By Masoom Gupte
For any average been-out-on-the-town-at-least-once person, the word ‘stag’ will hardly be unfamiliar. In club parlance, single men, not implying their relationship status but rather alluding to the company of the women folk, are referred to as ‘stags’. Conscious decision to draw on this pop culture phenomenon or not, a stag as a first-time brand logo for a predominantly men’s clothing brand, is sure to find a connect.
Say hello then to the stag that now represents the brand that fashions itself the Friday dressing expert, Allen Solly.
After being around in India for almost two decades, the brand has taken on a logo. Originally from Nottingham, UK, the brand was taken over by Madura Garments in the early nineties, which was in turn taken over by the Aditya Birla Group around a decade back. The logo is in honour of the brand’s heritage and its roots.
Previously, there was a coat of arms, comprising of multiple elements such as Allen Solly monogram, the ram and the stag. While the ram was representative of the English wool industry, the stag was the symbol of the city of Nottingham. “It is a complex symbol, amalgamating different elements. Though each element individually has meaning, it may be difficult for the consumer to decipher it. So to simplify the visual association, we chose one element to be conveyed to the consumer,” says Sooraj Bhat, brand head, Allen Solly.
The overhaul in the brand identity is not restricted to the logo though. The brand will continue to re-emphasise its positioning as a Friday dressing player, but this effort will be accompanied by a new retail identity. The reason to turn a new leaf range stems from the need to stay relevant in an India where one is up against top global competition.
The exclusive Allen Solly outlets are being redone with the concept being reminiscent of British architecture, again reiterating the brand’s heritage: white brick walls, stag heads mounted on the walls, casual cash counters etc are expected to bring alive the retail experience.
The first ‘new’ Allen Solly store opened in Bangalore early June this year. The brand currently has a footprint of 140 stores with plans to open another 30 over the next four months. Bhat says, by April 2013, at least 40 stores will be redone in the new format. Each store will attract an average spend of Rs 30-40 lakh.
Friday dressing will now mean ‘work appropriate’ casuals. That paints a vast landscape of competitors, meaning any players outside the formals space. The problem is, the clothing trends and fashions are changing rapidly. For instance, the current generation focuses more on looks than comfort. This calls for re-inventing oneself not just in terms of designs but even fundamental aspects like cut and fit.
Broadbasing its reach, the brand now has casual wear lines for women as well some extent of formal wear options, besides clothes that fit the ‘Friday dressing’ billing.