BRAND MARKETING AUDIT Clemmie Hyde
1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2.0 INTRODUCTION 2.1 Brand Heritage 2.2 Founding Designer Background 2.3 Brand Ethos/Philosophy 2.4 Initial Product Offer 2.5 Brand Timeline 2.6 Brand Extensions
page 04 page 06
3.0 BRAND EQUITY
4 BRAND PERSONALITY 5.0 MARKETING MIX
page 17 page18
7.0 COMPETITOR ANALYSIS
8.0 PESTLE ANALYSIS
9.0 SWOT ANALYSIS
10 RECOMMENDATIONS BIBLIOGRAPHY
page 38 page 39
3.1 Brand Awareness 3.2 Brand Associations
5.1 Product 5.2 Price 5.3 Place 5.4 Promotion
6.1 Consumer Behaviour (AIDA) 6.2 Target Demographic 6.3 Maslowâ€™s Hierachy of Needs 6.4 Consumer Profile
7.1 Competitor Analysis 7.2 Brand Positioning Map 8.1 Political 8.2 Economic 8.3 Social 8.4 Technological 8.5 Legal 8.6 Ecological
9.1 Strengths 9.2 Weaknesses 9.3 Opportunities 9.4 Threats
1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In this report I have analysed the Zurich based, luxury streetwear brand, â€˜VETEMENTSâ€™. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of their target market and the marketing strategies used in order to make sales and gain revenue, I have closely researched their brand ethos, iconic design traits, stockists, competitive environment and brand equity which acts as an indicator of the kind of reputation they currently have with their potential customers. This has allowed me to gain an insightful view into the ways in which they operate as a business.
2.1 BRAND HERITAGE Georgian designer, Demna Gvasalia is the 36 year old creative director of Balenciaga, a well-renowned, highly regarded couture label with a reputation for being radical and fashion-forward. He also happens to be the founder of, and genius behind, the urban fashion brand, ‘VETEMENTS’. First debuted in Paris in 2014, the label has since gained a huge following and regular media attention for it’s edgy, oversized and highly tongue-in-cheek streetwear. Although Vetements is seen to be a luxury, high end label, the brand is closely focused around youth culture, the internet, innovation and current affairs giving them almost a satirical nature. In terms of their aesthetic, the brand is centred around re-imagining and reconstructing classic, widely recognised garments into more grungy, surreal and disproportionate pieces; often collaborating with highly recognisable brands and distorting their classic garments.
2.2 FOUNDING DESIGNER BACKGROUND ‘Le collectif’ is comprised of a number of designers, including Demna Gvasalia and his brother, Guram (who focuses on the business and marketing side of the business) along with at least five others who Gvasalia met during his time studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp or in his various jobs at Louis Vuitton and Maison Martin Margeila. What’s interesting, however, is that the other members within the group choose to remain anonymous to the public so Demna acts almost as the physical embodiment and face of the brand.
2.3 BRAND ETHOS/ PHILOSOPHY The name ‘Vetements’ (meaning clothing in French) says it all in terms of their brand philosophy; by keeping the name so generic and straightforward, it almost pokes fun at it’s consumers in the sense that at the end of the day, all they’re producing is clothing yet if people think it’s cool and exclusive they’re likely to purchase, despite it’s high price point. The other members of the collective remaining unknown to the public also epitomises the highly underground nature of the brand meaning it’s desirable for it’s exclusivity and and the fashion tribe ethos that comes with such under-the-radar brands. They also have a strong focus on remaining current by releasing new collections and collaborations in quick succession in order to continually progress and develop. In an interview with ‘The Business of Fashion,’ Gvasalia said on the topic of building the collective and their overall philosophy as a brand that, “We all realised how frustrated we were. We started to lose a sense of fun in fashion. We feel it is inevitable and crucial to create contemporary clothing. We are having a dialogue with today.”
“We all realised how frustrated we were. We started to lose a sense of fun in fashion. We feel it is inevitable and crucial to create contemporary clothing. We are having a dialogue with today.” (Demna Gvasalia)
2.4 INITIAL PRODUCT OFFER On the 24th September 2015, Vetements debuted their spring/ summer collection in Paris. The first few outfits seen on the catwalk immediately caught the audience’s attention for being particularly minimal garments in a muted colour palette including oversized tracksuit bottoms in black, red and marl grey. There was an overriding 1990s influence seen throughout, giving the whole collection a very urban feel, and so Vetements was born. In contrast to the tracksuits, the more feminine, floral dresses were reminiscent of Marc Jacobs’ grunge collection for Perry Ellis which relates to the revival of ‘anti-fashion’ and the layered, clashing, oversized aesthetic of grunge. Additionally, the process of deconstruction/reconstruction is clearly seen in their debut collection as Gvasalia has taken inspiration from his time at Margeila where garments are often abstracted. These reconstructed, abstracted pieces have since become iconic to Vetements, particularly seen in their denim and more formal, office wear. Other design elements that were shown in their debut show and have since become conventional Vetements traits are long, oversized sleeves and their use of primary
colours. The show then moved onto less casual streetwear and onto exaggerated, almost surreal office wear with huge proportions. Their initial product line could be said to be less risqué or controversial than their recent releases, but it still contains the key features that sets Vetements clothing apart from others in the market.
