Guess Inc. on Asia, storytelling and fabric innovation

At Shanghai’s Innersect convention, WGSN sat down with Nicolai Marciano, Director of Brand Partnerships at Guess Inc. and Guess Jeans to chat about inspirations from Asia, target markets for growth, the Chinese denim consumer and fabric innovation in product.


What countries in Asia will be a source of inspiration for Guess in 2019?

It’s different with everything we work on. Japan is probably my favorite place to visit. There is always a lot of inspiration from there. Especially with Guess, we have a big history with denim and Japan obviously has some of the best indigo denim mills in the world. So that’s one.

And then, you know it depends on who we work with. We have a big partnership with 88 Rising, so with them we have a lot of Chinese elements that go into the design and clothing and the content we make. It depends what we are working on and we base it off that.


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@HigherBrothers wearing @PlacesplusFaces x #GUESSJeans launching in Shanghai, China @innersect_official Dec 7-9th.

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And which ones will be key target markets for growth?

We have a really global approach, and try to do as many cities as we can. For example the Places + Faces collaboration we did LA, we’re also doing in Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Melbourne, Sydney and London – and maybe another city. We’re hitting almost all of the continents.

We try to focus on where we have a good following and are also trying to expand the conversation into new markets with whoever we are working with.

In 2019 we’re going to have a lot going on in Asia, especially with 88 Rising. We have done a big partnerships with Generations in Japan, which is a J-pop group. So, there’s a lot – we’re everywhere.

What market opportunities do you feel Chinese consumers hold as denim consumers?

Going back to the origins of Guess Jeans USA is always interesting. We pretty much introduced stonewashed denim into the mainstream. It was happening on a small scale in Italy, and we introduced it in Los Angeles and, in turn, introduced stonewash on a global scale. It’s now the standard way of making jeans.

We’ve only been in China for about 12 years, so none of the younger generations’ parents grew up with Guess. So, they don’t have the same affinity or understanding of the brand. I see that as an opportunity to storytell with Guess Jeans USA to these different markets. Talking about why we are here because, if not, we’re seen as oh there’s Calvin [Klein], Tommy [Hilfiger], and Guess. So definitely trying to educate the market about the history of the brand and why we’re here today and who we are.

Could you tell us a bit about the fabric used in the Places + Faces collaboration that is being sold at Innersect? 

We always create our own custom-made fabric. Reflective is a big element of Places + Faces. It’s all based around film photography, so that’s always been a big part of their brand. When Ciesay and Soulz came to Guess and we began to discuss it, we wanted to find some really creative solutions – synergy between their brand and ours – so we sat down with the R&D department and we started working on some ideas. The outcome is our striped shirts and the denim, we created both have reflective yarn weaved into the shirt, it’s not printed.

We actually have a patent pending on it. Just another example of how we like to keep pushing the envelope in terms of product innovation. From the 80s with stonewash, to doing these kinds of things today.

All the labels, print, everything has reflective one way or another. It makes it fun for the customer and Instagram, WeChat or Weibo-friendly, too.


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