Romain Guinier, the president of French label The Kooples, has recently discussed the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown and his optimistic plans for the brand. The Kooples, established in 2007 by the Elicha brothers and acquired by Maus Frères in 2019, faced the closure of all 340 of its physical stores for a two-month period during the lockdown. However, thanks to a strong online presence, the company managed to maintain sales with e-commerce accounting for 16% of total revenue last year. Guinier expressed confidence in the brand’s future and emphasized the importance of returning to a normal state of affairs as quickly as possible.
Citing studies that predict a 30% decline in the global fashion market this year, Guinier highlighted The Kooples’ advantageous position as it is not heavily dependent on tourism. He also reassured that the acquisition by Maus Frères has not affected the company’s long-term goals. Under Guinier’s leadership, various changes have been implemented, such as streamlining collections and adjusting pricing policies. The appointment of Tom Van Dorpe as creative director further aligns with the brand’s objective to become the epitome of “rebel elegance”.
In addition to these efforts, The Kooples is placing a strong emphasis on digital initiatives, aiming to increase online sales to 25% of total revenue. Guinier acknowledged the changes in consumer behavior brought about by the Covid-19 lockdown, with a growing number of people becoming comfortable with online shopping. The brand is actively working on expanding its online presence and forging new partnerships with marketplaces like Zalando. However, Guinier also emphasized the significance of physical stores and confirmed plans for new store openings and renovations in both France and Europe. The Kooples remains optimistic about the recovery of the fashion industry and believes that now is the time for a comprehensive evaluation of its workings and rhythms.
Guinier revealed that The Kooples is considering a shift towards sourcing from Europe and exploring alternative models, particularly in light of current foreign exchange trends. He also stressed the importance of finding a balance between anticipation and a less frenetic pace within the fashion industry. Ultimately, Guinier’s plans for The Kooples involve reconnecting with the brand’s DNA and establishing a leading position in the contemporary fashion landscape with a more sophisticated and distinctive style.
For more information on The Kooples and their brand strategies, visit the official website here. To stay updated on the latest fashion trends and industry news, follow the Fashion and Luxury section on Business of Fashion.