October - Dvasalia is appointed creative director at Balenciaga
5th October 2016 ‘Summercamp’ released
menswear pieces first released to coincide with the reopening of DSM London
2.5 BRAND TIMELINE
54 look line-up containing collaborations with brands including canada goose, reebok, juicy couture and dr martens
SS18 the collection wasnâ€™t shown on a catwalk, but instead debuted on their instagram account
2.6 BRAND EXTENSIONS Vetements have gained a reputation for collaborating with some of the biggest, most established brands in the industry. This is due to their design aesthetic being centred around altering and abstracting popular and well known pieces and logos. Their SS17 collection was a 54 look line-up containing 18 collaborations with huge names including COMME des GARÇONS, Carhartt, Levi’s, Canada Goose, Champion Eastpak, Reebok and Juicy Couture.
After releasing the DIY-looking Levis and the viral DHL t-shirt, the Gvasalia brothers approached the brands directly, gaining their approval in order to create legitimate and authentic collaborations rather than simply imitating their logos and designs. Their most recent collaborations, however, have been with Tommy Hilfiger and Reebok - both of which they’ve documented and launched on their Instagram page. In terms of the brand’s internal brand extensions, Vetements started off solely as womenswear however released a menswear line in 2016 to coincide with the re-opening of Dover Street Market London and has since remained a highly androgynous, unisex brand.
3.1 BRAND AWARENESS
3.2 BRAND ASSOCIATIONS
With hugely popular streetwear brands, like Vetements, there’s often a lot of anticipation for their latest drop.
Vetements has a relatively surreal image in the eyes of the public and it’s potential customers. This is due to their more controversial releases such as the “You Fuckn Asshole” T-shirt, the ‘Bounty’ puffer jacket and the heeled boots with highlighters for the heel. The collective take risks with every collection and of course certain garments stand out for being particularly outlandish.
They’ll initially preview the collections on their Instagram page, in order to gain attention and build a sense of excitement. They’re also often featured on the Instagram and website ‘HYPEBEAST’ which documents newest releases, collaborations and where people are able to purchase. However, with it still being in it’s fruition somewhat, Vetements is by no means a mainstream luxury brand which allows them to remain exclusive and maintain their fashion tribe ethos.
However, more recently Vetements have made the news for reason’s other than divisive pieces; and this is Guram Gvasalia speaking out against overproduction in the fashion industry, by presenting installations in four of Harrods’ shop windows using waste clothing. He claims, “For brands to become more sustainable today, they need to do one simple thing: have their supply meet their demand.” in order to avoid a shortage in resources and increase in pollution for generations to come. More recently in their AW18 collection which was shown in an old flea market, the models were seen in copious layers of clothing as a reflection of consumer’s overconsumption and materialism. If Vetements continue down a sustainable and eco-friendly route, it could become a solid brand association and ultimately a USP.
3.0 BRAND EQUITY
“I don’t think elegance is relevant. Vetements is about the street, and on the street I don’t think elegance is what people are aiming for.” (Demna Gvasalia, 2018)
4 BRAND PERSONALITY
Due to Vetements being relatively elitist, subscribing to the ‘fashion tribe’ culture of modern streetwear brands (meaning customers buy into the brand in order to feel inclusion in their brand culture, seen to be a youthful, wealthy subculture) their brand identity is also incredibly alternative, gritty and at times shocking. This can be seen clearly in their behind-the-scenes book, ‘Summercamp’ which was released in 2016 which documented the design team and their friends’ trip to a chateau in Northern France. At 480 pages long it not only acts as a visual diary of the trip and their experiences, but also as a lookbook for their SS17 collection, featuring it’s infamous collaborations with Juicy Couture and Champion.The images are all taken using film photography giving them a raw, unedited, retro feel and some (seen throughout this document) are particularly risqué and revealing. This definitely adds to their brand personality as it makes them appear care-free, youthful and shameless as their partying, drinking, kissing and smoking is all captured in candid photography.
