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  • Subject area(s): Marketing
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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Rick Owens

Richard Saturnino Owens Los Angeles native designer. In 1994 Owens started his own label sailing at Charles Galley; With fitted leather jackets, threadbare jersey t-shirts, deconstructed skirts and harem pants with irregular hems, Rick Owens at once shown himself as a fashion outsider creating his signature “glunge” – glamour meets grunge – style. Pierced and tattooed, the anti-conformist punk designer with long hair created a rock ‘n' roll world set on the fringe of market trends and developed a somber, underground and almost hardcore fashion image (English, 2012)  Unfortunately before he started selling his own collection; Owens attended Otis College of Arts and Design as well as Los Angeles's Trade Technical College (BoF,2017). While taking a pattern cutting course he decided to drop out and take a position for making and sailing illegal copied merchandise of top designers. Which granted him an opportunity in 2001 to move to Italy, then in 2003 to Paris (BoF,2017). In 2003, Rick Owens moved to Paris and he set up his ateliers at Place du Palais Boudon in the 7th arrondissement. At this time, he was named creative director of Revillon (English, 2012). Owens began his business out of his five-story building which was known for once housing former French President François Mitterrand. He began his first furniture collection inspired by LA and French designers using raw plywood, marble, and moose antlers which are now shown at the Musée d'Art modern in Paris and the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA (BoF,2017). Today Owens is still designing, apparel and shoes and is known as the grunge gothic designer. Also, in 2008, the fashion house opened its second boutique in Manhattan's Tribeca in New York City, which then led to the opening of shops in London, Tokyo, H3ong Kong, and Seoul (English, 2012).

Cristóbal Balenciaga. Balenciaga was born in the small fishing village of Guetaria in the Basque region of Spain on January 21, 1895. From his early years, he spent many hours by his mother's side as she worked as a tailor. In his teens, the most prominent woman of his town, the Marquesa de Casa Torres, became his patron and client, sending him to Madrid for formal training in tailoring and proudly wearing the results. Balenciaga found early success in his native country (Charleston, 2004). He opened branches of his boutique Eisa in Madrid, Barcelona, and the fashionable seaside resort of San Sebastián. The Spanish royal family and fashionable members of the aristocracy favored his designs. When the Spanish Civil War forced the closure of his boutiques, Balenciaga moved his operation to Paris, the acknowledged fashion capital of the world (Charleston, 2004). In August 1937, Balenciaga staged his first runway show at his Avenue George V atelier, showing a collection that was heavily influenced by the Spanish Renaissance (Charleston, 2004). Balenciaga interpreted many historical styles throughout his career. His “Infanta” gown was inspired by the costumes of the young Spanish princesses from portraits by Diego Velázquez (Charleston, 2004). Perfectionist, extraordinarily technical, creative, innovative.... These and other adjectives may undoubtedly be used to describe one of the best and most influential 20th century couturiers. For him, perfection was an obligation and his extraordinary technical skill eased the task. Because of his innovative personality, he sought greater simplicity and purity of forms. (C.B., 2018). Wherever he went, Cristobal Balenciaga sparked passions. The words of colleagues and models best reflect the essence of the designer from Guipuzko. Christian Dior, another “great master” said that “he was a master for all of us.” Hubert de Givenchy said; “He is the architect of haut couture.” Another catwalk reference was Coco Channel, who defined him as the “only authentic couturier,” as, contrary to his peers, “he was able to design, cut, set and sew a dress from beginning to end.” (C.B., 2018).

Market Segment

Rick Owens: Market Segment

Considering Rick Owens major target market being based upon these four subcategories such as ages ranging from 24-50, genders female & male, household income of 25,000 – 50,000, and occupations of the working class. As well as skewed toward American and European background. Owens target consumers categorized in three segments the young digerati, upper crust, and money & brains. The young digerati can describe as fashion forward urban mix. Also, the communities around them affect their fashion sense such as SoHo like areas. Next is the upper crest, perceived as the wealthiest lifestyle in America. This social class usually based at $100,000 a year or more without children with ranging from ages 45-64. Many live in suburban areas and are retired or working towards retirement. Furthermore, the money & brains social class which described as the “have it all” including their creditability and advanced life styles, yet still living in urban areas such as Manhattan.

