Coperni, Jacquemus, Schiaparelli: a case study in innovation

04.10.2023Azul Stengel, Co-founder of LienzoPhoto generated with Dall E AI 

What is the common link between Coperni, Jacquemus, and Schiaparelli?
One could argue that these brands are the freshest stars in the fashion galaxy, attracting everyone's desire to snag a front-row seat at their fashion extravaganzas. They offer glamour, fantasy, playfulness, and a masterful curation of every look, all delivered through unforgettable experiences. While each brand boasts a unique history, they've each etched their DNA into the fashion landscape, setting them apart. However, one could also argue that their histories, positions, and approaches to fashion are vastly different, implying that they share nothing in common. What we can safely assert is that, through their garments, artistry, storytelling, and even history, these brands have ascended to the summit of the fashion hierarchy due to their unceasing innovation.

These brands are the talk of the town, and while they make a lot of noise, what are they being silent about? 

Do you know what else these brands share in common? 

Surprisingly, they have largely remained silent when it comes to their environmental and social impacts.

A quick recap

Before we dive into a deeper analysis, let's take a moment to revisit each of these brands.

Maison Schiaparelli, renowned for collaborating with 20th-century art luminaries like Salvador Dali, Man Ray, Jean Cocteau, Meret Oppenheim, and more. Its extraordinary creations, including the Trompe de l’oeil hand-knit sweater, the shoe hat, and the lobster dress, etched its name into couture and fashion history by forging the surrealist realm known as Schiaparelli. The brand ventured into accessories, jewelry, perfumes, and eyewear early on, pioneering a lifestyle concept that was truly avant-garde for its time. In 1973, the maison shuttered with the passing of Elsa Schiaparelli, only to be resurrected 39 years later in 2012. However, it took a few more years before Daniel Roseberry assumed the role of Creative Director in 2019, reshaping Schiaparelli into the vision it embodies today(1)

Women's jumpers, courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from the Maison Schiaparelli website.

Roseberry's revival of Schiaparelli catapulted the maison back into couture's spotlight. By merging his creative genius with cutting-edge communication strategies, he crafted a surreal couture narrative that graced the world's most illustrious celebrities. From Lady Gaga's monumental appearance at President Joe Biden's inauguration to Doja Cat's iconic moments on the streets of Paris, Schiaparelli has adeptly adapted to the times, leveraging the power of social media to create pieces that captivate and allure an exclusive clientele.

Lady Gaga wears a Schiaparelli Haute Couture dress to sing the American national anthem, Archives Schiaparelli from the Maison Schiaparelli website. (1)
Doja Cat in Custom Schiaparelli Haute Couture, designed by Daniel Roseberry, at the Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2023 Schiaparelli show, from the Maision Schiaparelli website. (2)
Beyoncé in Custom Schiaparelli Haute Couture, designed by Daniel Roseberry, during the Renaissance World Tour, from the Maison Schiaparelli website. (3)

In 2009, Jacquemus emerged on the scene, founded by Simon Porte Jacquemus and  swiftly secured a place in the fashion firmament with its whimsical approach to fashion and avant-garde communication stragegies. In 2015, it clinched the LVMH Special Jury Prize, heralding millions in sales revenue. Over the years, the brand captured hearts with its distinctive runway spectacles and artistic presentations. Furthermore, it crafted an enchanting Mediterranean universe that the world yearned to be part of. Yet again, we witness a brand harnessing the power of social media, digital art, and installations to create a vibrant community around its imaginative vision. Jacquemus evolved into a lifestyle brand, transcending product boundaries by positioning itself as a luxury player for a youthful market, effortlessly blending high-end with ready-to-wear clothing, accessories, and footwear. This brand deeply resonates with the younger generation through its whimsical collections, compelling storytelling, and captivating campaigns. (4)

Bella Hadid as part of the "Le ChouChou" campaign, photo taken from the Jacquemus Instagram
Jacquemus boutique in Avenue Montaigne pop-corn installation, photo taken from the Jacquemus Instagram
Bella Hadid as part of the "Le ChouChou" campaign, photo taken from the Jacquemus Instagram
Jacquemus vending machine inspired boutique in Paris to promote "Le Bambino Long " handbag, photo taken from the Jacquemus Instagram
Bad Bunny at the Met Gala using Jacquemus next to Simon Porter Jacquemus, photo taken from the Jacquemus Instagram
Jacquemus venue for the collection "L'Amour" 2021, photo taken from the Jacquemus Instagram

Around the same timeframe, circa 2010, Coperni was born, courtesy of designer duo Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant. It secured a finalist spot at the 2015 LVMH Prize, the very year Jacquemus claimed the prize. Unlike the other two brands, Coperni is renowned for its modern, minimalist, and tech-inspired designs, encapsulated in its tagline, "Definitely not extravagant."(5) Furthermore, it diverges from the individualistic creative process of its peers, centering its creative journey around technology and the technological sphere (6). This approach found its zenith in the iconic spray-on dress donned by Bella Hadid in 2022, an Instagram-breaking moment that sent Coperni's sales soaring beyond expectations.