5.1 PRODUCT Vetements has an extensive and varied product line consisting of edgy, oversized, high-end streetwear. The garments are all relatively minimal and wearable, often portraying slogans and graphics, but they also contain a design element that is representative of Vetements such as the elongated sleeves or the restyled denim that have the Vetements logo strapped across the front. Their product line includes pieces such as hoodies, t-shirts, jeans, outerwear, footwear and accessories such as socks, bags, hats and scarves.
5.2 PRICE Although the majority of the collections appear relatively casual and ready for everyday wear the pieces definitely come with a luxury price tag. A pair of jeans averages at £900, while the highly divisive but viral DHL t-shirt, first modelled by Gosha Rubchinskiy, cost £185. The average price for one of their oversized, ‘cotton blend’ hoodies is around £400, showing the somewhat absurd price points for a minimal garment that isn’t actually 100% cotton. Gvasalia claimed, in an interview with Complex magazine, that even he would be unwilling to pay the prices his brand charges for their garments, stating, “my friends very often can’t afford the clothes. Like myself, I wear
prototypes but I don’t think I’m crazy fashion enough to go and buy those things,” which is quite a controversial statement as it could deter potential customers. Upon their first release, they sold a simple, black raincoat with the Vetements logo strapped across the back, this was seen as more of an entry level garment at £150, however the same raincoat is still available but with a increase in price of £300.
“I wear prototypes but I don’t think I’m crazy fashion enough to go and buy those things” (Demna Gvsalia, 2016)
5.0 MARKETING MIX
5.3 PLACE Although they lack their own bricks-and-mortar stores, Vetements is sold as a concession in various, independent luxury stores such as Dover Street Market and Selfridges, however for a customer, it would seem much easier to find a particular piece online. The brand itself has itâ€™s own website but this acts more as a platform to release news and announcements as well as display their collections, fashion films,
behind the scenes and house links to their stockists. These websites include Mytheresa, Net-A-Porter, Mr Porter, Dover Street Market London, Ssense and Matchesfashion. Choosing to sell simply through e-commerce means the brand is able to save on overhead costs on property and rent, it also appeals to a more niche audience as shopping online is increasingly popular with the younger generations.
5.4 PROMOTION Vetements appeals to a young, artistic, fashionforward audience, meaning they definitely take an unconventional approach to adverts and editorials. Due to them still being a changing and evolving brand focused towards the youth, their main focus for advertising and connecting with their audience is through social media in order to gain momentum and attention for their latest ‘drop.’ They don’t post editorials in glossy magazines like Vogue as part of their advertising campaigns, which gives some insight into who they’re choosing to target with their branding scheme. By having most of their activity and imagery posted on Instagram they’re able to directly market to their 2.5 million followers, posting minimal, unedited images of new lines/ pieces along with new collaborations and upcoming collections. They seemingly post every day, meaning their presence is prominent on their followers’ Instagram feeds, demanding potential customers’ attention.
Minimal without being flat, edgy without the gimmicks.
(Business of Fashion)
6.1 CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR (AIDA)
During the interest stage, a potential customer could be researching into a particular product they might have seen on the catwalk or online - it is likely to be one of the more viral products that gain the most attention; and in these cases, this could be where the customerâ€™s interest ends (if they have no intention of buying the product they just want to know what all the hype has been about.) On the other hand, potential customers could then move on to the desire stage which is where they are considering purchasing from the brand. Vetements is a relatively allusive brand, meaning not only knowing about the brand but purchasing it can also be difficult. Viral/ slightly cheaper products are likely to sell out, however as a general rule, all of their garments seemingly have a high price point so a consumer must make appropriate decisions about how and when to purchase according to their latest drop. Once a customer has bought a product they are impressed with, it could lead to repeat sales and customer loyalty which raises revenue and gains market share.
The attention stage describes when a consumer is simply aware of the brand - in this case, having read an interview with the Gvasalia brothers, followed them on Instagram or seen one of their last collections.