Cristóbal Balenciaga: Market Segment

Being that Balenciaga is a broad brand ranging from many categories such as apparel, shoes, perfume, and handbags. The company bisect down into two main indications which are gender and income. Breaking the gender segmentation into two classifications which includes male and female. High end luxury merchandise designed for each gender specifically; yet Balenciaga market research group found that their highest consumers are women. Therefore, more time and thought processed into creating women's goods. The former consumers have a target market of individuals within high income brackets, and the companies target market is the girl next door, the teen age trendsetter, the young woman who wants to make a wardrobe investment, the middle age woman who still follows trends, and the socialite who owns every version of the bag. The various demographics which are across the board, in age, ethnicity, and income, which helps make the bag valuable, a top seller, and a star product (Lopez, 2018). To incorporate income brackets into Balenciaga target consumers with being labeled as wealthy moderate consumers ranging from ages 25-50 and higher hierarchy social classifications. As well as cultural demographics grasped towards Americans though the sole purchaser were Europeans.

Description of looks

Rick Owens. Designers are now known for their unique looks. In like manner Rick Owens is known for his gothic grunge apparel. Part of Owens' appeal is his ability to surprise audiences while giving them the essential style they have come to know and love. His clothing defies structure by creating innovative ideas of shape; it is dark yet glamorous and truly meant to be worn and lived in (Ofiaza, 2017). Portrayed as dark glamour Owen's use these characteristics to create his renowned leather jackets with a spin-off of furniture and other diffusion lines(BoF,2017). As once described by The New York Times as being “fashion's most imitated designer.”  Being that Owens clothes are so uniquely put together as his asymmetrical T-shirts and angular leather jackets distressed to the point that they feel like an expensively lived-in second skin—are echoed in every rung of fashion, from haute couture to High Street (2016). Stated by Owens himself “With layering, sometimes the more the better.  When you layer a lot of black you are like a walking Louise Nevelson sculpture, and that is pretty attractive. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is also one of the most attractive things you can do” (Genius, 2018). As an illustration sole purpose is to be a anti fashion and create unique pieces unlike others to stand out. Such as using various patterns within the knit of each fabric to create a look within a look. One of the most often used fabrics Owens is known for is his abnormal leather patterns. Owens is a connoisseur for gender bending apparel his usage of heels for men was a fashion statement, whether than being a nuisance. These actions are for those who does not want to specify by society for what they are wearing yet but for who they genuinely are. Therefore, using abstract designs, the focus would not be on your sexuality it would attract to your outfit. All of Rick Owens products produced in Italy where he has made a widespread debut there and is now well known throughout Paris and Italy.


Being that Balenciaga is a European Spain descent brand their unique look derived from its Spanish influences. Their usage of lace, silk, shiny materials, and textured effects compete with silhouettes, volumes, and drapes to underscore accomplished technique that give the black ensembles subtly different effects (Menkes, 2017). Then there is Cristóbal's inversion of colour – geometric lines of pattern with graphic effects or just a sweet pink bow touching black lace (Menkes, 2017). Therefore, in this era Balenciaga uses their 1900's influences from the original designs to create new views on clothing, as well as to keep its originality. The Cut New York Media Journal said “the usage of large puffs & drapes around silhouettes creates an illusion for consumers as well as an eye-catching garment. In 1997, Nicolas Ghesquière was named creative director. Under his influence, the fashion house became a bellwether in the industry, influencing trends at all levels of the market. Shining moments have included the inimitably sought-after robot leggings, the reinterpreted ikat print, the new jodhpur, equestrian helmets, outrageous experimentation with volume and proportion, a recurring fascination with science-fiction shapes and techno-fabrics, and a modern reworking of classic prints. Shoes—whether vertiginous wedges or knee-high gladiatorial flats—were highly coveted and often bondage-y tough. In addition to revitalizing the namesake collection, Ghesquière oversaw the creation of the Edition line, which features reissued couture classics, and the Capsule collection of less-expensive runway-inspired pieces, which make up the bulk of the business” (2018).  Balenciaga products originally produced and made in Italy; yet recently they have taken a turn and created their Triple S shoe in China factories.

