fashion today is to understand branding. LVMH,
the French luxury brands' group, is probably the best-known conglomerate
in the field, with its many acquisitions including Dior and Donna
Karan. More recently, the Luxury Brands Group (née Cardington)
acquired Hardy Amies in Savile Row.
Equating these groups with a knowledge of branding
may not be the wisest idea. They have been able to position the
brands in terms of demographics, but to a layperson, how well has
it been done? Can Dior be summarized in a word or a phrase? What
is the essence of Donna Karan?
It's not unlike the automotive industry. One of
our sister magazines pointed out early last year how DaimlerChrysler
had botched its positioning of the Chrysler brands, even though
Chrysler and its sister brand Mercedes-Benz occupied very different
The intimate apparel industry, meanwhile, may
have made greater advances with some of the better-known groupsEveden
Ltd., for exampleowning brands in different strata and
allowing them to find a niche for themselves. In fact, after years
of being dominated by retailers, intimate apparel brands are slowly
surfacing. Instead of being burdened by old cultures, many have
been able to redefine themselves in a highly competitive early 2000s
Eveden's company history includes a period where
it was a large contract manufacturer for Marks & Spencer and
it was not until its 1993 management buyout, led by managing director
Tony Thwaites, that saw the brands regain their independence. Its
brands, such as Rigby & Peller, Freya and Fantasie, are properly
defined, says Jonathan Kelly of B2G,
a British retailer.
'I think the Eveden brands sit quite well,' he
told Lucire. He equated Rigby & Peller to 'Rolls-Royce'
(it is, like Rolls-Royce, the holder of a Royal Warrant), Freya
to 'young, fresh, exciting' and Fantasie to 'upmarket and larger
sizes'. Eveden's official statement is in line with how Kelly saw
'They clearly each fulfil a role. If you are "young"
you might not wish to wear the same label as your Mum (hence Freya),
and if you "think" you are young you might still buy Freya!' While
he had misgivings about the Fantasie name, he did point out that
the top-selling bra in the UK is called 'Doreen'.