marketing might help attract the attention of mainstream media. H&M
is also a partner of many international conferences and organizations promoting sustainable practices
in fashion, thereby sending the message out to the business community as well as to its consumers.
H&M is on a mission to close the loop in denim through its “ bring it back”camp aigns .
ISKO’S VISION OF THE FUTURE OF DENIM
A leading producer of premium denim, Isko is a division of the Turkish textile conglomerate Sanko Tekstil, a highly-diversified family-owned company. A mill and garment manufacturer, Isko has invested heavily at all levels, from machinery to marketing. Marco Lucietti, a former Lycra manager at Invista, spearheaded the company’s rebranding as its marketing manager, a position now held by Rosey Cortazzi, while Lucietti remains a senior advisor. His tenure helped change the perception of the company both within the industry and beyond.
It has partnered with brands and retailers far and wide, from Diesel and Replay to Barbour and Calzedonia. Innovation is another of its key focuses, along with sustainability. Isko furthermore actively supports young designers through its I-Skool Denim Design Awards. Now in its fourth year, it has become a recognized launching pad for future talents and attracted 60,000 students in 2017. The importance of savvy marketing is made clear by the launch of a new award that seeks to identify tomorrow’s best denim marketers. One more indication of Isko’s
vision to lead the way to the future of denim.
Story-telling strategies deployed by major denim players come in all colors and styles, but standing out from the crowd depends on a carefully crafted message that will be regarded as authentic and credible by today’s buyers and consumers
The Isko – Skool denim Design Award fashion show
The Golden Rivetis Candiani’s way of conveying the premium quality of the denims it develops for Denham.
CANDIANI, THE GREENEST OF THE BLUE
A family-run company based in Robecchetto near Milan since 1938, Candiani is one of the leading names in high-end denims, and arguably one of the companies that contributed to the emergence of this market segment in the denim industry. A supplier to the most prestigious brands, it has successfully bridged the gap between its heritage in denim made in Italy and today’s demands for a cleaner fashion industry. Now headed by Alberto Candiani, the
founder’s great grandson, its brand vision is strong and clear: to be “the greenest textile company in the blue world”. One of its finer marketing tactics was the creation of the Golden Rivet, a stamp of the highest quality denims, proudly displayed on the products of its key partner, Dutch denim label