Balenciaga Brand Analysis: Streetwear Meets Luxury

Close up side view of Balenciaga’s Triple S sneakers in white worn by a man on the street, tying the sneaker closer to the frame

Introduction

Today’s luxury Streetwear landscape is in a state of constant evolution, becoming more widespread and innovative in every aspect. Brands such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Dior, and many more are revolutionizing the definitions of luxury. More specifically, Balenciaga’s impact on this industry is truly one that cannot be ignored. From the company’s inception in 1917, Balenciaga has revolutionized women’s silhouettes and continuously pushed the boundaries of fashion. Aside from this, the brand has also had its hand in the development of the textile industry. 

Balenciaga’s success can be attributed to the company’s ability to keep up with the fast-paced changes within the fashion industry. The company has contributed significantly to the development of modern contemporary fashion, bringing new ideas into the spotlight in a grand manner. Under the direction of the current founder, Demna Gvasalia (furthermore referred to as Demna) the brand’s identity is backed up by her clear mission statement: “luxury clothes can only be worn, not for storage; desirable products with no loss in integrity are something practical.” In this article, we’ll be deep diving into the critical areas of Balenciaga’s brand identity, including the below topics:

  • The History of Balenciaga 
  • Balenciaga: The Luxury-Streetwear Revolution
  • Promotional Strategies 
  • Final Thoughts 

The History of Balenciaga

Strong Beginnings 

Founded in 1917 by Cristóbal Balenciaga (furthermore referred to as Cristóbal) in the Basque Country in Spain, Cristóbal opened his very first haute couture boutique in San Sebastian in 1919. He named the fashion house after his mother, who worked as a seamstress in Spain. As a result of the Spanish Civil War, Balenciaga relocated to France and opened their first boutique in 1937 in Paris. The brand’s collections differed from the hourglass shape popularized by Christian Dior in the post-war era. By using sleek and linear lines, Cristóbal differentiated the brand in the highly impressionable fashion market of the time. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, he transformed women’s fashion, developing trademark styles such as collars that protruded from the neck, and “bracelet sleeves”.

In 2018, Balenciaga was named Kering’s fastest-growing brand after being acquired by the company in 2001. Kering also owns other luxury brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Alexander McQueen. 

As a result of gaining a tremendous amount of media attention following the launch, Cistóbal’s designs stood out from other designs at that time. He distinguished himself from other brands with his streamlined, linear designs, and he was widely respected for his meticulous construction techniques. He became a leading figure in the fashion industry as a result of these designs. With this, he gained the favour of the royal family and other fashionable elites.

Company Growth

Upon relocating to Paris after the civil war in Spain, the company expanded exponentially. It was in 1937 that Balenciaga presented its first runway, demonstrating to the world its high-quality, sophisticated designs. The company started its first workshop in 1924 in the Calle Vergara’s building. He transitioned the company to Avenida De La Libertad after registering the business with the fashion industry with the name “Cristóbal Balenciaga.”

This brand is well known for its unique designs, including the coat featuring Japanese style in the Cristóbal Balenciaga Museoa collection in 1927. As one of its oldest and most recognizable designs, the suit Salvadora Egana wore on his honeymoon was balanced but straightforward; the waistline was stiffened, having curves in alternate directions. After gaining the respect and admiration of his peers, Cistóbal re-named the company “Balenciaga,” which was later praised by the international media house. 

Balenciaga’s Brand Identity

As the company’s founder, Cristóbal invested a great deal in building the brand’s reputation over the years. By introducing the rebranded name, he correlated the brand with excellence, value, and uniqueness. Despite its long history, it has been committed to providing value and prestige to its consumers since its inception. The artistic guru’s designs soared higher in the world of fashion and served as a fundamental legacy during the company’s revolution in 1997.

Balenciaga’s identity correlates directly with the revolutionary design work of past and present creative directors. For example, a pivotal point in the evolution of women’s fashion during the mid-20th century was Balenciaga’s introduction of the “ballroom hem” in the early 50s, the “semi-fit” lines in the mid-50s and the “sack dress” in 1957. 

