Blog Brand Story | Italy
The Brand Story of Giorgio Armani - Luxury Fashion House
- 13th May 2020
Giorgio Armani- The Journey of a Window Dresser to becoming a Popular Luxury Fashion House.
“Remember that in the end the customer doesn’t know or care if you are small or large as an organization – she or he only focuses on the garment hanging on the rail in the store.”
- Giorgio Armani
Standing on the foundation of core values like class, quality and exclusivity is the luxury fashion brand Giorgio Armani. Giorgio Armani has earned it’s respect among the fashion industry through it’s relevant, classic and exceptional designs. It is not only a part of the top 10 luxury brands but also values over 3.3 billion. Giorgio Armani brand history is as rich as they come.
Luxury brands, especially the ones that are created as a namesake to the founder and designer like Gucci, Chanel, Christian Dior or Versace generally reflect the qualities and values of the designer. Their foundation is in the personalities of these creators. This helps in giving these brands a special identity of their own. As designs are the most important element in the fashion and luxury world, the individual qualities become important in giving the brand it’s unique identity and sustaining the brand. Similarly for Giorgio Armani, the classic and simple and clean style went beyond just fashion and helped enhance the aura of the person who wore it. Armani described his perspective to fashion by saying,
“I was the first to soften the image of men, and harden the image of women. I dressed men in women’s fabrics, and stole from men what women wanted and needed—the power suit.”
Inception Of the Brand:
“When I started, I had nothing...”-Giorgio Armani
The man the brand, the creator, Giorgio Armani was born on July 11, 1934, in Piacenza, Italy. A son of a shipping manager, Armani had two siblings. He and his siblings have faced the hardships of World War 2. He always took a keen interest in human anatomy and hence pursued medicine. But soon he left his medical studies to serve the army. While doing his service he had received a 20 days’ vacation in Milan and this is where it all began. He started his career as a window dresser until 1964, where he was taken by Nino Cerruti as a fashion designer for menswear at Hitman.
Around the 1960's he met Sergio Galeotti and this laid the foundation to a life long partnership. It was Galeotti who encouraged Armani to start freelancing for other designers as well. After years of experience, they together started Armani S.p.A in July 1975. The same year they launched their first-ever collection for menswear followed by a womenswear collection next year. Their debut was well received by the audience. His philosophy was simple.
“To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail”- just like a true luxury brand.
Fame & Growth of the Brand:
Giorgio’s fame went through the roof when the Richard Gere starrer ‘American Gigolo’ released in 1980. The lead featured a closet full of classic tailored Armani suits. His ‘power suits’ made frequent appearances in the television series, ‘Miami Vice’. Soon thereafter, there was a demand for these suits by many professionals.
Together, Galeotti and Armani worked together and earned fame and laureals. In 1985, Armani faced a personal loss and lost his friend and business partner to a heart attack. Galeotti suffered from leukemia. While many questions rose regarding how the designer would manage the execution of the empire, Armani came out victorious and shut these rumors by expanding his business to the next level. Under the parent umbrella brand of Giorgio Armani he launched a series of sub-brands to cater to different market segments and their needs. Its product lines covered all corners of fashion-whether luxury fashion, affordable fashion, swimwear and underwears, accessories and jewelry, perfumes and cosmetics or eye wear, bags and shoes for men, women and children! Besides fashion he even ventured under other industries like home collection (interiors), confectioneries, floral arrangements, restaurants, hotels and residential properties!
Giorgio Armani has garnered the respect of millions of people and has attracted celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Megan Fox and Rihanna to the face of the brand overtime.
Expansion of the Brand:
Giorgio Armani created its popularity amongst the elite and the luxe fashion world. He then started utilizing his brand name ‘Armani’ to come up with so many verticals and venture into other industries.
This brand was created for the working professionals between 25-35 years old. Giorgio Armani, mainly only designed for two brands- the signature Giorgio Armani brand and Emporio Armani. He created classic and crisp designs for this target segment.
