LOS ANGELES — Guess is revisiting the successes of its youth.
The Los Angeles-based apparel line made its name in the Eighties with the introduction of its Marilyn jean — a slim-fit, zippered, stone-washed design that redefined denim. Now Guess is opting to take advantage of shifting consumer spending habits by tailoring its denim assortment to those shoppers looking for greater value from premium denim.
“Everyone is talking about the macroeconomic climate and we’re trying to use it to refocus consumer awareness that we’re a huge denim brand,” said John Landis, Guess Inc.’s vice president of design. “You’ve had all these premium denim options over the past few years that clouded the denim market. It’s not possible that there are 800 brands that have authentic denim roots.”
Guess will increase the percentage of denim in company stores to 40 percent from the current 30 percent, space that will be freed up as the company replaces tailored jackets, pants and skirts, as well as fancy shirts and dresses. However, dresses will still appear in holiday collections.
The company’s focus is now on a midtier price zone between $108 and $148, which co-founder Paul Marciano and Landis believe will enable Guess to grab market share from other labels.
“Those are opportunity price points,” Landis said. “It’s not that we haven’t had them before and we don’t want to ever cheapen the brand. We’re just shifting more of our denim into that range. We’re getting creative in how we do it, like looking at international partners for sourcing.”
Guess’ fall and holiday collections will reflect the change, with motorcycle and military styles reigning supreme, while spring will usher in bohemian influences with lighter washes and colors. The more casual, denim-centric approach also serves to differentiate and prevent customer base cannibalization between Guess and the higher-end Marciano line, which was recently renamed Guess by Marciano.
Analysts who cover the company believe the new strategy leaves Guess well-positioned to grab the attention of value-minded shoppers.
“Across retail, fashion is selling right now and basic is not,” said Christine Chen, a Needham & Co analyst. “People want more fashion for their money and within each respective income level there isn’t price resistance if there’s a perception of fashion value.”
While longtime consumers may associate Guess with red triangular pocket labels and iconic ad campaigns featuring models like Claudia Schiffer and Anna Nicole Smith, the critical matter is whether the company can capture the attention of twentysomethings who are unaware of Guess’ jeans-centered heritage.
“Guess has to be careful not to overhaul entire stores and dictate to customers what they should be buying,” Chen said. “They’ve done well in the past with a slow migration. It gives time for adoption.”
To bring its audience up to speed, Guess is channeling its past by launching an advertising campaign that will hit the August issues of fashion magazines including InStyle, Lucky, Vanity Fair, Vogue and W. The ads, which will run in both black-and-white and color, feature Candace Boucher, Klara Wester and Bruno Santos. The campaign was shot on the streets of downtown Los Angeles using a warehouse as a backdrop to lend a raw, urban feel to the images, something Landis believes will resonate with Guess customers.
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)
Breaking News: @hedislimane joins @celine as its new artistic, creative and image director. One of fashion’s preeminent image-makers and trendsetters, Slimane is to join the LVMH brand on Feb. 1 and unveil his first fashion proposition for men and women next September during Paris Fashion Week. It marks a major homecoming for Slimane, who cemented his reputation – and influenced men’s tailoring for more than a decade – as the designer of Dior Homme between 2000 and 2007. He went on to reinvent and ignite the house of Yves Saint Laurent, which he rechristened Saint Laurent, between 2012 and 2016 – all the while maintaining a close relationship with the Arnault family, which controls LVMH and Dior. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
“Personally I believe the Eighties have been the richest and more vivacious period for international fashion,” Giorgio Armani said when asked what his favorite decade of fashion is. It was a moment of disruption and experimentation and only thinking back to the first years of that decade is always an emotion for me, for what they have meant to me and my work.” The influence is clear in @giorgioarmani spring 2018 collection, pictured here, which was full of bright colors and unexpected prints. Read more about which decades designers loved most on WWD.com #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
For Lady Gaga’s only Italian show on her “Joanne World Tour,” the singer wore a range of @versace_official outfits. The standout piece: this custom-made bodysuit inspired by the brand’s spring 2018 collection. #wwdfashion (RG: @ladygaga)
@_camillaruth_ is expanding on the wellness-craze concept with @westbourne – a new NYC restaurant that’s both a healthy-minded café as well as a business that gives back to the community. Marcus works with the Robin Hood foundation to give back to The Door, a non-profit providing youth development services, and also hires employees through The Door. Read our full interview with Marcus on giving back through food on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)