5 Awesome Things You’ll Learn From The Greatest Tennis Brands

Hey Fashion Designers,

Wimbledon has started for a week, and I thought it would be a nice occasion to share 5 success factors that you can learn from the greatest brands that dress the players on the tennis courts during the last decades. Fred Perry and Lacoste were both created around the tennis world and amazed millions of raving fans worldwide.

If you’re just launching your own brand or growing in existing one, there are still very helpful insights you can take away from successful tennis brands. Here they are!

#1 – Brand your passion

This is something I personally feel very strong about. Because all of the brands I’ve seen succeed had it as a non-negotiable criteria.

When you decide to start a fashion brand, choose a style that you are absolutely passionate about. Don’t go for a style just because you think there’s a gap on the market and you think it will work. (Honestly never do this, it’s sooooo dull! It’s fashion, you need to make people feel strong emotions to sell.)

olly murs lol GIF by RCA Records UK

So I’d suggest you to pick something around a passion you already have and design a lifestyle around it.

Both tennis brands Fred Perry and René Lacoste Were tennis champions. They built an entire lifestyle brand based on their life passion.

#2 – Make it mean something

Your fashion brand needs to be associated with a certain ideal that you need to define.

For example both Fred Perry and René Lacoste were tennis champions themselves. So the brands are associated to a winning mindset to start with. Then each brand added a little extra derived from both tennis champions’ personality. René Lacoste’s easy chic and Fred Perry’s rebellious mind.

#3 – Use strong symbols of your lifestyle

When you pick a logo or even a name for your brand, it shouldn’t be done randomly. Pick a symbol that your fans will immediately associate with the lifestyle you want to represent.

For example Fred Perry, as the Wimbledon champion chose the laurel wreath inspired by the Wimbledon symbol as a logo for his fashion label. It’s a straight forward association to the tennis world and to victory. It’s simple and it’s powerful.

happy serena williams GIF by Wimbledon

#4 – Win your tribe over by embracing fashion and functionality

In order to win over your tribe, your fashion label needs to be 100% in line with your lifestyle. Your brand should be totally adapted to live the lifestyle that you want to represent.

For example, before René Lacoste invented his Signature polo shirts, people used to play tennis and longsleeved shirts.

Related image

René Lacoste completely changed the game. Inspired by a friend of his, he invented a new revolutionary shirt cut in an innovative piqué cotton that looked elegant and felt comfortable when playing at the same time.

#5 – Market your brand with memorable anecdotes

People love hearing stories. It makes them dream and travel in their mind.

As a fashion brand you need to collect anecdotes to tell. Stories can come from anywhere: your own life or even the stories your customers share about your product.

For example, the Lacoste logo comes from the founder’s nickname. An American journalist called René Lacoste “The Alligator” in reference to a bet between the tennis player and his coach over a crocodile suitcase. The alligator became his logo.

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BRANDING: 6 Common Mistakes Designers Do When Defining Their Fashion Brand DNA

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Hello guys,

Fashion brand DNA: what makes a brand unique.
I’ve had some quite passionate discussions with some of you about the DNA of your fashion brand. Lots of the designers I exchange with now start understanding that this industry is not only about designing good looking pieces. Now you are more and more aware that the fashion brand DNA is a vital foundation of your business and that it is the number one thing you should start working on when you launch a fashion brand.
So some of you sent me their fashion brand DNA descriptions. Since I have been so swamped lately, I was not able to deliver you an individual feedback. So I did this live video yesterday with the common mistakes you guys do when defining your fashion brand DNA.
Historically the fashion brand DNA is not the core thing that I am known for in this business. What I am really known for is writing business plans for fashion businesses. After having drafted some fashion business plans for emerging brands, I have written a book about exactly that: Fashion business plans.  I also teach fashion business planning at the ESMOD Paris fashion school.
However the reason why fashion brand DNA came up so frequently in the fashion FXF blog posts, our live videos and so on, is because I found out that it is the key ingredient of your success, even to get funding. And lots of fashion brands fail because they have not sufficiently worked on that part. In the framework of my work with fashion brands, I had opportunities to exchange with different actors of the fashion industry: fashion press experts, fashion buyers, fashion event managers and I found out that what actually made a fashion business interesting for all those people, even what made a fashion brand interesting to fund, was the impact that it delivered. Because impact means sales which increases your chances to make more profits. And the brands that delivered the strongest impact were those with a very well defined brand DNA. Maybe you have seen our last live when we talked about using Instagram to get featured in the fashion press: Sara who shared her expertise started her work by defining the brand DNA.

