Love Denim Case Study - How to create a brand on a budget one stitch at a time
Stunn have been working with Love Denim since the new UK denim brand was first talked about between the owners, agents and our MD Karl. We’ve worked with the owners previously on a number of fashion and music based projects and here was an opportunity to work on something from the very beginnings of product development, right through brand, creative, policy, and then to create the photographic, digital and graphical outputs to support the conceptual spirit of the product.
We’ve been tasked with consulting and collaborating on tone of voice, price points, retail exposure, identity, press strategy and brand. We’ve created the corporate identity, visual language, labeling and on garment graphics for teeshirts and sweats. We’ve also helped create the web site, enabling Love Denim to be sold on line quickly and cost effectively in a way that hasn’t impacted on product development.
The stakeholders wanted to create an artisan denim brand - utilising fine tailoring techniques in every day street wear. Every stitch and rivet of both the core denim product and the brand carriers such as sweats and tees have been poured over to ensure no “loose ends” from a product development perspective. Stunn and the owners followed the mantra that “you are only as strong as your weakest link”, and so began the process of creating pre-production samples and documenting what was most important to the product through this first stage of the creative process. Taped and over locked seams, engineered patterns, superior grade selvedge denim - or put simply; fantastic tailoring with superior fabrics.
So with an arm full of pre-production samples, we headed to London to shoot an editorial for a biannual fashion magazine. Karl & the editor in chief worked to identify an ideal model for the project in Michael Roberts @ M&P and scouted locations across London, before deciding on the busy urban setting of Brick Lane. The editorial gave us a chance to see how stylists, fashion people, enthusiasts, models and agencies reacted to the product and gave us the chance to work with the clothing in a live environment - seeing it on bodies and on the street gives a completely different perspective on the product than sitting in a bubble in the studio with a fitting model and some studio lighting.
Happy that the product was working in principle, and armed with a fantastic pre-production image bank, the agent was able to begin approaching retailers; Stunn and the design team at Love could then focus on brand message, identity and the ‘brand carriers’.
A decision was made that this should be a UK product. All product is designed in England, made in England and as far as possible made using British fabrics. Rivets, buttons, tee shirt and sweat fabric are all made and woven in the UK. This did create a dilemma for the brand. Had we worked with factories in Turkey / Portugal or the far east, we’d have made retail price points far lower than we have done.. But of course then there’s a question of value - Did we want the brand to be seen as “High Street” and consequently have a young consumer brand shelf life? We’ve seen the pitfalls of this approach time and time again. Love are keen that this is a product for a discerning customer and for the long term. The pitch and price points were set accordingly to make the brand accessible and affordable, but not disposable. The factories and designers have worked hard to make the retail price points make sense and our focus turned to the corporate identity.
Alongside the retail product, the brand is also producing made to measure studio pieces. Each studio piece features hand written messages for the designers and makers who have worked on the particular piece. Consequently, we wanted a hand written, soft and “out of the way” feel to the type.. supported by strong colour to identify the pieces “at a glance”. A striking canary yellow was selected for rivet, button detail and labeling and the logotype was set. The logo design featured a free to distribute font, albeit adapted, allowing us to use it as text rather than graphic for digital projects further down the line.
From the development of the logo, we worked up some sample type, early edition look books and some tee and sweat graphics to complete the building blocks of the brand tool kit - a set of (flexible at this stage) rules from which to start creating visual and product that made sense from one product to the next. We then moved on to mood boarding and concept gathering for the web site and also the tone of voice for copy and photographic visual. Budgets, as with most new product launches are tight. We opted to focus on hammering home the visual message and using simple web and print frameworks to carry them. Some compromises had to be made; we couldn’t as easily reinvent a brand as we could update a web site post launch. We opted to use shopify to get the brand started with its web presence.. It’s a simple and effective way to “toe dip” e-commerce and still allow some head room for a brand to breathe visually that can be properly set up and optimized in a mater of days.
We are receiving new product on a near daily basis as the retail offering expands. Consequently, we’re in the studio weekly photographing new product for the web site. We’ve used our own photographic studio as the natural features of the building, such as the 150 year old oak floor lend themselves perfectly to the product shots - helping to set the mood that we carry through the editorial / campaign photography we’re currently developing for the brand.
Our current home page slider shows where the brand has got to as of Sunday 21st October 2012. We shot some editorial looks for magazine submission and portfolio development on Columbia Road, E2 over the weekend. Friend of Karl, Caleb @ D1 volunteered his services along with friend of the designer, Scott to enable us to create a visual representation of the brand that put it in context and elevated the retail pieces from flat shots and concepts to product that a consumer could visualize wearing. We’ve been working on the project for approximately 9 months and are pleased to say that Love has excellent repeating order boutique retail exposure right across the UK, online exposure in 4 outlets and is in advanced negotiations with some of the largest online fashion retailers. The product and brand concepts continue to develop; we’re now working on showing for fashion weeks in London & New York, while supporting the spring summer 2013 range through buying season.
Web sites http://www.love-denim.co.uk, http://www.mandpmodels.com, http://www.royaloaklondon.com, http://www.d1models.com