Giorgio Armani Prive:
Developed in 2005, this was Armani’s couture line designed for the red carpet looks for celebrities. The line offers Giorgio Armani Prive dresses and gowns for a gala or balls that are flouncy, luxurious and classy.
This brand is a slightly lower price than the signature brand. With approx 20% less in price, Collezioni caters to people who love to wear high quality premium luxury apparel but can’t do so mainly because of the price. Hence, Collezioni comes as an excellent line for affordable fashion.
This line was created with keeping the footballer, Andriy Shevchenko as the inspiration who at the time wore a jersey with No. 7 on it. The collection included mainly sporty apparels as well as athletic shoes.
This brand was the least expensive brand and was created keeping in mind the audience from 18-30 years old who wanted something street-styled and casual wear for themselves.
A/X Armani Exchange:
Armani Exchange was the ultimate brand for the mass-market who wanted a taste of luxury wear. It was cheap and fashionable keeping in mind the casual and good quality. It provided the whole range to the mass- from apparel to accessories.
The man has set forth in every corner of the fashion industry and yet he kept progressing in other industry lines. Armani Casa is his collection of home collections and displayed his ideal way of living. Armani Casa is used in Armani Hotels- another venture into the hotel and resort industry. He struck a deal in Dubai and started with Armani Residences, a luxury collection of 144 private residence homes in Burj Dubaiin 2005.
Other brands include Armani Dolci for confectioneries and Armani Fiori for Floral arrangements in his hotels and restaurants.
Each and every brand, depicts in all its facets, every trait and philosophy of Giorgio Armani that is based on sophistication, crisp and comfort.
Giorgio Armani became a brand name known in every industry and no matter which industry he excelled at, he remained the humble modest person he was at the start.
“I like the idea of having built this beautiful empire but I still like to think of myself as a stable boy.”
Social Responsibility by the Brand:
“The philosophy underpinning my brand has always been sustainability: through my work, I offer clothes that last and can be worn for many years. The question of ethics even comes before strategy.”– Giorgio Armani
Giorgio Armani has been a part of various social responsibility events. In 2016/17 Giorgio Armani made an agreement with the Fur Free Alliance and removed all products that were made of Animal fur. They also signed the Fashion Pact in 2019 which aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emission, stop global warming and restore biodiversity. Giorgio Armani also made efforts to help Italy, during the bad times of COVID-19. They started manufacturing single use medical overalls. They also made a total donation of 2 million euros in various hospitals in Rome, Milan, Piacenza and Bergamo.
If anyone ever stayed as true to his words then let it be Giorgio Armani-
“Remain true to yourself and your philosophy.”
It’s been over 3 decades that Giorgio Armani has been managing and designing luxury apparels and the brand yet stays true to its brand values as established in 1975. Giorgio Armani has stood the test of time as a luxury fashion brand by having a clear vision and philosophy in the head. His designs have over the time defined who they really are and what makes them different and how are they so special to their audience. Even after reaching the heights of success he remains true to his roots and operates in Milan and has an abundance of love and respect for the city. This is also clear from the brands Instagram strategy.
When asked about his key to success he says,
“I don’t have a formula to pass on. I always did it my own way. Even today, I hold my independence close. It’s what’s most precious to me. Passion. Risk. Tenacity. Consistency. This is my professional history.”
This blog required a great amount of research to understand the story of the brand and the man behind this luxury brand. By the end, I had discovered a new found respect and admiration for the brand. This is a success story. Giorgio Armani has seen the worst times of a world war and also terrorism in the 70’s at Milan. While there were demonstrations outside his studio in Corso Venezia, he would be in his room sketching and imagining a new society which would dawn and interpret the future. Been through a rollercoaster of life, he managed to bring his brand to a level which is untouched and unexplored by many other luxury brands.
A journalist from New York Times wrote,
“He seems almost presidential — wise, serene and comfortable in his role now as the reigning eminence of Milan fashion."