6.2 TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC “I’m surprised when 16 year olds from Brooklyn wear our sweatshirts and hoodies without understanding the connotations behind them. The reason behind them wanting and liking it may be very different to my reason for creating it and that’s what makes it interesting.” Due to the price tag, it’s clear to see that Vetements is an elitist, exclusive brand, as it’s difficult for less wealthy people to purchase if there’s a cheaper alternative. Therefore their targeted demographic is likely to be wealthy, upper/middle class or even of celebrity status. They generally have a bizarre positioning within the market due to fact that Gvasalia is so highly regarded within the fashion industry, being the creative director of Balenciaga, meaning Vetements has almost become Balenciaga’s underground counterpart where Gvasalia releases his much edgier and urban creations. This creates a relatively allusive idea of who they’re target consumer is - whether it’s a young, middle class, creative type
or whether they’re trying to appeal to all walks of life.This assumption is mainly due to their highly diverse lookbooks and recent SS17 collection which played on stereotypes and subcultures thus showing a wide range of models on the catwalk - representing various ethnicities, fashion subcultures, occupations, social classes and age ranges. Often a brand will use models who they think represent the company and usually acts as an indicator as to who they expect to wear their products, and therefore their target demographic; however in the case of Vetements, their chosen models are so varied (often discovered on Instagram or other social media platforms) that it blurs the lines of this general rule and makes it more difficult to understand their target audience.
6.3 MASLOW’S HIERARCHY OF NEEDS Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory in psychology that depicts the five levels of human needs, often arranged in a pyramid format as some needs take precedence over others. In the case of Vetements or most luxury purchases, it would fall under the ‘self-actualisation’ section which is the top tier due to it not
being essential to a person’s survival. Self-actualisation means gaining a sense of achievement or fulfilment - so saving up and buying an expensive garment. This is because it could bring the consumer a lot of happiness and satisfaction but it isn’t a vital necessity like food or water
6.4 CONSUMER PROFILE
Commonly within the streetwear segment of the fashion industry, their is a high level of competition as collections usually aren’t released in compliance with the widely recognised Spring/Summer, Autumn/ Winter fashion calendar. Instead, new pieces or collaborations are released in quick succession and in limited supply in order to gain as much hype as possible. This is the case for brands such as Supreme and Anti-Social Social Club, who have both infamously had distribution and supply issues due to their intense guerrilla marketing schemes. Vetements’ main competitors are Gosha Rubchinskiy and Off_White as they’re all midway between every day streetwear and luxury, high-end fashion; offering similar, minimal garments along with more feminine, formal wear.
7.0 COMPETITOR ANALYSIS
7.1 CURRENT COMPETITORS
7.2 BRAND POSITIONING MAP high price
8.0 PE 8.1 POLITICAL •
Brand appears relatively antiestablishment - definitely a democratic ethos within the business and the collective A lot of the designs are influenced by the Gvsalia’s family fleeing during the Georgian civil war.
8.2 ECONOMIC •
Brexit in the UK - people aren’t willing to spend their disposable income on clothing/fashion items that aren’t essential. An uncertainty of the future economic state means people are wanting to save what they have. Tourists visiting Selfridges/DSM will bring a lot of attention and income to Vetements, effecting their sales and internal economic growth.
ESTLE ANALYSIS 8.3 SOCIAL
Ensuring equality in the workplace - gender pay gap is a key issue for female employees. Ethnic diversity has a huge impact on a brand’s reputation - Vetements were previously criticised for sending an all-white cast of models down the runway. Representation of different age groups - AW17 collection
Most luxury brands will struggle with counterfeit culture/ knock-offs that reduce the value and exclusivity of their product - Vetements has a ‘parody’ competitor known as ‘Vetememes’ that creates similar items at a much lower prices
Ability to keep up with consumer buying habits - eg. E-Commerce and the youth. Successful social media accounts can massively impact a businesses branding strategy - Vetements Instagram has 2.5M followers meaning they can directly reach their target audience. Innovative design methods can act as a USP and set a brand apart from it’s competitors.
