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Lacoste is a high-end apparel company founded in 1933 that sells high-end clothing, footwear, perfume, leather goods, watches, eyewear, and most famously tennis shirts. In recent years, Lacoste has introduced a home line of sheeting and towels. The company can be recognized by its green crocodile logo.
Its major competitors include Armani, Fred Perry, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
René Lacoste founded La Chemise Lacoste in 1933 with André Gillier, the owner and President of the largest French knitwear manufacturing firm at the time. They began to produce the revolutionary tennis shirt Lacoste had designed and worn on the tennis courts with the crocodile logo embroidered on the chest. Although the company claims this as the first example of a brand name appearing on the outside of an article of clothing, the “Jantzen girl” logo appeared on the outside of Jantzen Knitting Mills’ swimsuits as early as 1921. In addition to tennis shirts, Lacoste produced shirts for golf and sailing. In 1951, the company began to expand as it branched from “tennis white” and introduced color shirts. In 1952, the shirts were exported to the United States and advertised as “the status symbol of the competent sportsman,” influencing the clothing choices of the upper-class. It is still one of the most popular brands in the United States, sporting the “preppy wardrobe”.
A Lacoste tennis shirt, from the 2006 spring collection
In 1963, Bernard Lacoste took over the management of the company from his father René. Significant company growth was seen under Bernard’s management. When he became president, around 300,000 Lacoste products were sold annually. The Lacoste brand reached its height of popularity in the US during the late 1970s and became the signature 1980s “preppy” wardrobe item, even getting mentioned in Lisa Birnbach’s Official Preppy Handbook of 1980. The company also began to introduce other products into their line including shorts, perfume, optical and sunglasses, tennis shoes, deck shoes, walking shoes, watches, and various leather goods.
In the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, Izod and Lacoste were often used interchangeably because starting in the 1950s, Izod produced clothing known as Izod Lacoste under license for sale in the U.S. This partnership ended in 1993 when Lacoste regained exclusive U.S. rights to distribute shirts under its own brand. In 1977, Le Tigre Clothing was founded in an attempt to directly compete with Lacoste in the US market, selling a similar array of apparel, but featuring a tiger in place of the signature Lacoste crocodile.
More recently, Lacoste’s popularity has surged due to French designer Christophe Lemaire’s work to create a more modern, upscale look. In 2005, almost 50 million Lacoste products sold in over 110 countries. Its visibility has increased due to the contracts between Lacoste and several young tennis players, including American tennis star Andy Roddick, French rising young prospect Richard Gasquet, and Swiss Olympic gold medalist Stanislas Wawrinka. Lacoste has also begun to increase its presence in the golf world, where noted two time Masters Tournament champion José María Olazábal and Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie have been seen sporting Lacoste shirts in tournaments.
Bernard Lacoste became seriously ill in early 2005, which led him to transfer the presidency of Lacoste to his younger brother and closest collaborator for many years, Michel Lacoste. Bernard died in Paris on March 21, 2006.
Lacoste licenses its trademark to various companies. Until recently Devanlay owned the exclusive worldwide clothing license, though today Lacoste Polo Shirts are also manufactured under licence in Thailand by ICC and also in China. Pentland Brands has the exclusive worldwide license to produce Lacoste footwear, Procter & Gamble owns the exclusive worldwide license to produce fragrance, and Samsonite holds the worldwide license to produce Lacoste bags and small leather goods.
In June 2007, Lacoste introduced their very first e-commerce site  for the U.S. market.
Hayden Christensen is the face of the Challenge fragrance for men.
Known as Omini, is a silhouette of a man (left) and woman (right) sitting back to back in the nude. Created in 1969 by mere accident. After a photo shoot for a bathing suit ad, a man and a woman were sitting back-to-back, naked, with the outlines of their bodies traced by the back lighting. The photographers knew they had something and the idea grew into what is now the logo for Robe di Kappa, or the Kappa brand which was later attributed to the active and sports wear. Symbolizes the mutual support between Man and Woman, and their completion.
In 1982, when the surfwear market did not exist, Alfio Lagnado created the brand Hang Loose. Surfer, he sought a viable alternative for their trips in search of perfect waves. It was then that he noticed the lack of specific shorts to practice the sport and started to produce them. Until then, the only models available in Brazil were brought from abroad. Today, the Hang Loose brand is the leader in surfwear and clothing exports its articles to several countries in Latin America and Europe.
In 1986, an action very daring for its time, held the Hang Loose Pro Contest, in Praia da Joaquina, Florianópolis (Brazil). The World Tour event was considered a landmark in the history of surfing in Brazil and today is the country’s most traditional tournament. Went through several of Brazil as Joaquina Beach, Florianópolis; Pitangueiras, in Guaruja, Gaibu Maracaípe and in Pernambuco, in 2000 to reach the paradise of Fernando de Noronha archipelago. This year the tournament takes place for the 11th time on the island and is the only country with the prime status and level six stars for its excellent quality of the waves.
