The Vogue Festival – The Secrets of Creating a British Brand

What are the secrets of creating a British Brand? Jonathan Akeroyd, CEO of Alexander McQueen, Anya Hindmarch, Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon and Christopher Kane joined in the search for the secrets of creating a British Brand. But an underlying question was raised and never really answered: Is a British Brand still British when all production is overseas?

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The panel started with much potential and a memorable goal of trying to uncover what ingredients make a British brand truly British. But sadly, the hoped for revelation did not occur; the secrets of creating a British Brand turned out to be rather universal and less geographically specific. The panel essentially condensed the ingredients down to integrity, having a point of view, staying true to yourself and understanding the relationship between creativity and business; aspects that are important in any business, anywhere in the world. So, let’s pick them apart…

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No business can function for long-term without integrity. It is one of the first things you learn in business or strategic management. Integrity is the cornerstone of anything you do in live. If you don’t have integrity you have nothing. Having a point of view and staying true to yourself, was another very important aspect but also not really a tectonic-shift much less geographically specific. Paul Smith had stated the day before that you need to have a point of view, “the world doesn’t need more designers” its needs a unique perspective. Once again, the idea of understanding the relationship between creativity and business is nothing that is regionally specific. Everybody knows that purely creative companies do not survive if they don’t satisfy the consumer’s demands.

Kane attributed the impotence of talent form the countries art schools as part of the creation of a truly British brand, while Hindmarch and Ackeroyd focused on the “real DNA” of a company. All of these aspects are once again very important in creating a brand but they are not unique to Britain. Sure, Central Saint Martins created the genius that was McQueen but also the genius that was/is Galliano. French company Dior took financial leaps under Galliano’s leadership.

I don’t know why, but I was somewhat disappointed at the outcome. Nothing of the so-called “secrets” were really secrets, much less secrets specific to creating a British Brand. The Q&A turned out to be the dimly lit light at the end of the darkly lit tunnel. One of the audience members raised the very important question “Is a brand still British when its clothes are not produced in Britain? And is a Brand still British when it is owned by a foreign conglomerate like LVMH or Kerring?” The panel answered yes to both question and back their decision with valid reason such as the lack of manufacturing history in Britain or the lack of conglomerates. But if design or a name is everything that makes a company truly regional why are brands like Hermes vehement about producing many of their products in France?

Drop your thoughts below!

Take a look by Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman introduction:

Images curtsey of Vogue.com, and Christian S. 

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