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4 ways Paul Marciano & Guess revolutionized the American fashion industry

Paul Marciano and his brothers came from the south of France to Los Angeles for a vacation. But, they soon realized that this was the place they wanted to be and live the American dream.

Paul Marciano 

Paul Marciano and his brothers came from the south of France to Los Angeles for a vacation. But, they soon realized that this was the place they wanted to be and live the American dream. They all moved to LA and Paul Marciano and his brothers established GUESS in 1981. In only one year, sales from the company was six million dollars.

From the beginning, Paul Marciano was the driving force behind the brand’s new way of advertising that leads the company 37 years later! Guess caused a dramatic change in the fashion world, and made just as big as a splash in the marketing and advertising world.

1. The Jeans

The biggest part of the brand’s market is the jeans. Guess was among the first companies to create designer jeans. In the early 80’s, It seemed unlikely that a new entry into the denim world could be successful in such a tapped-out market. But the Marciano’s made the denim a must-have piece in every household. Everyone had a pair of GUESS jeans. If you were one of the unfortunate persons who didn’t have a pair…you wanted a pair!

The first jeans they created were fitted tightly and featured zippers at the ankles. Innovative for that time, the jeans were stone-washed, giving them a softer feel and lighter colors than typical denim jeans. They also featured what would soon become the distinctive Guess triangle on the back pocket. Even today, their jeans are one of the company’s best sellers.

2. The Advertising


GUESS advertising campaigns are well known for their avante-garde and creative images. GUESS advertising has been awarded nearly every distinguished design award.

Thanks to Paul Marciano, who was in charge of the marketing of the company, GUESS has always been inventive, especially when it came to ad campaigns. GUESS ad campaigns were always attention grabbing. Although he had no previous advertising experience, Paul Marciano created campaigns that re-invented the way jeans, and clothing, were sold. The innovation: Instead of adopting the typical studio design, Paul brought GUESS jeans, and the models wearing them, outdoors, using grainy black-and-white photography and provocative poses.

When images are in black and white, they seem timeless. When you see Carrie Otis in an ad from 1989 next to an ad with Klara Wester from 2009, you don’t see a 20-year difference between the pictures”

Paul Marciano

3. Creating an Icon


A lot of the models who were chosen to be in the ad campaigns for GUESS, were little known at first. The controversial ads and their sexy Western look swiftly created household names not only of the GUESS brand, but also of its models. Effectively starting the supermodel trend that would make many of the “GUESS Girls” – including Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Eva Herzigova, Anna Nicole Smith -international celebrities.

Paul Marciano had the gift of finding the “next icon” and he made most of models, after featuring in his campaigns, a super-models. For example: Featuring a “curvy” Anna Nicole Smith offered a stark contrast to the traditional “thinner” models who other brands exclusively marketed.

4. One-Stop Shop

The ideal GUESS customer has a style, taste, sex appeal, glamor, and high quality clothes. Over the years, the competitors increased and so GUESS decided give the customer the full and complete GUESS life style with jeans, accessories, shoes and image. GUESS became a one-stop shop for all styling needs. When you have an upcoming date, special event or just want to look good, all you have to do is come to GUESS store and be dressed from head to toe.

GUESS has always been seen as on the cutting edge, with trendy, styles, and campaigns. Paul Marciano takes the latest styles and trends and put their own unique twist on them. Today GUESS is a global lifestyle brand with a full range of denim, apparel and accessories offered in over 80 countries around the world. Ultimately, that is how GUESS fashion mogul Paul Marciano revolutionized the American fashion industry.
You can visit
Paul’s linkedin for more information about him. 

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