In light of the recent resurgence of the logo, as seen by Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana and [insert name of an established fashion brand (with valuable trademarks) here], a move certainly aimed at boosting sales, we take a look back an article from 2012 when logo-fatigue (consumers' response to brands' over-use of flashy logos on their garments and accessories) was in its heyday. This is the cycle of fashion in a nutshell, folks ...
"How do you sell luxury in a recession?," this is what Bloomberg asked recently. "If you're Gucci," its columnist states, "You try to convince customers that a handbag isn't just an accessory but an investment. The purse getting top billing in Gucci boutiques this season is the New Jackie, based on a style carried by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and marketed as a bag 'to use and love forever.'"
With such a mentality in play, the brand’s “GG” bags – the ones with the interlocking Gs, the ones that have long been the foremost face of and selling point for Gucci over the past however many decades - have been hidden away. They are still available for sale in the Italian design house's brick-and-mortar stores but you certainly will not be greeted at the door with them.
That is not what consumers are looking for now and so, it is not what Gucci is enthusiastically offering up. No, right now, "consumers are looking for more authenticity, more timeless products," according to Gucci Group head Robert Polet. They are looking for logo-less products.
A big part of the push to banish away heavily branded garments and accessories is coming from the Far East. The industry’s most renowned brands – Gucci included – have been suffering from consumers’ growing appetite for smaller, less widely distributed labels, particularly in key markets, such as China, which was single-handedly the luxury goods industry’s main growth engine until 2012.
“I think for some brands there is a saturation and a brand fatigue issue in certain markets like Asia,” said Scilla Huang Sun who runs the Luxembourg-based Julius Baer Luxury Brands Fund.
The same is true on U.S. soil. Until recently, chances are, a handful of other women within your line of vision were likely to be toting a Louis Vuitton Toile monogram bag - or a Gucci one or a Burberry version. But Gucci, Burberry and Louis Vuitton have all been working over time in the past few years to regain some semblance of the aura of exclusivity that they had and then managed to lose by going mainstream - and wildly chasing profits - in the mid- to late-2000s.
According to Reuters, these brands, in particular, "milked their logos too hard," and while their "volume-based strategy made shareholders rich, it also diluted the brands." And this damage is lingering, especially for Gucci.
As Reuters further noted, "Based on sales performance, some big fashion labels, such as Louis Vuitton or Hermes, appear to have done a better job than Gucci at rebuilding or supporting that exclusive image. Gucci’s sales have been steadily declining over the past year while Louis Vuitton’s revenues are still growing, albeit in low single digits, and Hermes - which always kept volumes under control - together with Burberry, are still enjoying sales growth of more than 10 percent."
In an attempt to right its revenue ship, Gucci has introduced a slew of new products, including pricey pythons bags with bamboo handles, sans its interlocking "G" logo. And while representatives for the brand say they are happy with its new direction, analysts are still skeptical. “You cannot just keep reviving past icons, you also need to have breakthrough innovation,” Exane BNP Paribas luxury goods analyst Luca Solca said, citing designer Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent as a successful example.
As for the fashion critics, they, too, are not terribly optimistic. They say that Gucci has been struggling to regain the appeal and the authority it possessed when CEO Domenico de Sole and designer Tom Ford were in charge until 2004. In short: Logo or no logo, Gucci is in need of a revamp.
Now, back in 2017, logo fatigue cannot seem to come to the phone. Why, you ask? Well, because its dead.