Fashion is a highly polluting industry (the second highest to the oil industry) meaning brands should always have an awareness of their carbon footprint and aim to keep it at a minimum Vetements use leather and fur in their collections, meaning they’ve made a conscious decision to not be cruelty free - could face backlash from animal rights protesters
9.1 STRENGTHS • fashion-forward: sets trends that high street stores want to mimic • innovative: use of deconstruction/reconstruction • still growing & expanding • social media: connecting with their 2.5M followers daily, posting new collections/pieces/collaborations • range of garments: they have a widely varied clothing line and thus a varied price range, people are able to get a shoein and purchase from the brand • quality: create high-quality clothing that feels & looks luxurious, would be proud to own something from the brand • collaborations: massive labels such as canada goose, reebok and recently tommy hilfiger which would bring in new audiences as it expands their product range and their target audience • strong brand culture: use of technology/current affairs, brand loyalists, edgy/underground/ tongue-in-cheek/satirical • celebrity endorsement: popular among celebrities such as kanye west, rihanna, kylie jenner, justin bieber which gains them huge attention
9.3 OPPORTUNITIES • brick & mortar store: at the moment only sold as a concession in other stores but one day could buy a location to hold & sell the garments • more collabs: with each collaboration it brings in attention from a fresh audience to the vetements brand
9.0 SWOT ANALYSIS
9.2 WEAKNESSES • lack of advertising: they don’t use ad campaigns, adverts etc so rely solely on social media, media/press attention in order to gain attention for their new lines • price point: their clothing is incredibly expensive which could deter people from purchasing as there could be cheaper alternatives • e-commerce: you can’t buy directly from their website; you can look at the collections but have to be taken to another website/link in order to purchase • target market somewhat unclear: they use such a wide range of models in their shows & lookbooks that it’s difficult to pin down exactly who they’re trying to sell their brand to
9.4 THREATS • competition: from other streetwear brands such as off-white, supreme, gosha rubinchinksy that hold other sectors of the market share • balenciaga: their recent collections are becoming more & more abstract, clearly taking a lot of influence from Gvasalia’s time at Margeila & as founder of vetements meaning he could potentially be creating a huge competitor against his own business/brand • economic factors eg. Brexit: could mean people are unwilling to purchase luxury brands as they don’t know how the economy will be post-brexit and whether it’s worth investing in the current climate • diet prada: instagram account with 248K, claimed that Vetements had plagiarised the maison martin margeila toe boots
• In order to remain true to the brand and it’s reputation for popular collaborations, Vetements could continue and collaborate with it’s main competitors such as Gosha Rubchinskiy or Off_White to create the ultimate alternative streetwear collection. • Due to them not using editorials for promotion, Vetements could choose to use celebrity endorsement instead, by posting images of their high-brow fans on their Instagram page. This would be likely to draw more attention to the brand if a wide range of potential consumers could see their idols wearing it. • Guram’s stance on overproduction could inspire other brands to be more conscious of waste and pollution, meaning if they continue down a sustainable fashion route it could massively set them apart from their competitors and attract other, more niche consumers in order to gain market share.
Brooke, E. (16th May, 2016). Cool Teen Lorde Pronounces Vetements ‘Uncool’. Retrieved from: https://www. racked.com/2016/5/16/11682600/ lorde-vetements Bumpus, J. (7th October, 2015). Balenciaga’s New Name: What To Know. Retrieved from: http://www. vogue.co.uk/article/vetements-demnagvasalia-moves-to-balenciaga-whatto-know Christian Madsen, A. (8th February 2018). At Harrods, Vetements Calls Out The Fashion Industry On Overproduction. Retrieved from: http://www. vogue.co.uk/article/vetements-harrods-installation Cochrane, L. (20th April, 2016). Scam
or subversion? How a DHL T-shirt became this year’s must-have. Retrieved from: https://www.highsnobiety. com/2016/05/18/demna-gvasalia-vetements-prices-dhl-explained/ Euse, E. (18th May 2016). Vetements Designer Says Even He Wouldn’t Pay Full Price for the Brand’s Clothes. Retrieved from: https://www. highsnobiety.com/2016/05/18/demna-gvasalia-vetements-prices-dhl-explained/ Feiereisen, S. (12th November, 2014). Get to Know Vetements, Best Emerging Designer Nominee for tFS Style Awards 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.thefashionspot. com/runway-news/495167-vetements-best-emerging-designer/#/ slide/1
Finnigan, K. (18th May, 2016). Demna Gvasalia on race, that DHL T-shirt and why he wouldn’t pay for his own designs. Retrieved from: http://www.telegraph. co.uk/fashion/people/demna-gvasaliaon-race-that-dhl-t-shirt-and-why-hewouldnt-pay-f/ Fischer, D. (20th March, 2016). Vetements Releases Its First Official Men’s Collection. Retrieved from: https://www. highsnobiety.com/2016/03/20/vetements-releases-first-official-mens-collection/ Luk, J. (18th May, 2016). Demna Gvasalia Says Even He Won’t Pay Vetements Prices, Explains DHL Backstory. Retrieved from: https://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/05/18/demna-gvasalia-vetements-prices-dhl-explained/ McGarrigle, L. (9th February 2018). The 5 Best Quotes From Demna Gvasalia’s Interview in ‘The Guardian’. Retrieved from: https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/ demna-gvasalia-guardian-interview/ Mower, S. (24th January, 2017) . Fall 2017 Ready-to-wear | Vetements. Retrieved from: https://www.vogue.com/ fashion-shows/fall-2017-ready-to-wear/ vetements Pearson, D. (26th September, 2016). Vetements Unveil New Book ‘SUMMERCAMP,’ Shot at a French Chateau. Retrieved from: https://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/09/26/vetements-summercamp-book/ @vetements_official | Instagram (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.instagram. com/vetements_official/?hl=en
Published on Feb 12, 2018