In efforts to continue the house’s iconic legacy, Demna has worked closely with the brand’s archives to maintain the artistic integrity of the Balenciaga House designs while simultaneously entering the luxury streetwear segment. As a result of Demna’s efforts in collaboration with Nicolas Ghesquière, the label has experienced a rebirth since 1997. As a result of excellent leadership, the brand has achieved extremely high status in the fashion industry, attracting celebrities like Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and Kim Kardashian. 

Balenciaga: The Luxury-Streetwear Revolution

Throughout its 101-year history, this brand has undergone a great deal of transformation.

The true innovator of the designs, Cristóbal Balenciaga, has laid down a lifetime legacy of perfectionism for others to follow. In 1939, Balenciaga received praise from the French press for its revolutionary contribution to the reinvention of the fashion world. Buyers were trooping all over the world to be able to access his collection. He received commendations for creating the balloon skirt design, and the high-waist baby doll dress, which defines the waist gracefully. He also introduced the sack dress in 1957 and the chemise in 1958. Having created these exceptional and iconic designs, the fashion house has made a significant contribution to fashion and society. Still, the brand’s short decline in 1968 ended his career as a designer. 

After he died in 1972, Balenciaga’s brand identity resurrected after its decline years after the founder’s death. It was acquired by a company called Bogart Group, and the company’s name finally appeared on the fashion week calendar. The company then resumed operations under the administration of Nicolas Ghesquiere and became truly well-known after Demna took over in 2015 as creative director. Due to his vision and purpose, he generated immense hype around the “new” Balenciaga and shifted the essence of the company, which resulted in its growth to its current status. 

Promotional Strategies

An adequate and strategic marketing plan is essential for a company to succeed in the market. We can conclude from Balenciaga’s annual sales rate that the brand has invested immensely in its marketing strategies. A great strategic marketing approach was used by the brand to target each of its product lines at the right consumer. The company has gained a better understanding of its consumers’ needs, trending topics, and how to be a trailblazer in the industry

The Use of Meme Marketing in Brand Identity

There is a strong connection between visual information and the human mind. It can be quite effective to appeal to human emotion using strategic marketing tactics. Meme marketing or meme baiting is the use of comically designed visuals to reinvent the consumer journey and in time, increase conversion rates. Memes are becoming an increasingly popular marketing tactic in the world of digital marketing as there are a variety of benefits to using this method.  As a result of Demna’s understanding, the brand needed to be discussed in everyday conversations to succeed and gain popularity. Balenciaga intelligently takes advantage of the meme phenomenon to enhance its brand concept, which has flourished and become a topic of conversation daily on social media. The use of meme marketing has many advantages:

Balenciaga gains thousands of views as they continue to produce more and more memes daily. By creating memes about the product, brands engage followers and persuade them to purchase by redefining the consumer journey and as a result of this strategy, Balenciaga can target not only the general population but also Millenials in particular. As 60% of Balenciaga’s target consumers are millennials, it is in the brand’s highest interest to make use of all relevant tools.

Injection of Luxury Aesthetic footwear 

As one of the most competitive fashion brands in the world, Balenciaga places a strong emphasis on footwear, targeting Millennials and Gen Zers heavily. As a consumer product, the company’s footwear is neither cheap nor expensive, so the company can capture almost every segment of the market. Demna might be considered to have made a mistake by targeting the younger generation since young people do not have a sense of independence. However, since purchasing power is expected to increase in the coming years, it is essential to target these generations. As a result of the long trial and error process that Balenciaga has gone through over the years, the promotional strategy has proven successful for Balenciaga. With the help of extensive testing of their marketing strategies, Balenciaga has gained a thorough understanding of the wants and needs of their demographic.

A Great Online Class: Creation of a Streetwear Brand

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Final Thoughts

Ultimately, if one creative personality leaves a legacy, another can continue to build upon it. The multi-billion euro fashion house was founded by Cristóbal Balenciaga, and he began with a strong foundation. As a result of this foundation, others have been able to explore the world of fashion through Balenciaga’s lens to its fullest potential. A wide range of designs has been developed to provide quality and affordability for the young generation. To achieve success, each big brand has its own strategies. The first step to victory lies in letting the brand’s vision and values guide its priorities.

The Value of Fashion Brands
The Value of Fashion Brands

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