Gilly Hicks and the Australian dream
Gilly Hicks is an underwear and easywear brand marketed with an Australian image. However, its parent brand is the American Abercrombie & Fitch - Gilly Hicks, indeed, is also officially labeled as"the Cheecky cousin of Abercrombie & Fitch" - and there is no GH store in the whole of the Australian territory just yet. So, what is really going on here?
The Gilly Hicks concept
Gilly Hicks is one of those brands created and marketed as marketed as 'a lifestyle brand'. It was originally called Concept 5, it being the fifth brand created by America company Abercrombie & Fitch. Its ideator, A&F CEO Michael Stanton Jeffries, initially wanted to give the parent company a feminine counterpart, a brand appealing direct to female consumers.
The idea was to have the new brand competing directly with affirmed lingerie chains such as Victoria's Secrets and Aerie. And it was from the expression 'down under' that the Australian synapses finally exploded in Mr Jeffry's brain: we can just imagine how, during one of those steamy brainstorm sessions the AF CEO came up with the concept that was to become the core of Gilly Hicks.
A whole story was created around the fictional character of Gilly Hyick, a young British woman who studies fashion in Paris then moves with her family to Australia, where her great adventure in the fashion world begins. Gilly opens an underwear shop within her family's British colonial-style manor house in Sydney's Rose Bay neighborhood.
The year is 1932, or so the story goes. Gilly's bras are so comfortable and sexy that women from across the continent start to flock to the Hicks' mansion, enjoying not only the quality of Gilly's products but also the fascinating stories of travel and the joyful atmosphere at the Hicks. Beautiful, isn't it? None of this is real, but it's nevertheless the reason why the Gilly Hicks brand is marketed as Australian and being established in 1932.
This concept is behind the choice of styles, designs, attitude of the whole of the GH collections created form the 2007o nwards, as well as those of the stores themselves. These, indeed, are designed as a home with multiple rooms, with portraits of the legendary Gilly hanging a bit everywhere.
Dream or Spoof?!
So, how does it feel? Supposedly, the whole Gilly Hicks narrative aims at creating an experience for the consumer, who is invited to live 'the Australian dream' of the fictitious character of this one successful, happy young woman that never really lived, outside, perhaps, our collective imagination.
A bit like a cheeky, Aussy, feminine counterpart of legendary Levi's Strauss. I wonder: was the parent brand A&F so devoid and jealous of such deep roots and traditions to resort to make some up? Or where they trying to fool no one, rather play a game with customers? Mmm... choice is your: check out the America brand with an Australian spirti, in store and online at this address: