Posted by adminMarch 1st, 2008
Sports goods maker Puma appointed fashion designer Hussein Chalayan as its creative director in a bid to vault its style status to the next level marking itself out from rivals like Adidas. Puma, the world’s third largest sportswear maker, made the announcement during Paris Fashion Week where Chalayan presented a critically acclaimed womenswear collection for fall 2008.
“We want to be different, that’s the idea behind this. We don’t want to be mass market and selling to discount stores, we just want to keep a premium,” Puma Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz, told Reuters in an interview at the presentation.
Chalayan is famous for his thought-provoking designs, would bring his use of new technology and provocative point of view to Puma, Zeitz told a news conference. Zeitz is credited with turning Puma into a lifestyle brand and making it one of Germany’s best-known exports.
Collaborations with designers are a regular feature in the cut-throat retail industry as the world’s biggest brands seek to differentiate themselves and lure in ever-pickier consumers. Puma, has already worked with edgy, top rated designers Alexander McQueen and Jil Sander.
Meanwhile German rival Adidas has seen its business boosted by its long-term collaboration with Stella McCartney, whose top end fashion house is owned by Puma parent company PPR.
Bernstein Research analyst Marco Giovanelli said the deal was a signal Puma was aiming to move upscale in fashion terms. If anyone doubts the logic of marrying high fashion with sports gear look no further than the price tag on some of the new basketball runners.