So starting from there and observing the successful brands, I came up with a method to generate a cohesive brand DNA for a fashion business. It is all in the book I wrote. And the good thing is that after discussions we had on that subject, you guys start giving it a thought from the beginning. I know it can be a tough exercise for many of you.
So here are the common mistakes designers do when describing their fashion brand DNA.

Mistake # 1: No Fashion Brand DNA

Not having a fashion brand DNA is a big mistake. I know a designer who had great intuition. He was doing high end street wear. He designed amazing pieces, he had lots of talent. He had a real gift in crafting a nice shape for women’s body. But he never took the time to do any introspection and understand what made his work so unique. Plus he had lots of imagination so his designs went all over the place. And he lost himself. And since he never took the time to understand what his signature was, the sales decreased, the success vanished.
why me crying GIF by Team Coco
So to avoid having that kind of one time success that you did not do intentionally, work on your DNA first.

Do things on purpose.

Mistake # 2: Defining a fashion brand DNA for the sake of defining one

It shows immediately: you see sentences that are there for no reason. This is not an exercise where you have to fill in the blanks. You are not telling a story just to tell a story. It has to really mean something and be perceptible for your audience.
For example I saw on one designer who wrote that “she did a cruise in the Caribbean island for some time”. Then I checked the designs and I did not see the Caribbean influence at all. Why do you put that there if there is no link with your design? If you add a sentence into your brand DNA, make it really mean something. What you say should really mean something to the aesthetic of your band and what you say in your fashion brand DNA should systematically be visible on your designs. If you say it is a conservative design with a discrete crazy twist, then each time you create something a bag, a scarf, a hat, trousers, antyhing, you should design something conservative and add that little crazy touch you talked about.
Your fashion DNA description is the promise that you deliver to your customer.
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Mistake #3: Lack of personality

Some designers used generic words such as chic, elegant. I tend to grow allergic to those terms…
bored anna wintour GIF
You have to go the extra mile and spice up the words you are using.
Add some personality to it. Is it “Bon chic bon genre?” is it daring? Is it conservative? Is it audacious? is it whimsical? Dig deep into yourself and make it sound exciting.
It is FASHION, you are here to dazzle and wow your audience.

And the way to do that is to do as if the brand was a person, with its personality traits, the little details and the flaw that makes its charming. Give some depth to your DNA.
Some designers are not inspired and have difficulties describing who they are. In the fashion business plan book, you have a workbook with all kinds of adjectives that you can use to qualify your brand. We use it in our individual workshops as well and the designers I worked with love it in the end because they can really see if they resonate with that.

Mistake #4: A gap between what you say you are, the design you show and your visuals

I guess some designers always dreamt of a certain image and once they start their own brand, they used the words they were dreaming to become one day.
For example, I had a streetwear brand calling its pieces timeless…
fresh prince GIF by mtv

This does not go together! Timeless is a classic design. So it should not be used just because you like the sound of it.
One other mistake I saw is the use of symbols in the logo that had absolutely nothing to do with anything. The brand was selling women’s workwear made of wax fabric but there was an odd shoe in their logo. And they did not even sell any shoes! So why would you use shoes in a logo if your brand is not about shoes?
Another one gap I saw: one designer wrote he was selling luxury design. But the site did not deliver the luxury effect and the logo was not luxury at all. The font was very weird, in a weird blue color. Ideally the graphic design and the visuals should be done with professionals. But in doubt, use a very sleek font, a variation of Helvetica or Lato. But do not use complicated handwritten fonts for your logo.

