Covid-19 was a hit capable of deeply transforming people’s habits. But it’s much more than that. According to Alessandro Michele, some fashion standards had become boring, and young consumers are escaping the more traditional marketing tools. That’s why Gucci changes again: while speaking with El País Semanal, the stylist explained his recent choices and his vision for the future. Kering’s leading brand is transforming and will not be the same as it was.
Gucci changes again
The first step was Gucci’s epilogue, which was published in summer. Then came the Ouverture of Something that never ended. Alessandro Michele’s revolution (in picture, photo from Shutterstock), was based on real manifestos. And with regards to his dialogue with Gucci’s CEO, the stylist said: “I spoke with Marco Bizzarri honestly and openly, and we have decided to continue on our path in a different way. Repeating the same formula as always is the easier choice, but not the safest. It becomes boring for you, your clients and for journalists. We don’t want to get bored.
Ever again. Fashion is interesting because it has no fixed recipe”. Gucci’s changing attitude included a new calendar for presenting collections, along with the reduction of said collections. “I am not saying I plan on doing less – clarifies Mr. Michele -, because I am obsessed with the creating process. I just want to present things differently. People are ready for that, because they have become bored with the following of a predictable program, such as that of the fashion industry. Something has changed inside of us. We will not be back to where we used to be. It’s a new era. Same as it was for the time after WWII, because Covid-19 had impacts similar to those of a war”.
Offering less collections also means less manufacturing. Mr. Michele believes that it’s time for the industry to realign itself with demand: such frenetic presentations that aim at finishing very quickly no longer make sense. “When I see products that are shown at a deep discount, sold for nearly nothing, I just think that the formula is simply old. We live in a time during which we should want to avoid waste – remarks the stylist -. It’s pointless to fill stores with a million objects just to be forced to lower the price because they don’t sell”. Gucci has decided to cut discounts: “Our merchandising works well because we respect the marketplace. If you don’t give value to your products, then nobody will – he continues -.
Moreover, if you buy something today and then the brands put it at a 50% discount one month later, then it’s like they are robbing you”. According to him, this is a matter of respect towards the value chain. Selling at a discount is “unfair towards the chain. A handbag is a handbag: it doesn’t cut itself up after 4 months”. Why should that be the case for prices?
The relationship with young consumers
The matters intertwine. If there is no longer a need for a frenetic schedule made of capsule collections, then there is no need to fill stores with goods that are going to go unsold. That also depends on the change in the relationship between brand and customer. “They convinced us, during the last 15 to 20 years, that marketing was the priority. I can sell you whatever I want, they used to say – he explains -. Fortunately, that’s no longer true. We wouldn’t buy, and I include myself, just any product that is presented in our face. The time of having a model sitting on a chair with a handbag is over”.
Most of all for Gen Z, as these consumers look at the world with a different set of eyes. “They aren’t necessarily courageous: they simply aren’t afraid of who they are. They make up a new chapter in the history books – concludes Mr. Michele -. Brands that try to manipulate them through marketing are simply mistaken. Marketing actions should follow creativity, not the other way around: you are dead if you follow that logic”.