Armani pins hope on the designer T-shirt

GIORGIO ARMANI, the Italian designer, opens an Emporio store in central London tomorrow at a time of uncertainty in the fashion industry about the future of the 'designer' market.

The fear is that consumers are no longer excited by the allure of designer brands. The problem has been further exacerbated by recessionary pressures on both sides of the Atlantic.

However, Mr Armani believes he has found a means for designers to continue to prosper in the Nineties. The Emporio Armani chain, which now includes four shops in the UK and 109 worldwide, is bringing a designer fashion brand to a wider public.

By high street standards prices at Emporio Armani are still high. The new shop in Covent Garden, which is the designer's fourth in Britain, sells women's jackets for pounds 300 and jeans for pounds 80. But these prices compare favourably with Mr Armani's main collection, where a jacket sells for pounds 650.

Launched in Milan in the Eighties, Emporio Armani's turnover is pounds 110m, out of total group sales of pounds 340m.

Perfume sales also contribute heavily to group turnover, reaching pounds 60m in 1991. The designer launches a new fragrance in Britain next month called Gio

In the United States Mr Armani has broadened his appeal still further with the launch of A/X: Armani Exchange, a new chain of stores that sells jeans and casual clothes at prices similar to The Gap. Most clothes are under the dollars 100 ( pounds 52) mark.

The irony is that the man who made the pounds 600 power suit a symbol of Eighties' affluence is now banking on jeans and T-shirts as the staples of the Nineties.

Since the launch of A/X last December, Mr Armani has opened 21 stores in the US. Another eight follow next month. Industry sources say the A/X formula could eventually be introduced to Europe.

Fellow designers in Italy, France, the UK, and the US are following a similar strategy. British designers, including Paul Smith and John Richmond, have launched jeans collections within the last 18 months.

Fashion designers are paying closer attention to the needs of their customers. Mr Armani said: 'The consumer dictates. Designers cannot simply make anything and assume it will sell. They have to have a complete respect for the balance between quality and price.'

The feeling in the trade is that designers' signature collections may soon become as rarefied as made-to-measure or couture collections: drumming up useful media coverage but bought by increasingly few customers.

Mr Armani made it clear yesterday that he wanted no more than one store in each big city to sell his top-priced collection.

The risk for designers is that they cheapen their name by producing too many lower-priced collections.

When Emporio Armani and Armani Jeans were first launched in 1981, Mr Armani's strategy drew criticism within the industry.

The upmarket appeal of his brand, however, was unaffected.

Other designers who have courted a wider market, particularly Pierre Cardin, have been less successful at maintaining their image of exclusivity.

(Photograph omitted)

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam