Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies

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Course Information
Discipline(s): 
International Business
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Credits: 
3
Language of instruction: 
English
Contact Hours: 
45
Prerequisites: 

One basic course in Business Policy & Strategy or Marketing.

Additional student cost: 

None

Description: 

The course provides an overview of the fashion system and an in-depth understanding of the strategic, organizational and managerial characteristics of fashion and design-based companies, both in the high end and in the mass market.

Brand Management in fashion and luxury industries is the art and the science of creating the ‘dream factor’: the aim is making people buy products not because they need them but because they desire them; in this way companies may achieve both an increase of the profitability and revenues in the short term and of the brand equity in the long term. The methodology behind can be successfully transferred to other industries too.

From this perspective, the course aims at providing the participants the skills for managing key business processes in fashion and luxury companies in a context undergoing a radical evolution.

Course objectives can be synthesized as follows:

  • to get acquainted with the concepts of fashion, fashion cycle, fashion and luxury;
  • to learn about the main landmarks in the development of fashion and luxury companies and how the greatest international designers, brands and countries (France, Italy, US, Asia) influenced the current global fashion system;
  • to analyze the main business strategies and business models in fashion (luxury brands, fashion designers, premium brands, fast fashion retailers);
  • to understand seasonal strategies at the level of product, distribution and communication;
  • to understand the peculiarities of growth strategies in fashion and design-based companies with a specific focus on brand extension.
Attendance policy: 

Regular class attendance is mandatory. Students are expected to attend classes each day, including course-related excursions.

IES Abroad Milano allows a maximum of TWO excused absences per semester. Each further absence will automatically result in a penalty of two points off (2/100) on the final grade. SEVEN absences per course (including 2 excused absences) will result in a failing grade for that course. Furthermore, an absence on the date of scheduled tests, presentations or quizzes does not entitle you to recover/reschedule such tests. Failure to attend your midterm and/or final exam will result in an F grade on that paper/exam.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the business logic in fashion and luxury industries.
  • Recognize  professional  roles,  such  as  business  unit/brand  manager,  licensing  manager,  area manager, retail manager, merchandising manager and communication manager.
  • Recognize key concepts of fashion, the fashion cycle, fashion and luxury;
  • Distinguish the main landmarks in the development of fashion and luxury companies and how the greatest international designers, brands and countries (France, Italy, US, Asia) influenced the current global fashion system;
  • Analyze the main business strategies and business models in fashion (luxury brands, fashion designers, premium brands, fast fashion retailers);
  • Differentiate seasonal strategies at the level of product, distribution and communication;
  • Distinguish the peculiarities of growth strategies in fashion and design-based companies with a specific focus on brand extension.

They will also be given a key to understanding professional roles such as business unit/brand manager, licensing manager, area manager, retail manager, merchandising manager and communication manager. Yet, all roles will share a common understanding and vision about the culture of excellence, a result oriented creativity and a sensitivity for aesthetics and market trends.

Method of presentation: 

The learning process is facilitated through stimulating teaching methods such as case histories, guest speakers and field projects, taking advantage from being located in a leading fashion centre as Milan.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Active Participation - 10%
  • Midterm Exam - 20%
  • Project Work - 30%
  • Final Exam - 40%

Active Participation
Active participation through discussion, reading and writing. The course is strongly based on empirical materials such as lectures by guest speakers and case discussion. Therefore participation is strongly recommended. Participants will be asked to work in groups to prepare the assignment indicated in the syllabus. 

Midterm Exam
Based on multiple choice questions related to the first part of the program.

Project Work
(3 people minimum, 4 people maximum). A precise briefing on group field project will be provided during the course. Students will work through a detailed observation of main fashion players, looking at brand positioning, shop image, merchandise, consumers, and defining possible actors who could integrate a brand extension. Students may consider brands that could go from fashion garments to accessories, jewelry and vice versa but also extend to licensing partnerships. Analysis could possibly lead to creative inputs and possibly ideas, as well as suggestion for new business models.

Final Exam
The final exam will consist of two/three essay questions related to topics covered in the second part of the program – i.e. the main drivers for fashion and luxury consumption; stylistic identity and product development; image identity and communication; retail identity and distribution and one question based on case history presented by guest speakers. Students will be required to be brief and to the point: one page maximum for each question. Quoting examples analyzed in class will be evaluated positively.

GENERAL POLICIES:
Students are responsible for knowing and following the general policies of their home institution as well as conforming to policies described in detail in the IES Abroad student policies.  These policies can be found using the following link: https://www.iesabroad.org/IES/Students/studentPolicies.html

content: 
Session Content Readings
1 Course introduction, Defining fashion and luxury Readings
  • Corbellini, Saviolo, Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies, Chapter 1: 1.1; 1.2 (pages 3-10)
  • Davis, Fashion, Culture, and Identity, The University of Chicago Press 1992.
  • Deliverables: Familiarize yourself with the course subject. Understand the difference between fashion and luxury.
2 Fashion & the City
A field trip in the Milan golden triangle: experiencing the different retail formats

 

3 Brand management in fashion and
Branding as positioning
  • Corbellini, Saviolo, Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies, Chapter 9: 9.1; 9.2 (pages 155-164)
  • OPTIONAL: UcheOkonkwo, Luxury Fashion Branding, Palgrave MacMillan 2007
  • K. Roberts, Lovemarks, powerHouse book 2004.
  • Deliverables: Understand the difference between a trademark and a brand. Learn about the intrinsic and symbolic value of fashion brands. Understand how to create a strong brand equity.
4 The role of stylistic identity and product development in brand positioning 
  • Corbellini, Saviolo, Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies, Chapter 11: 11.1 – 11.4 (pages 171-184)

  • Deliverables: Learn about what is a brand DNA and how to preserve it when it comes to design. Analyze trends and timing to be right to market launch. Understand how  design impacts product development.