Thus was born the Hang Loose, 100% Brazilian brand, unlike the competitors at the time – mostly gringo. In 1988, the Hang Loose sent to the ASP World Tour the famous dynamic duo formed by Flavio “Teco Padaratz and Fabio Gouveia. With this, Brazil has become part of the surfing world, giving international prominence to the company.
Over the past three years (2007, 2008 and 2009), also sponsored the only stage of the World Championship Tour (WCT) in Brazil – the elite of the surfing world – and was considered by Tops as the best evidence of the 2008 season. In 2007 it was won by Mick Fanning (winning the world title in Brazil) in 2008 and by Bede Durbidge phenomenon in 2009 by Kelly Slater.
In 1995, began supporting the basic categories, sponsored by the Sao Paulo circuit Amador, the Hang Loose Surf Attack. And in 2008 innovated to create the Hang Loose Surf Camp, clinic developed by experienced coach Paul Kid in order to prepare amateur athletes, providing the physical, psychological and nutritional treatment for one week in Itacare (Bahia).
In the team, Hang Loose has featured athletes on the world stage. Represent the brand in competitions worldwide Bernardo Miranda, Junior Faria and Ian Gouveia. Mestre Fabio Gouveia, after more than 20 years dedicated to the competitive landscape, is a new phase, focusing on the free surf and travel with the new generation, and prepare content for media in general. The freesurf Danylo Grillo explores the hottest peaks in the world, while the big rider Sylvio Mancusi fighters curl – and the waves – the heavier the planet. In amateur competitions Victor Bernard, despite his young age, has accumulated many important titles in the curriculum.
Produced by specialists in Brazil and abroad, accompanied by a work of quality supervision that follows the normal environmental and labor regulations, products are moved in over a thousand points of sales and multi-format under license abroad.
Guess was founded by Georges, Armand, Paul, and Maurice Marciano, four brothers raised in Marseilles, France. They moved to California from France in 1977 and founded the company in 1981. Seed money to start the business came from the Nakash family, owners of the Jordache denim empire. Their first product was a three-zipper style of jeans they named “Marilyn” (Style # 1015). Department stores and fashion critics were initially reluctant to carry the new ‘stone washed denim’ jeans, but in December when Bloomingdale’s finally agreed with Georges to stock two dozen pairs of the new jeans as a favor to the brothers. They sold out quickly.
They began advertising in 1982 and introduced their iconic black-and-white ads in 1985. The ads have won numerous Clio Awards. Their fashion models have included a number of widely-recognized supermodels, many of whom first achieved prominence via the ad campaigns.
In the 1985 Robert Zemeckis movie, Back to the Future, Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) wore distinctive Guess denim clothing, reportedly designed specifically for the film.
The Guess emblem with the famous question mark in the center.
During the 1980s Guess was one of the most popular brands of jeans. The company was one of the first companies to create designer jeans. While the first jeans were for women, in 1983 a men’s line debuted. In 1984 Guess introduced its new line of watches known as “Guess”, “Guess Steel”, and the “Guess Collection” The watch line is still in existence today, and has been joined by a number of other accessory sidelines. In 1984, they also introduced a line of baby’s clothes, called “Baby Guess”.
Gucci was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci. In 1938, Gucci expanded and a boutique was opened in Rome. Guccio was responsible for designing many of the company’s products. In 1947, Gucci introduced the Bamboo handle handbag, which is still a company mainstay. During the 1950s, Gucci also developed the trademark striped webbing, which was derived from the saddle girth, and the suede moccasin with a metal horsebit.
His wife Aida Calvelli had a large family, though only the sons—Vasco, Aldo, Ugo, and Rodolfo—would play a role in leading the company. After Guccio’s death in 1953, Aldo helped lead the company to a position of International prominence, opening the company’s first boutique in New York. Rodolfo initially tried to start an acting career as a matinee idol but soon returned to help direct the company. Even in Gucci’s fledgling years, the family was notorious for its ferocious infighting. Disputes regarding inheritances, stock holdings, and day-to-day operations of the stores often divided the family and led to alliances. Gucci expanded overseas, board meetings about the company’s future often ended with tempers flaring and luggage and purses flying. Gucci targeted the Far East for further expansion in the late 1960s, opening stores in Hong Kong and Tokyo. At that time, the company also developed its famous GG logo (Guccio Gucci’s initials), the Flora silk scarf (worn prominently by Hollywood actress Grace Kelly), and the Jackie O shoulder bag, made famous by Jackie Kennedy, the wife of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
Armani was the first designer to ban models with a body mass index (BMI) under 18, after model Ana Carolina Reston starved herself to death due to anorexia nervosa.
