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San Francisco-based Stylophane.com, an Internet apparel design and marketing firm that counts the number of times apparel brands are entered into search engines that the firm tracks monthly, found a diverse group represented in the top 12, from designer names to sports apparel and outerwear. According to the firm, six brands reappeared on the list since February 2006: Louis Vuitton, Nike, Adidas, Gucci, Chanel and Prada. These brands, though still dominating the top spots, posted lower search volume figures from the same period a year ago. Here’s a look at what these power brands have been doing recently to continue generating interest.
Search volume for February: 315,126
The popularity of Louis Vuitton hasn’t slowed even though the brand’s creative chief, Marc Jacobs, is in rehab. In March, Jacobs showed the Louis Vuitton fall lineup in Paris. WWD reported the collection was “lovely though surprisingly low-key,” and “filled with chic, wearable clothes.” The fashion house, whose collection of bags is much sought after each season, has attached a price tag of $42,000 to its Tribute Patchwork bag for spring. Alex Mendoza, partner of Stylophane.com, said, “Both Louis Vuitton and Nike maintain their positions in the rankings again this year.”
Search volume: 252,875
Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike Inc. outlined a detailed expansion plan in February, WWD reported. The athletic giant wants to reach $23 billion in revenues by 2011, compared with $15 billion in fiscal 2006. “The brand is creating new category-specific product for six target areas: running, basketball, soccer, women’s fitness, men’s training and sport culture,” WWD said. Nike Inc. released third-quarter financial results in March. For the three-month period ended Feb. 28, earnings climbed 8 percent, to $350.8 million. Sales increased 9 percent, to $3.93 billion.
Search volume: 158,656
Adidas AG reported last month that net profits in 2006, driven by double-digit sales growth in all regions except Europe, rose 26.1 percent, to 483 million euros, or $609 million, on a sales increase of 52 percent, to 10.08 billion euros, or $13.6 billion. Adidas, based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, is continuing to focus on its integration of Reebok, which the company acquired in 2005. The Greg Norman apparel business, acquired with Reebok, has had a positive impact on group sales.
Search volume: 154,237
WWD reported Tuesday that Gucci Group named Chantal Roos, president and chief executive officer of YSL Beauté, as its strategic adviser for the fragrance and cosmetics industries — a new, Paris-based post. Andrea Barbier, a L’Oréal executive, will succeed Roos. With regard to its online arm, WWD reported in February that “Gucci has been selling its products, except rtw, online in the U.S. since 2002, and recently expanded to the U.K., France and Germany.” The story also noted that Gucci recently updated its Web sites to reflect its brighter packaging and updated store concept.
Search volume: 147,716
The French fashion house continues to make top management executive changes: Effective Jan. 1, Maureen Chiquet became global chief executive officer, and in March Véronique Morali joined as president of Chanel SAS. In addition, WWD said of Karl Lagerfeld’s Paris Chanel collection: The snow-covered floors “set the scene for a genuine winter collection, packed with meaty, audacious tweeds, longer lengths and all kinds of chill-chasing accoutrements.”
Search volume: 137,236
This brand is known for its performance-enhancing sports apparel. So it makes sense that Speedo’s popularity during February could be linked to its new product: a performance swimsuit called the Fastskin FS-PRO. Speedo said this is the fastest and most lightweight swimsuit, WWD reported. “The brand always listens to its athletes, and the end result is that we feel confident wearing Speedo as we step up to the blocks,” record-breaking swimmer Michael Phelps said in a statement. “I have been involved in the development and testing since the first prototype was produced.”
Search volume: 119,895
This Italian fashion powerhouse showed its fall collection in Milan in March, and WWD noted: “This was a confounding manipulation of classics into something that looked like nothing else…low-key shapes call for major fabric intrigue, and in that area Prada amazed.” The brand is planning to invade the world of technology. With the help of LG Electronics, Prada’s newest venture is a signature mobile phone. “Prada hopes to sell a significant amount of units, and they stress that the phone is not just a limited edition accessory,” WWD said.
Search volume: 113,835
Juicy announced in February that it would launch lines for baby boys and girls in the spring. “Baby fever has hit our Juicy world,” co-founder Pamela Skaist-Levy told WWD. “It seems like every ‘It’ girl is having a baby and all they want their babies to be wearing is Juicy.” The line consists of everything from bibs to blankets, swimsuits, T-shirts, onesies and tracksuits. The brand also opened a 3,000-square-foot European flagship in Milan on Feb. 16. Store features, such as the white marble floors and stucco ceilings, are exclusive to Milan.
Search volume: 112,280
“The brand has come back even stronger this year for a reappearance in this winter’s high ranks,” noted Mendoza of Stylophane.com. “But can Ugg expand its brand appeal to sustain the phenomenal winter popularity? For most of the year, during the warm months, the brand falls off the radar.” The Galeta, Calif.-based lifestyle company opened its first freestanding boutique in Manhattan’s SoHo in December. Connie Rishwain, president of Ugg Australia, told WWD, “The best way to showcase the full range of [the brand’s] evolution is to open our own retail store.”
THE NORTH FACE
Search volume: 112,100
The North Face is upping the glamour quotient by focusing on lifestyle lines and its select high-end line, Red Collection, WWD reported in February. “It is essential to expand distribution. Brand consolidation tends to be more prevalent on a tough weather year,” said Topher Gaylord, president, outdoor and action sports. The North Face Apparel Corp. was granted a summary judgment and $7 million in damages in a counterfeit lawsuit on Jan. 30 in Los Angeles federal court.
Search volume: 99,438
This footwear brand, acquired in 2003 by number-two ranked Nike Inc., has continued to bolster sales based on third-quarter results released in March. Also last month, the brand unveiled a second installment to its “Get Chucked” ad campaign featuring spring-summer 2007 men’s and women’s ready-to-wear. “The collections will debut at retail in mid-February  with a range of athletically inspired high-end vintage knits, woven tops, skirts, T-shirts, sweaters, tailored jackets and bottoms for men and women at high-end department and specialty stores,” the company said.
Search volume: 97,621
Los Angeles-based Guess in February reported a 77.1 percent rise in earnings to $45.7 million, for the three months ended Dec. 31 because of booming sales in Europe and gains in the wholesale and retail businesses. “The globalization of the Guess brand is in full drive and delivering strong financial results,” Paul Marciano, ceo, said in a statement. “This performance places 2006 as Guess’ best year ever, with record revenues and record earnings.” Guess has stores in more than 60 countries and is planning on opening its Shanghai flagship this month.