Designer Merchandise

Rick Owens: Promotional aspects

Considering being a designer sailing the product is one of the main aspects of the field. Owens is one of many designers who does advertise his product. It is found in (Source title) that Owens once said “Advertising pulls you more deeply into the fashion system than I'm willing to go. I have enough, and my business is growing at a pace that's gradual enough to be safe, yet fast enough to be motivating. And advertising's another job, like runway shows. Once you start, you need to be ready to do it forever. That being said, though, I never thought I'd be doing runway shows” Therefore exclaiming if adding another task to his workload would be drastic when he has already did enough without promotions. So how does it work? Owens uses many external uses to promote his line such as celebrity endorsements, fashion shows, diffusion lines, books, and collaborations. Celebrity endorsements are one of the most effective ways designers aggrandize. Seeing a celebrity in one's clothing not only attract you to the celebrity yet draws attention to the designers. Rapper Future once mentioned Rick Owens in his 2017 song “Lookin Exotic”. To point out this as an attention grabber as well as Owens using supermodel Kate Moss for the cover of the American Vogue issue. Another attraction was when he featured step dancers in his 2014 season fashion show which caused the show to become more talked about and looked at to generate what is the line carrying and gratifying towards. Even though diffusion lines can be a pro or con Rick Owen less expensive lines DRKSHDW and Lilies are widely popular. Ranging toward the younger consumers for a cheaper price with the same exact taste of the Rick Owens culture. To add Adidas brand are one of the most global brands on the market today with the Adidas and Rick Owens collaboration it gained the brand more attention from outside of the America & European eye, which became broader in Asian countries.

Balenciaga. Unlike other competitors Balenciaga is not a huge advertiser when it comes to magazines, billboards, and television ads. As noticed Balenciaga spends a ton of its resources on creating promotional strategies that work. The red carpet is a huge marketing tool that Balenciaga incorporates into their promotional strategy. Not only does the company use runway shows, trunk shows, newspapers, advertorials, magazines, commercials, and social media to attract and communicate with potential or existing clients, it also hires top celebrities to promote the brand in the best light, on the red carpet. Using the red carpet gives the brand the opportunity to demonstrate its glamorous ideology to a mass audience (Lopez, 2018). As well as using celebrities as brand clients are prominent to creating advertisement for the company; while doing collaborations with designers, photographers, and retailers. Allowing these messages to get passed throughout social media bases and fashion forward watchers.

Importance of brand

Rick Owens Impact on fashion. Owens outlook on fashion is important today. The use of abstract techniques & designs is fundamental. Being that Owens incorporates architecture within each pattern differently gives a different outlook on each fabric. Giving the consumer a distinct perspective on the fabric itself with oddly pieced materials. As well as Owens bringing the grunge & glam “glunge” to this era of fashion created new beliefs for growing designers. Being that gothic looks are seemed to be contrasting he turned these investigates to the norm. The distinction of his goth look mixed with glamour makes it diverse to different social classes. Allowing posh chic costumers to buy grunge leathers and still feel glamourous. To count that Owens does not discriminate his distinction between men and women. He considers his line as well as himself as bi-sexual meaning not belonging to one sex. Allowing his male consumers to feel comfortable buying a wedged shoe and not labeled as gay or unusual. Piecing each garment as liberal to the fashion industry strict perspective or rules somewhat. Rick Owens brand itself allows consumers to feel open to interpretation of each item differently.

Balenciaga. Throughout decades Balenciaga was known to be “the reason fashion is fashion” A true fashion innovator, Cristobal Balenciaga radically altered the fashionable silhouette of women in the mid-twentieth century. With the methodical skill of an expert tailor, he created garments of fluidity and grace. Unlike many couturiers, Balenciaga was able to drape, cut, and fit his own muslin patterns, known as toiles. He was respected throughout the fashion world for both his knowledge of technique and construction, and his unflinching perfectionism (Charleston, 2004). This company created a newer outlook on the way clothes should construct to one's body. Which gave top new designers influences of patterns, colors, and ideas. Balenciaga gives consumers a new feel of bright vibrant colors with a taste of elegance. Creating a nice uplifting spirit when wearing the garments yet still conservative and grown. Which gives the elder consumer a feel of youth within their clothing.

Brand comparison

In essence, Rick Owens and Balenciaga are two dissimilar brands. Rick Owens being gothic grunge and Balenciaga bright neon's expresses different consumer approaches. Even though these brands are gradually different a comparison is present. Being that both companies use their ability in creating unique looks to satisfy each social group with the same product yet different effects. Each company generates attention through word of mouth whether than broad advertisement. Showing accountability of each product being genuine to its authenticity. As well as both creators based their company from deep rooted beliefs of inner self-actualization. Thus, causing each brand financial, social, and fundamental abundance.

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