How At Nearly 100 Years Old Fendi Became Cool Again

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Believe it or not Fendi first started in 1925, launched by Italian couple Adele and Eduardo Fendi. A little bit of quick maths and turns out the now incredibly popular luxury brand isn’t far off its centennial.

The brand began as a single store in Rome with a primary focus on running a family business that centred around fashion. It was in fact the charismatic daughters of the founders (Carla, Paola, Anna, Franca and Alda) who then took the business and transformed its status from a single store in Rome into that of a globally recognised, luxury brand.

Photo Credit: @aylin_koenig

These days Silvia Venturini Fendi, creative director of accessories and menswear, is the only family member that remains so heavily involved in the Italian company her grandparents founded all those years ago. Despite this, along with the fact that the company was acquired by french luxury conglomerate LVMH in 2001, the brand’s focus on family still remains firmly at the forefront. This is a core value they’ve called upon repeatedly over the years and highlighted within their latest campaign promoting the recently revived Peekaboo bag, ten years after its original release. The campaign focuses on famous mothers, daughters and sisters to demonstrate the cross-generational appeal of the product. In an interview with InStyle Fendi explained, “It’s the kind of bag that doesn’t go with just the coolness of the moment. You can pass it on to your daughters. I find that mine steal everything from my closet anyway.”

Celebrity families including Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian-West and North West along with Clara and Esther McGregor, daughters of Ewan McGregor were among those featured in the campaign.

In speaking about the resurgence of popularity for the brand, Fendi referenced the importance of heritage as opposed to the matter of age. The FF Reloaded capsule was created to appeal to a younger, social media savvy generation. The collection heavily features a graphic designed by Karl Lagrfeld in the 1960s that’s now seen a revival on the Instagram profiles of celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Rita Ora and both Kim and Kourtney Kardashian. Fendi explained to InStyle that there was huge demand for the logo to return. “Young kids were wearing the vintage logo, so I said maybe it’s time to do it again in a different way for today.”

When asked where she thinks the popularity of the famed logo comes from, Fendi’s answer brought it back to the importance of family for the brand. “It’s something that represents a family story, like a crest.”

Photo Credit: @nathalieschuterman.se

As part of an overarching strategy for the business, CEO and Chairman of the Italian label, Serge Brunschwig, told WWD of plans to push for less conventional approaches within the business, “mixing yesterday and tomorrow, tradition and entertainment,” a strategy the brand has clearly taken in its stride when it comes to recent collection and product launches. The launch of the FF Reloaded capsule collection in London reportedly took on a more rave-like approach with decor supplied by secret graffiti artists and a guest list including Drake, Diplo and Kim Jones. A recent launch in Shanghai wasn’t much different, taking place in an exclusive underground nightclub.

According to Lyst’s quarterly  ‘Hottest Brand Index’, where in the Q2 report Fendi jumped from 17th to 8th place on the list, Fendi are really seeing the benefits of being championed by an A-list of powerful celebrities and influencers, “captivating a new generation of millennial fans.”

Furthermore the report explains, “Tapping into the logomania craze, Fendi has reinvented its FF ‘Zucca’ monogram for the Instagram generation who are shopping both pre-owned and new designs.”

They’ve successful channelled the power of influencers through social media, street style and advertising campaigns and between holding title as North West’s first high fashion campaign and Kylie Jenner matching her head-to-toe Fendi look with a pram for baby daughter Stormi, the resurgence of consumers for the brand is hardly surprising.

Recent figures and reports have shown that clearly consumers are being influenced by what they see on social media – primarily Instagram – and brands are listening and responding to this behaviour as supported not only by Fendi’s resurgence to ‘cool’ status but by the revival of Dior’s ‘Saddle’ bag 19 years after the original was made and the Prada 90s nylon bag that’s experienced increased demand following the bag being spotted on the arm of several influencers.

In the wise words of Fendi, “I think the secret is to not try to be modern. When you try too hard, it becomes an obsession and people can feel it. The moment you want to be cool is when you end up doing what’s already there.”

At this point it’s a Fendi monogram world and we’re all just living it.

Niamh Crawford-Walker

Niamh is a freelance writer covering fashion, beauty and lifestyle articles. Her work has appeared in IMAGE magazine, image.ie and Emirates Woman. Niamh is also a blogger at niamhserena.co.uk and podcast host of Werkin’ On It.

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