Mistake #5: too technical descriptions

I see lots of sustainable businesses that do that mistake. They get too caught up in the technical details of what they do. They strongly believe in what they do, which is okay but they totally forget to make their customers dream.
A fashion piece should ALWAYS be desirable. Do not forget: your customers will buy from you firstly because they think the designs look good and your pieces make them feel something special. Of course, your beliefs and the ideas you defend are important. But saying that you are an activist against animal testing or waste should not make you forget about the style.

Style and personality should always come first.

Mistake #6: lack of cohesion

Sometimes designers put too many different adjectives together. As a result, the brand DNA description becomes incoherent and cofusing. Sometimes they are afraid to miss out on sales and they try to target everyone. So the fashion brand DNA becomes this mix of words that do not match.
But who are you? and what is your brand about?
confused jamie foxx GIF by Beat Shazam
In my fashion brand DNA workshop, I help designers generate a cohesive image. Since some designers do not necessarily have the words to express who they are, I offer individual workshops in which we go through styles but also a huge list of words that describe a personality. And they pick three of them that they feel most correspond to them. And during this exercise, it is sometimes difficult to get designers to focus because some of them want to talk to everyone.

One designer picked exuberant and sleek in the same brand DNA description. It does not go together. Is it exuberant or is it sleek?
Pick one. And preferably the one that corresponds to your design.


Interested in seriously working on your fashion brand DNA? 

Here is the tool you need to get for yourself. The fashion business plan starts with a workbook on the brand DNA and explains how the DNA can build up to a tailored strategy for your fashion business.

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The Fashion Business plan - Fashion FXF - Fashion cross functional


BRANDING: How Strong Is Your Fashion Brand DNA?

Hi Guys,
we have been posting and talking a lot about fashion brand DNA these last weeks: why it is essential for your fashion business, how to use it to adjust you business strategy. 
We also shared six untold steps to help you create your fashion brand DNA from scratch!
So now it is time to see what you have learned.

Click the button below to test the power of your brand
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You do not understand your result? Drop us an e-mail with the answers you gave and we will discuss.


Did you like this quiz?

 Find out how you can get a better score. Get your copy of our free guide with the 5 steps to go through to create your fashion brand. It also includes a checklist to guide you through your fashion brand DNA definition.

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BRANDING – How To Create A Fashion Brand: 6 Untold Steps To Start From Scratch

Hi guys,

I have a confession to make: a few years ago, I thought of launching a fashion brand myself.  So I started to look for information. I read books and books.  I attended a few classes given by fashion consultants.  I subscribed to tons of blogs.  But none of the information out there was good enough.  It was either too theoretical, too specific, too general, or too basic.  I felt so frustrated.  None of the books and blogs out there was able to tell me exactly how to create a fashion brand and what concretely to start with.
What is step one? The collection? The website? A Facebook account? The prototype? Company registration?  I had to put all the puzzle pieces together to understand what to begin with.
So here is what I learned out of this.  Before designing your collection, before prototyping, there’s one thing you absolutely need to do.
Have you ever tried to compare a failed beginner fashion brand to a successful one? It is an interesting exercise to do.

The successful brand conveys a certain feeling.  It has beautiful pictures.  The colors are harmonious.  The tone used in their posts fits perfectly with the pictures.
Bus back ground (1)
On the opposite, you certainly have seen one of those less successful awkward looking beginner brands (.  The pictures are blur.  The photo backgrounds are sometimes cluttered and busy. On one brand’s website, I could even see a funny person waving behind the garment.  The so called fashion piece is not ironed properly.  They use the word chic in their communication and yet it screams that the people who designed this never ever set foot in anything chic.  Do you see what I mean?
Bus back ground
The reason why the successful brand is able to convey a certain feeling is because they threw a brand concept before anything else. In order to avoid condemning your brand to a big fail, you absolutely need to start with one thing:


Branding DNA defines the personality of your brand, what makes it truly unique. It can be built in six main steps that we are going to break down hereafter.  If you follow those steps, you can avoid shooting yourself in the foot and launch your brand the smart way.

