Vlisco - design management europe award

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Vlisco - design management europe award
D utch desig n beco mes l u x u ry fa s hi o n i n A f r i c a
The Vlisco world
Africans have a sharp and finely tuned eye for colour and detail. They are highly expressive and exceptionally
creative people, who are proud of their culture and of who they are. What they wear reflects that.
For the last 160 years, Vlisco has created highly desirable textiles that have become part of the vibrant culture of
West and Central Africa. Vlisco Wax Hollandais has become a phenomenon in its own right. The imported
product designs have consistently surprised and inspired their passionate and critical audience through generations. They feature craftsmanship second to none, both in look and in quality. From the very beginning, Vlisco
has created exciting and expressive textiles, which never use ‘cliché African’ imagery.
Vlisco conducts the majority of her business in West and Central Africa. In spite of the fact that Vlisco focuses
primarily on this part of Africa, African consumers live around the world and Vlisco also plays a significant role on
other continents. Europe is an important market region, particularly cities like Brussels, Paris and London. Vlisco
is also sold in North America, chiefly in cities like Washington and New York, where many Africans reside.
All Vlisco products are designed and created in Helmond, where approximately 500 employees work with great
passion to give the Vlisco brand the imagination, elegance, class and quality she stands for. Every year, millions
of yards leave Helmond making their way into the market. Each pattern is given its unique product code, but
passionate consumers in the market often give designs a name, which gives that particular pattern its permanent
place in the ‘Vlisco Story’.
Strategy change
The enormous increase in Vlisco design imitations, the offer of low-end printed fabrics and the changing
consumer behaviour has necessitated a change in strategy in 2006 which has been implemented since mid 2007.
The mission of Vlisco is to be a high-value fashion brand for the African woman. Wearing Vlisco makes you feel
beautiful and stimulates and confirms your self-esteem.
Brand Values of Vlisco have been defined as: Imagination, Elegance, Class and Quality (of the total brand
experience).
Some important aspects of the Vlisco strategy are:
• Developing fashion-influenced designs with the unique Vlisco signature
More than ever, design plays a central role in the strategy of Vlisco. It forms the basis of the fabric collections, the clothing, shoes and accessories collections, and the brand communications. For all processes within the organisation, design forms the starting point.
• Launch of collections
A quarterly based collection approach has been introduced, making the lead time for competitors to copy much more difficult. This has resulted in a sharper Vlisco company culture, as well as increased consumer
interest, upping the buzz around the brand. The collections are launched around pre-determined themes.
Inspiration for these themes is drawn from the latest international fashion – and other trends, which are then translated into a unique Vlisco design.
• Introducing a total offer in Vlisco Boutiques
The opening of Vlisco Boutiques offers consumers the possibility to optimally ‘experience’ the Vlisco brand. This enables Vlisco to offer a complete fashion & beauty concept for women. Linked with the launch of the fabric collection, a collection of Vlisco Fashion (ready-to-wear clothing), handbags, shoes, fashion accessories and bijoux is launched in the Vlisco Boutiques. Currently, there are three Vlisco Boutiques in Cotonou (Benin), Lomé (Togo) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast). The fourth one will open soon in Kinshasa (Congo).
• More focus on brand communications
Creating desire and being highly aspirational is essential for a real fashion brand. Therefore, Vlisco develops image campaigns that are visible in various international and (pan-) African media. The image campaigns are linked with the collection launches when it comes to the theme and the timing. At the moment of launch,
Vlisco lets the collection designs come to live in her advertising campaigns. Vlisco aims at the African woman who is between 25 and 45 years of age, high/upper middle social class, well educated and developed, who is fashion-oriented.
• More focus on consumer brand innovation
A dedicated department within Vlisco initiates market researches on a regular basis. Vlisco definitely wants to be leading and move the brand forward; the researches enable her to still stay connected with developments in consumer behaviour. Innovation is of major importance; not only when it comes to product innovation, but also in design, in communications, store concepts and ways of presenting Vlisco collections to the audience.
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From a design – and/or educational point of view, Vlisco looks for interesting partnerships around the world.
VERITABLE HOLLANDAIS SINCE 1846
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Lately for example, Vlisco had a partnership with Arnhem Mode Biënnale. In Nigeria, Vlisco organizes the
VERITABLE HOLLANDAIS SINCE 1846
‘Vlisco Academy’; an educational program for stylists and upcoming designers.
THE RESULT
Since the implementation of this strategy, Vlisco has shown a steady growth both in turnover as well as in profit.
Consumers as well as traders are looking forward to new launches with great excitement. Continuous updates
in design and collections stimulate the creative force of the consumer. Research among the target consumers
shows a growing brand awareness, a clear recognition of the Brand Values and a strong appreciation for the
designs and images Vlisco communicates. There is a lot of buzz around the brand; many magazines write about
Vlisco, designers contact us from all around the world with an interest to co-operate.
Vlisco is, and will remain, an expressive and vibrant part of West and Central African culture. She will increase
her visibility by becoming more fashion-focused, without damaging the image as the premium maker of quality
textiles. As the market leader Vlisco stands out on her own. She has to rely on herself to find new ways forward.
With the depth of knowledge, the breadth of experience and the wealth of creativity, the Vlisco company and its
people tirelessly strive to create new opportunities and challenges, to remain the pioneer brand.
Vlisco. The true Original. From Holland.