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Freaky Friday – 5 Fashion brands and licensing stories we never knew about

There’s more to fashion than celebrity trends, runway shows and new season collections. Each famous fashion brand like Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Vera Wang, and many more have become huge names in the fashion world with licensing as their base.



Fashion licensing is something which is gradually coming up as a concept in India and is at a nascent
stage. Today we find Bollywood celebs getting into the fashion world by associating themselves as licensing partners. From Salman Khan’s Being Human collection to Hritik Roshan’s HRX collection, and many other celebs who see fashion as good business.

The designer houses in US houses started licensing their products and brands way ahead of us. Most of the European houses (think: Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Yves Saint Laurent, etc.) started as brands in the business of making couture, luggage, and/or equestrian equipment. Since then, there has been a large shift in the industry towards more modern and more accessible goods. And, that brought in Fashion and licensing together.

Here we look into 5 famous fashion brands and their licensing story which we never knew about:

  1. Christian Dior

Dior began marketing his products in the late 1940’s, in the United States, creating a system to license hosiery. The Paris-based design house began to license its neckties. According to a statement from Dior, “all accessories followed, and within three years, this system was copied by all the couture houses.”


  1. Ralph Lauren

From salesman to designer, Ralph Lauren has reached new heights in fashion. In 1967, he founded Polo Fashions Inc, with $50k investment.  As the company grew it was decided to refocus on design and license out the other stages to licensed manufacturers by giving them a return of 5-8% return.


  1. Dolce & Gabbana

D&G started out licensing its core products like eyewear, watches and perfumes. It opened a franchised store in Tokyo in 1989; began licensing production and distribution of a range of scarves in 1991. Later on, for better control of over production it ended certain license agreement.


  1. Tommy Hilfiger 

Tommy Hilfiger had an established range for menswear brand, so they wanted to do the same for women’s wear but expansion would be prohibitively expensive. Eventually it was licensed to Pepe Jeans International, who already produced a Hilfiger jeans range.


  1. Pierre Cardin

Designer Pierre Cardin has licensed intellectual property rights in his business to hundreds of licensees over the years, some of whose products are quite removed from the fashion industry such as bicycles, strollers, restaurants and even toilets. Financially this has proved successful, but some fashion commentators also feel that it has diluted and damaged Pierre Cardin’s core brand image.



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