#1 – Have an undeniably strong physical signature

Your logo.  Does it tell your brand story?  Does your font in your logo correspond to the feeling you want to share?
Which colors represent you?  Do they fit with one another?
Is there a symbol that you constantly use as a general thread?  Does this symbol mean anything vital to your brand?
What about the shape and cut of your products?  You should make sure your silhouettes remain cohesive as a whole.

For the use of which fabrics or seam will you be famous for?  Is there any specific treatment that you submit your fabric to?  I once worked with a designer who buried the fabric before using it.  This became her signature. Maybe you have something similar to say? It is okay not to but if you want to stay classic, then go 100%.
Find an answer to all those questions.
And learn from the best: see what Chanel did with their visual identity.

#2 – Flaunt a strong brand personality

If your fashion brand was a person, how would you describe it?

#3 – Refer to an easily recognizable cultural background

College?  Manhattan NYC?  California beach lifestyle?  Classic British?  Marais district in Paris? Hippie?
Make it fit with the previous elements and have the brand cultural background show in your photographs.

#4 – How should the customer feel when wearing your brand?

Empowered.  Confident.  Comforted.  Happy.  Audacious.  Free. Melancholic.
Find that feeling and suggest it in your communication.

#5 – Give an obvious impression

Which impression should a customer wearing your brand leave on other people?
Of course, always be careful to remain congruent in your approach.
If you want to make an impression of high sophistication and trend awareness, make sure that the physical elements of your fashion brand are chosen this way. In this case for instance, avoid cheap looking fabric and go for cuts and shapes that say trendy. You cannot just name the word “chic” (or “mode” in the case of the picture below) and expect it will cover the visual mismatches.
Cohesion is everything.

#6 – Find your own voice to interact with your audience

You will need to find the voice to speak to your customers. Set an easily recognizable tone that defines you, to communicate with them.
This is where you can beat the big fashion corporates: be yourself.
As previously stated, the tone should be in line with the other brand DNA elements. For example, if you set your décor in the French high society, make sure not to use slang. On the contrary, if you go for a street style brand from a popular neighborhood, try not to sound stuck up.
In some cases, you can mix two opposite cultures together but it should be part of your fashion statement from the start. For example, artists such as Pharrell Williams made a strong fashion statement mixing street styled garments with dandyesque felt hats and extremely well-tailored jackets.

#7 – Make it all work perfectly well together

Résultat de recherche d'images pour

In my opinion, this is the most important piece of advice I can give you once you end  this exercise.
Be cohesive. For the sake of this exercise as well as in the long term.

#8 – Zero concession on the quality of visuals and photos

Your general impression needs to be generated by choice, not by accident.
So if you start in the fashion industry, even as a small brand, you need to raise your level of expectation (as we explained in a previous article). Since looks are (almost) everything in fashion, it does have to look stunning.
Always have strong well-made visuals that respect the 6 branding elements listed above. Nice free tools such as Canva.com offer very good quality for example if you cannot afford Photoshop.

Also work with a good photographer who is able to translate the emotion you aim at in pictures.
I know it comes at a certain cost, unless you have a nice well-intentioned friend who gets what you are into. However I assure you: this is not the area where you can afford lowering your standards.
Some of the brands I work with were dead broke but they always found a way to have amazing looking pictures and visuals.
So you have absolutely no excuse with that one. Seriously!


Did you find this article interesting?

 Find more in our free guide with the 5 steps to go through to create your fashion brand. It also includes a checklist to guide you through your fashion brand DNA definition.

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