Building a strong fashion brand has always been a challenge for fashion designers, they are likely to focus on the creative side of the business instead of brand building. The Brandberries interviewed Reem Acra, one of the world’s top, Lebanese-born, fashion designers whose gowns are regularly worn by hollywood celebrities, to name a few, Beyonce, Selena Gomez, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Taylor Swift, Reese Witherspoon and Catherine Zeta-Jones. We interviewed her to know the ins and outs of how to create a powerful fashion brand.
BB: In the competitive fashion landscape, branding remains one of the best ways to standout from the crowd. Can you share some of the ins and outs of creating a strong, consistent and engaging fashion brand?
RA: These days it seems everyone thinks branding is about marketing. Branding is really about identity and staying true to who you are as a designer. I know who I am, and I know who my customers are, and I always remain true to this.
BB: Brand Equity Vs Product Functionality: Should fashion brands be driving people to purchase the label or the functional benefit of the product?
RA: Fashion is not about equity or functionality. Fashion is art and art is everything.
BB: Fashion branding is a comprehensive integrated process that should start from the very beginning, from the brand identity passing by product design and ending with all online and offline communication materials. Can you mention some of the tips and tricks for startup fashion brands on how to establish a captivating first impression ?
RA: To be a successful fashion brand it is of course important to have both vision and talent. But it is not just about being a talented designer as many talented designers don’t make it. A designer must have a true identity. Understand it. Live it. Believe in it; and translate that into the product.
BB: With the rise of Arab fashion brands, how can they outperform established multinational brands in local markets without outspending them ?
RA: Arab fashion designers and brands must dig into themselves and into the culture to shine in the business both as a culture and as a brand.
BB: Fashion Branding and Culture: For a fashion brand, how can its designs transcend boundaries while preserving its identity at the same time ?
RA: The Reem Acra brand is all about richness in fabric, colors, and fit. These are characteristics that speak to everyone regardless of culture or personal style. The amount of love in the workmanship in each of my pieces resonates with every one of my customers.
BB: One of the most historical debates in the fashion branding is the naming, should brands be named with the designer’s name or with a brand name ? What do you think ?
RA: I think in today’s world and how it functions, my advice is not to use your name.