Stella McCartney’s Falabella bags have become an iconic product despite the industry’s scepticism regarding the reduction of the use of animal-sourced materials. Its success is attributed to the fact that the accessory was issued as an opposition to the traditional view of luxurious handbags and also introducing new materials that customers have never seen before. The Falabella bag, which has a minimalistic design with a distinct chain detail running along its edge, combines the ethical outlook of the brand with a unique design that would be recognizable long-term.
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The choice to include Kate Moss as the model of the Falabella campaign was a strategic move that also made the bag appealing to a wide audience who recognizes Moss’s contribution to fashion. This created a new and appealing product that customers supported by investing in it despite the high price.
Prescriptive or Emergent Approach for Stella McCartney?
The emergent approach is a better fit for Stella McCartney as a luxury clothing and accessories brand because it allows for the development and the adjustment of the strategy in the context of real events. Predicting trends in the fashion industry is near to impossible, and with new materials coming to the market each year, Stella McCartney will benefit from the emergent approach the most. This will make the brand more responsive and agile regarding the adjustment to the demands of the clientele. The approach does not mean that the brand should change its mission; rather, it creates opportunities for growth in instances when such growth has not been predicted.
The Falabella bag is an example of how the emergent approach has already worked for Stella McCartney. Being a Kering member (former Gucci Group), McCartney had to maintain the high standards of offering luxury accessories, but doing so meant preserving its main value of sustainability. Therefore, Stella McCartney adapted to the market demand for ecologically friendly luxury bags and small leather goods by implementing an emergent approach to strategy.
Capturing Full Value
The growing selectiveness of customers and the search for distinct features in the products they purchase present massive opportunities for Stella McCartney to capture the full value it creates. The distinctiveness inherent to the brand’s European model means that the company does not adapt itself to serve the masses but rather presents itself in a way that will make the masses adapt. Loyalty and the sharing of sustainability values make the relationship between the brand and its customers stronger. In addition to this, the marketing campaigns have never been focused solely on the message of sustainability – in order to grow and expand as a fashion brand, Stella McCartney needed to capture an audience that will value its products both from the perspective of design and ethicality.
Motivation and Hindrance of Brand Collaboration
The key motivation behind the collaboration of fashion firms is getting exposure that is hard to achieve on one’s own. In the example of H&M collaborating with Stella McCartney, the affordability of the former with the prestige of the latter created an “explosion of craziness”: customers were grabbing products off the shelf, making stores sell out in half an hour (Anat & Crener 2016, p. 9). Thus, if firms are motivated by bringing something new and exciting to the market, then the collaboration is highly likely to be successful.
The main hindrance to collaboration between fashion companies is associated with the lack of substance in the ideas behind the partnership. For example, despite the hype surrounding Beyoncé’s line with H&M, the collaboration failed (Choy 2013). It lacked attention to detail and did not capture the essence of H&M as an accessible fashion retailer and Beyoncé’s aesthetic.
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Goals of Diversified Stella McCartney
When creating brand extensions and diversifying its business, Stella McCartney has the goal of capturing a wide clientele. This is possible by following a distinct set of characteristics inherent to luxury brands: consistently high-quality materials, craftsmanship, recognizable design and style, global brand reputation, exclusivity, and innovation (Anat & Crener 2016). What makes Stella McCartney unique in its diversification is the transfer of sustainability values to other aspects of the business.
In skincare and perfumery (Stella and Care), only organic, high-quality ingredients were used. In collaboration with Adidas, Stella McCartney wanted to bring women sportswear to a higher level. In bringing out female lingerie and a children’s collection, the brand used the best materials sourced organically. Thus, widening the target audience without compromising on the quality and design is the key objective of diversified Stella McCartney.
Creating and Destroying Value Through Diversification
For any business, including fashion design and production, diversification can result in both value-creation and value distraction. According to the study conducted by Galvan, Pindado, and De La Torre (2014), there is a direct connection between relatedness and the creation of value for a business. Related diversification has shown to positively impact the creation of value. This type of diversification implies the expansion of operations beyond existing products but still within the existing network of values. For instance, Stella McCartney diversified into skincare and preserved the value of the sustainable sourcing of ingredients, the same way in which clothing and accessories had been produced.
Unrelated diversification means that a business adds new product lines that do not align with the existing values of a business. For example, if Stella McCartney collaborated with an auto manufacturer in the same way that Gucci and Fiat worked together, then it would essentially betray its vision of sustainability. This means that the value that the brand usually offers to its customers will be destroyed, leading to the lack of consistency in corporate image and mission.
Related Diversification in Fashion Business
Related diversification in the fashion business is an opportunity for brands to create newness in an ever-changing environment. Companies do not have to go outside of their value systems while still trying to create something new. Examples of related diversification are vast, with the majority of fashion brands engaging in the strategy to at least some degree. For instance, Urban Outfitters, which has initially specialized in clothing and accessories, has gotten immense attention from customers with the help of the Music+Tech line of products.
Madewell, specializing in denim and casual clothing, diversified its selection of products through collaborating with Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand), P.F. Candle Co, ABC Carpet, and other lifestyle brands within the Everyday Denim Cover campaign. As seen from these examples and the extension of Stella McCartney’s brand to include perfumes, skincare, children’s clothing, and women’s sportswear, related diversification can serve as a tool for adding value to fashion brands that seek to widen their target audience.
Anat, K & Crener, S 2016, Stella McCartney. Web.
Choy, J 2013, ‘Best and the worst celebrity fashion collaborations: Beyoncé, Lindsay Lohan and more’, Huffington Post. Web.
Galvan, A, Pindado, J & De La Torre C 2014, ‘Diversification: a value-creating or value-destroying strategy? Evidence from the Euro-zone countries’, Journal of Financial Management, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 43-64.