Rebranding Part II: How To Reposition Your Fashion Brand

It’s official. The jury deliberated on the reasons to rebrand and they’ve reached a unanimous decision. Your company needs a rebranding, stat! At first, you may be a little intimidated; after all it can be quite the undertaking. However, you’ll be joining the vast list of companies who’ve done the same, either as a proactive or a reactive measure. For example, Barbie has changed it’s logo six times, while Pepsi has done so 10 times! Be it simply a logo change or an overhaul of their entire operation, some corporate nip tuck can help you expand your market reach, customer loyalty and give you a fighting chance against the competition. Once you’ve identified the problem that needs fixing, here are a few steps to help your evolution:

Plan it out.

The overall idea is all fine and dandy but you don’t want to start the process without knowing definitively how it’s all going to get done. Start by clearly identifying what your goals are, taking into consideration what your target audience appreciates. Then, pinpoint the actionable panaceas you will implement to achieve those goals. This includes cost projections, project timelines, possible outcomes and how to fix them, roles of each department and team members, and the point person per activity. Do plan for the unexpected as it’s guaranteed that something just won’t go as planned.

[Original Image: Calvin Klein]

Document the changes.

The plan has finally been decided on and now it’s time to get your employees on board. Because they are a company’s strongest asset, it’s vital to educate them on your vision and motives to make them feel a part of the process. That, and they help to create the consistency level required that you can proudly convey to the customers and the public. One efficient way of doing this is auditing all the changes that are made. That way, they have a reference point to guide them through this transition. Dialogue channels between you and your team should be left open so that you can make adjustments to your plans for efficiency’s sake.

[Original Images: The MET]

Frame your communication roll-out

What’s the point of rebranding if people won’t sucessfully hear all about it. Step one, get your brand ambassadors, aka your employees, super excited about it through internal PR campaigns. However you choose to announce the changes, do make them exciting and not a boring memo. Next, plan your external PR campaigns which will see you tap into your media assets to spread the word. We’re talking earned and paid media mentions and getting in touch with your client lists. The news of your change shouldn’t be abruptly presented to your customer base. No one appreciates being caught off guard, plus planning teasers that build up to the set launch date are so much fun! If you’ve got the budget for it, a launch party should be in the mix too. It’s a chance for your employees, clients, customers and the press to learn more about the revamped brand in a relaxed/fun setting.

In 2016, with the help of Glen Luchford’s photography and Christopher Simmonds’s art direction, Gucci re-entered the contemporary fashion conversation.


Execute it everywhere!

You can’t solely rely on the media and influencers to get your message out there. Make online platforms work in your favour in this rebranding process. revamp your email templates, website aesthetic and the available brand stories, as well as, your social media pages’ appearance. But that’s not all. You’ve got to rethink how your brand identity material will visually translate. this includes signage, packaging and printed communications.

No shirtless male models in this 2016 Abercrombie & Fitch “The Blues” campaign. [Image: Abercrombie & Fitch]

Post-launch progress analysis

Once your rebranding has gone live, congratulations are in order. However, you also have to get feedback on what went well, what could’ve been better and what lessons you need to take away from the experience. You want to find out if your goals have been reached and whether it’s reaping the kind of reaction you were hoping for.

[Image: Fifteen Design / GAP]


Timberland: After an acquisition by VF Corporation in 2011, the US-based footwear and apparel company was able to reposition itself in the fashion industry. From significant declining sales, the once-popular brand is making strides to a forecasted US$3.1 billion in revenue by 2019. it was able to make this turnaround by focusing on a defined target audience and creating exclusivity by only stocking in certain urban areas.

Timberland Fall-Winter Campaign 2017 [Image: Timberland]

Timberland Fall-Winter Campaign 2017 [Image: Timberland]

Burberry: This brand brought its iconic look to a variety of fashion items; froms fragrances to clothes and handbags. Unfortunately gangs began to wear the brand, giving it an infamous identity that so it banned from certain city bars in the UK. they were able to salvage their 150 years of heritage by working with well-known and liked celebrities to turn their perception around in the media. in the process they were also able to make the brand modern and unique, shaking of the out-of-date angle as well.

Emma Watson for Burberry [Image: Burberry]

Supermodels Cara Delevingne and Kate Moss for the My Burberry Campaign [Image: Burberry]


J. Crew: When sales were plummeting for this brand, they decided to reposition themselves as a store that sells basics such as capris and tank tops that still have a luxury element to them. What pushed them over the top was the Obama’s wearing their products during inauguration activities while they were still the first family. A specific incident of immediate sales translation was in 2008 when Michelle Obama made an appearance on “The Tonight Show”. A simple mention indicating that her clothes were from J. Crew sent their company stock up 8.2%.

From left: US President Barack Obama, daughter Malia Obama, US first lady Michelle Obama, and daughter Sasha Obama walk to Air Force One at Castle Airport June 19, 2016 in Merced County, California. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski [Image: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images]

THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO — Michelle Obama during an interview with host Jay Leno on October 27, 2008 — Photo by: Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank


Saint Laurent: In 2012  Hedi Slimane dropped the Yves from Yves Saint Laurent, changed the aesthetic vision and started targeting the young, rich demographic. the result was a LA-infused debut collection that flew off the shelves, doubling their net sales and creating a growth of 51.7% by the end of 2013.

Designer Hedi Slimane debut collection for Saint Laurent SS 2013. [Image: Monica Feudi]

Designer Hedi Slimane debut collection for Saint Laurent SS 2013. [Image: Monica Feudi]


Rebranding is a delicate science and you shouldn’t expect success overnight. When Gucci rebranded in 2015 it took a year to begin to see results. equally, things can take a turn for the worse and things can get pretty ugly (Think Gap’s logo change). But what J. Crew, Burberry, Saint Laurent and Timberland prove is that when rebranding is done right, it can be very effective.



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