Bella Hadid in the Spring Summer 2023 Coperni Fashion Show at PFW, photo taken from Bella Hadid Instagram.
Images taken from the Coperni Website (7)
Coperni CD Player Swipe Bag, photo taken from the Coperni Instagram.
Coperni «The Wolf and the Lamb» FW23 campaign, photo taken from the Coperni Instagram.
Coperni Fall Winter 2023 Fashion Show at PFW, photo taken from the Coperni Instagram.

This concise recap underscores the stark differences among these brands. Their histories, visions, storytelling, aesthetic values, and brand positioning are indeed distinct. Nevertheless, what truly binds them is their capacity for innovation and their adeptness at crafting strategies that nurture communities and ensnare the attention of their audience through unparalleled experiences. However, as previously mentioned, the common thread that unites these French brands is their reluctance to engage in discussions about their environmental and social impacts, their sustainability strategies, and their societal commitments. As a collective, these brands have provided minimal transparency across their value chains, despite vocalizing their commitment to the planet's future.

The future of fashion: Transparency and Circularity

This author argues that there is no true innovation without sustainability, and regrettably, none of these brands has articulated a robust strategy. Are they, then, truly innovators? When directly asked about their non-financial reports, some of these brands have answered, through a source that will remain anonymous, that they “don’t wish to communicate on this matter”.  While this may not raise alarms for a substantial portion of their consumers, those following our weekly articles will discern why this issue is a cause for concern. For those who don't, fear not; keep reading!

Indeed, numerous factors shape the so-called "future of the fashion industry," and our aim here isn't to forecast its contours. Rather, we aim to underscore that these brands have overlooked avenues for innovation in transparency, circularity, and impact strategies. Such an oversight jeopardizes not only their standing in the industry but also their ability to evolve and thrive in the future, particularly in the cutthroat international marketplace.

Market forces demand increased transparency and accountability from brands. The younger generations, the very target audience of these brands, scrutinize producers and designers for their production practices and environmental impacts. Additionally, brands will face financial repercussions as the financial landscape tilts toward sustainable investments. By falling short of sustainability benchmarks, companies run the risk of forfeiting substantial financing.

Climate change puts at risk the very capacity to produce the garments we cherish. This year witnessed disruptions in the cotton supply chain in countries like India, China, the US, and Brazil, as droughts, torrential rains, and heatwaves imperiled the global fiber supply (8). This instance illustrates how the industry is at risk not just from market and financial perspectives but also from its contribution to climate change, which endangers its own value chains.

Finally, it's common knowledge that the EU is poised to reshape the fashion industry. Over the past decade, the EU has enacted regulations impacting design, production, and sales for brands. Non-compliant products will be barred from sale within the Union. Furthermore, regulations mandate companies to report on non-financial performance, encompassing environmental impact, social commitments, double materiality analysis, and due diligence throughout their value chain. For those well-versed in regulatory landscapes, it's evident that we're alluding to the CSRD, ESRS, and CSDDD. It's also crucial to note that all three of these brands are French, subject to additional regulatory requirements such as the AGEC and DPEF.

Up until now, regulation only impacted bigger groups and companies, but all three of these brands will now fall under the scope of these regulations. Are these companies ready to face the music?

Sustainability as the latest form of Innovation

While the previous section might seem disheartening, there is a solution to these challenges, and most of them can be leveraged for growth. By crafting a comprehensive sustainability strategy, implementing circularity throughout their value chains, and engaging in responsible communication about their impact, Coperni, Jacquemus, and Schiaparelli have the potential to solidify their positions as pioneers in the fashion arena.

A well-structured strategy can ensure their competitiveness in international markets, boost sales by reaching new and younger audiences, and even secure financing to foster innovation and expansion.

Coperni, Jacquemus, and Schiaparelli have indeed blazed trails through innovation, and this innovation, as we've witnessed, can take many forms. From fabric to technology, from community-building to individualism, these creators have carved out a niche as the latest vanguards in fashion, ushering in a new era of style. This author eagerly anticipates their continued creative brilliance but also hopes to witness greater transparency and sustainability woven into their future collections.

In a world where sustainability and circularity are increasingly essential, these brands have a unique opportunity to lead the charge, not just in terms of creativity but also in championing a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.

For more information regarding regulations, you can look into the following articles or reach out!