The lingerie market in Europe is very competitive and crowded. Both brands and retailers have been fighting hard to overcome slow growth and fierce competition. In the period between 1995 and 2007, the lingerie market in Western Europe has grown only by just 1%.1
In the times when many lingerie brands are making a huge effort to stay competitive, it sounds quite unthinkable to build a new brand of premium lingerie that can capture the attention of sophisticated consumers. However, just like in the shoe industry Jimmy Choo has become a strong brand over the course of just a few years, in a similar manner, the Dutch designer Marlies Dekkers has conquered the hearts and bodies of many fans across the world with her superb brand Undressed.
Marlies Dekkers is a Dutch designer from Rotterdam, whose bare buttocks dress attracted immediate press attention during her graduation show from Saint Joost Academy for Art and Design in 1991. An unusual and easily recognizable style of Marlies Dekkers's lingerie with its signature multiple straps also caught my immediate attention a couple of years ago. Since then, I've become a fan and a proud owner of several outstanding pieces.
I've also kept a curious eye on how Marlies was progressing with her successful efforts to raise awareness of her Marlies Dekkers Undressed brand. And each time that I went to www.marliesdekkers.com, I noticed new and improved content, page elements and visual identity. Marlies's collection presented during the Paris October 2008 show is definitely a culmination of her business acumen and artistic talent.
In the competitive lingerie market, Marlies Dekkers has a pretty good chance of becoming a true lovemark quite soon among many women in Europe and outside of it. I think that this is possible because the values of the brand match values and lifestyles of many modern women. The kind of woman who wears Marlies Dekkers is certainly sexy. She is also powerful and empowering, inspirational and self-confident.
The designer herself has no doubt put a lot of her own values and aspirations in the brand. Look at the video below. It's in Dutch, but even if you don't understand Dutch, watch Marlies's body language and listen to her voice – doesn't she come across as a woman of a lot of energy, persistence, enthusiasm and authority? These are probably also the qualities of a typical Unressed lingerie fan.
The empowering and funky brand of Marlies Dekkers is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year. In my view, Marlies Dekkers has been quite good at defining and communicating its brand values. The next step now would be to raise brand awareness, especially internationally as I feel there can be many opportunities for growth outside Western Europe. Going East within Europe and going into e-commerce seem like a couple of options that Marlies Dekkers could consider, among other things, in order to achieve better brand awareness globally and conquer hearts and bodies of more fans.