Armani broadcast his collection live on the Internet, a first in the world of haute couture, on 24 January 2007. The Armani Privé Spring/Summer 2007 fashion show was broadcast via MSN and Cingular cellular phones.
After LG teamed with Prada to introduce the LG Prada phone, Samsung joined Armani to design the Giorgio Armani phone.
Armani designed made-to-measure suits for Christian Bale’s character Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight. Advertisements featuring “Giorgio Armani for Bruce Wayne” were released in 2008 with pictures of Christian Bale wearing Armani suits. However, Bale later claimed in a GQ interview that the campaign was produced without his permission.
In the 1990s, Armani opened his chain of Armani Cafes and developed a new fragrance, Giorgio Armani Neve – numerous colognes and fragrances have since been marketed by Armani.
Armani opened his first restaurant in the U.S., Armani/Ristorante. The restaurant opened in New York in February 2009 and has been rated by the Zagat Survey.
He did also 5 best sellers Emporio Armani CD compilations with the italian sound designer Matteo Ceccarini.
He has extended the brand into multiple other categories such as Armani Casa (upscale furniture – 16 stores), Armani-branded Dolci (confectionary), and Armani-branded Fiori (flowers).
Armani struck a deal with a Dubai-based property group Emaar to come up with a chain of 14 Armani branded hotels and resorts by 2011 to be exclusively decorated with furnishings from Armani/Casa. The hotel is named Armani Hotel and is located in Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It opened on 4 January 2010.
The Gap, Inc. (NYSE: GPS) is an American clothing and accessories retailer based in San Francisco, California, and founded in 1969 by Donald G. Fisher and Doris F. Fisher. The company has five primary brands: the namesake Gap banner, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta. As of September 2008, Gap, Inc. has approximately 135,000 employees and operates 3,076 stores worldwide, of which 2,551 are in the United States. Gap, Inc. remains the largest specialty apparel retailer in the U.S., though it has recently been surpassed by the Spanish-based Inditex Group as the world’s largest apparel retailer.
Despite the company’s publicly traded status, the Fisher family remains deeply involved in Gap, Inc.’s business and collectively owns a significant quantity of the company’s stock.
Donald Fisher served as Chairman of the Board until 2004 and remained on the board until his death on September 27, 2009. His wife and their son, Robert J. Fisher, also serve on Gap’s board of directors. Robert Fisher succeeded his father as chair in 2004 and also became president and CEO on an interim basis following the resignation of Paul Pressler in 2007.
Glenn K. Murphy is the current CEO of the company. Previous Gap, Inc. CEOs include Millard Drexler and Paul Pressler.
The Ellus is a clothing label founded in 1972 by Brazilian businessman Nelson Alvarenga. Is present in Brazil, Latin America, Asia, USA and the Middle East. Stands out for its performance in the market for jeans wear.
The company is headed by the couple Alvarenga Nelson, president and founder, and Adriana Bozon, creative director.
Element Skateboards (originally called Underworld Element Skateboards) is a skateboard manufacturer and surfwear retailer based in Irvine, California.
It is a subsidiary of Billabong International.
The company was founded in 1992 by Johnny Schilleriff as a collaboration called Underworld Element Skateboards. The struggling company was later absorbed by Schilleriff and the “Underworld” portion of the name dropped.
The company sponsors Hunter Kreck, Brent Atchley,Bucky Lasek, Bam Margera, Chad Muska, Chad TimTim, Darrell Stanton, Jeremy Wray, Levi Brown, Mike Vallely, Ray Barbee, Tony Tave, and Vanessa Torres. The company portrays itself as active in eco-friendly endeavors, community causes and attempts to raise awareness of environmental causes through its “Power to the Planet” initiative.
Company stores are located in New York City, Honolulu, Orlando (Universal CityWalk), Nottingham and Sydney.
Diesel S.p.A. is an Italian design company. It is best known for clothing aimed at the young adult market, particularly jeans, but the brand can now be found on everything from underwear to fragrances, cars, furniture and even sex toys. The company is owned by its founder Renzo Rosso, and is based in Breganze in northern Italy.
Diesel’s Creative Director and head designer is Wilbert Das who has worked for Diesel since 1988. Wilbert started as a designer on the Male, Accessories, Leather, and Kids lines. He rose quickly to head the style office and creative areas of Diesel, and in 1993 was given the official title of Creative Director, with responsibilities ranging from directing all product design as well as all communication campaigns. From clothing and accessory design to advertising, new media, merchandising, retail and interior design (:including stores, showrooms, offices, hotels), planning of fashion shows and events, as well as developing new brand extensions such as houseware, furniture and even automobiles. Literally all aspects of the Diesel brand’s style and image fell under Wilbert’s responsibility.
Wilbert Das left Diesel in late 2009 amid rumors of irreconcilable differences with CEO Rosso over the future direction of the company.