EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Wacoal Europe unveils brand refresh for SS18

Wacoal Europe has unveiled a brand refresh across its portfolio of lingerie and swimwear labels for SS18.

Laura Simon, an expert in brand communications and business strategy, joined the group as brand director in June 2016 and has been working to redefine Freya, Fantasie, Wacoal, Elomi, b.tempt’d and Goddess, applying new visual identities and interaction principles.

She previously worked for global brand agency Brand Union as director of business development and digital, and for WPP as global development director for P&G.

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“I also ran a digital agency, integrated it into a branding agency and a year ago I moved over to Wacoal, which is very exciting because the business has grown organically, and now it’s a time to reset and plan ahead,” she explains.

Wacoal Europe hopes to attract a younger customer to its Freya brand.

Wacoal Europe hopes to attract a younger customer to its Freya brand.

Over the last year, Simon has been driving brand recognition across the Wacoal Europe group after it became clear that some of the label’s identities had merged and become distorted.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with our sales team, sat in customer meetings, got lot of feedback and the thing that was very obvious was that, because we have growing organically, there has been times where people were saying ‘does that sit in Freya or Fantasie?’,” she says. “So, really, my role is about clarity and definition.”

With Freya, Wacoal Europe’s main goal is to attract a younger customer whilst retaining its existing customers.

“When we were in our heyday a number of years ago, Freya was all about being young and fashionable, but we have probably slightly aged with our consumer,” explains Simon.

“So it was about how do we stay loyal to our customer base but actually think about a slightly younger audience and getting them into the brand.”

Wacoal Europe has developed a communication strategy in order to speak directly to the Freya customer, in a way that is relevant to her.

Defining the Freya customer, Simon says: “She’s not the easiest person to design for because she’s out and about and she has different needs from her lingerie, so we need to remember that she’s working, she’s going out, she’s going clubbing, she’s going on dates and she’s into athleisure and casual wear.

“Personality and the values of our brand are really the things that will drive the brand. It’s about being experimental and being fun,” she continues.

Fantasie lingerie is designed for everyday wear.

Fantasie lingerie is designed for everyday wear.

Wacoal Europe has invested in social media and digital PR to communicate with the Freya customer.

“We’re working with influencers and creating content that entertains her and talks to her in a way she wants to be spoken to,” explains Simon.

“By doing that with Freya, it gives room for Fantasie to really come into its own,” she continues.

“The Fantasie customer knows herself, she knows her body and she just loves our products. So it’s really is about establishing Fantasie lingerie as a foundation for their day – it’s a ritual and it’s part of her life. So a lot of work has been done on Freya which will allow Fantasie to evolve.”

Wacoal is Wacoal Europe's most premium brand.

Wacoal is Wacoal Europe’s most premium brand.

With Wacoal Europe’s most premium brand, Wacoal, the group hopes to make the label more accessible to international markets, whilst retaining its chic, timeless style.

“I would say that Wacoal is still quite new to parts of Europe and there has definitely been some confusion about what it stands for,” says Simon.

“So we are taking the timeless classic and premium nature of the business and applying it to a mass market. We’re doing quite a lot of work across product to make sure it offers a variety of price points, but still falls in line with this timeless, classic style.

“We’ll also be working with influencers that these women are connected with and looking at what role Wacoal plays within that.”

Elomi has been growing organically for the last few seasons.

Elomi has been growing organically over the last few seasons.

Wacoal Europe is also working to connect with the Elomi customer on a more personable level.

“Elomi is a fantastic brand with amazing potential. It’s been growing on its own and the product really speaks for itself, so we’re going invest in going to market with the brand with a more outward message,” says Simon.

“We already know that curves are sexy, so it’s about making the brand more meaningful. It’s about femininity and the strength Elomi lingerie gives to women.”

Wacoal Europe’s main goal with the refresh is to connect with the consumer and create communities around its brands, thus allowing them to grow their audience further.

“I think the business has been very focused on product and that’s absolutely always going to be key, but we need to create clear brand identities in order to create emotional connections with the consumer,” explains Simon.

“I also feel like, because of the nature of the work that we’ll be doing, we’ll receive feedback from the consumer, which will in turn drive new product design.”

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