5

French great couturiers and luxury conglomerates

  • Corbellini, Saviolo, Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies, Chapter 3: 3.1; 3.2 – Chapter 7: 7.1; 7.3; 7.6 (pages 33-42; 121-123; 125-127; 132-136)

  • Deliverables: Learn about the concept of country branding and how the business models of the greatest French designers have evolved from haute couture to luxury conglomerates.

6

The Italian model: from designers to vertical integration

  • Corbellini, Saviolo, Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies, Chapter 7: 7.2 (pages 123-125)

  • Deliverables: Learn about the concept of country branding and how the business models of the greatest Italian designers have evolved from pure designers to vertically integrated companies.

7

The American model: lifestyle branding

  • Corbellini, Saviolo, Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies, Chapter 3: 3.3 (pages 42-49)

  • Deliverables: Learn about the concept of country branding and how the business models of the greatest American designers have evolved from sportswear companies to licensing giants.

8

Field trip at Guffanti showroom

  • Deliverables: What happens at retail ? How do brands presents their assortments to buyers? Commercial and merchandising key features.
9

Special lecturer :Erica Corbellini

DOLCE & GABBANA CASE

  • Corbellini, Saviolo, Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies, Chapter 6: 6.4; 6.5 (pages 112-120)

  • OPTIONAL: Silverstein, Fiske, Trading up: the new American luxury, The Penguin Book 2003

  • Deliverables: Learn about the new segmentation of fashion and luxury industries and its impact on consumer’s behaviors.
  Midterm Exam  
10

The Cosmetics Industry: international scenario, pipeline and main players

  • Deliverables: Learn about the key figures on the Italian and international cosmetics industry, the stages of the cosmetics pipelines and industry brands’ positioning.
11 Fashion bloggings
  • Deliverables: Understand the phenomenology of fashion blogging, the evolution towards structured business models, the mapping process and main emerging trends.
12

Guidelines for the group assignment 

  • Deliverables: With focus on a brand that might be applicable to a product extension, study existing product assortment, carry out a competitive intelligence, and define further the scope of the new product line. Write marketing plan and work on the creative outline of such a new product.
13 Tutorship of the group assignment (1)
  • Deliverables: Work closely with the students in order to see their project development; coaching and advising.
14

The Cosmetics Industry: business models and fashion link. The case of perfumery industry

  • Deliverables: Learn about the main business models and the link between fashion and cosmetics: the case of fragrances.
15

The cosmetic industry. In class working session and group 

  • Deliverables: With focus on different application of the brand management, the session will focus on managerial practices of the industry, related to fashion companies.
16

How to get into the fashion industry

  • Deliverables: Understand the different managerial and creative roles in the fashion industry. Identify the best job search steps for a career in fashion.
17

Lectio Magistralis:  Alessandra Guffanti, President of Sistema Moda Italia - Gruppo Giovani

  • Deliverables: Which are the specifities of the Italian Fashion System ? What are the features that make unique a model based on the integration of creativity, competences and the presence of a whole ecosystem of player that developed the most complete country pipeline in the word, leading to the international success of what everyone now knows as the Made in Italy phenomenon?
18

Tutorship of the group assignment (2)

  • Deliverables: Work closely with the students in order to see their project development; coaching and advising.
19

Brand extensions in fashion and luxury

  • Corbellini, Saviolo, Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies, Chapter 14: 14.1-14.4 (pages 239-257)
  • OPTIONAL: Kapferer, Bastien, The Luxury Strategy: Break the Rules of Marketing to Build Luxury Brands, Hardcover 2009
  • Deliverables: Get aquainted with brands that started with one product expertise and developed into additional product categories (analysis of marketing tools and communication).
20 Product and process innovation 
  • Robert G. Cooper and Scott Edgett, Successful Product Innovation: a collection of our best

  • Deliverables: Understand how leading companies generate breakthrough new products. Learn processes that enable improved performance.
21 Group assignment class presentation
  • Deliverables:  Each  group  will  present  its  project.  Open  discussion  and  reviews  by  all participants.
22 FINAL EXAM The Final Exam will take place during finals week.

You will receive official notice of the exact date and time of the final exam as soon as all possible overlaps have been identified after add/drop deadline.

Required readings: 
  • Corbellini, Saviolo, Managing Fashion and Luxury Companies, Etas 2009.
  • Corbellini, Saviolo, History and Phenomenology of Fashion, SDA Bocconi paper (posted on the e-learning).