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Fashion brands seen as everyday families

An exploration of the industry's strongest marketing tactic with the illustrations of Alessandro Valli

Fashion brands seen as everyday families   An exploration of the industry's strongest marketing tactic with the illustrations of Alessandro Valli

According to sociologists, a modern generic definition of family is 'an intimate group of people related to one another by bonds of ancestry or social interests'. In most cases in today’s society you’ll find families who are bonded together by different types of common denominators (be it blood or shared interests), and at the pinnacle of this, is its creator — the mother or father, which brings this group together. 

When it comes to the world of fashion, many may argue that the industry is one big extended family tied together by the blond strands of Anna Wintour’s razor-sharp bob. While this may be true to an extent, in retrospect, it’s impossible to ignore that during the last decade, brands have been finding favour in the method of curating their own families of brand representatives as an effective PR strategy. During the past few fashion seasons, one couldn’t help but notice that each show had their army of influencers and personalities, all seated together in the front or second row with distinctive aesthetics seamlessly in line to that of each brand. It is as if each creative director gave birth to a set of people who not only represent the brand on an aesthetic level but also on an ethical level. 

When you think about it in terms of a biological family, all children are a product and literal offsprings of their parents. Who you are, your moral foundation is a manifestation of your parents’ principles. While brands may not have spent decades rearing their circles of ambassadors & influencers, the group of people who are chosen to represent them, who they choose to dress and platform says a lot about the brand itself. Not only regarding their marketing competencies but furthermore on an ethical level, especially in this age of political correctness. A combination of the visual & ethical dynamics of each brand’s “family” is what helps make them appear more or less appealing and aesthetically sets them apart from each other. 

Illustrations by Alessandro Valli for nss magazine 


When one thinks of a brand like Gucci for example, visually their family aesthetic has become one of the most appealing of all brands. They metaphorically represent the family down the street with a huge abstract designed mansion. A family that hosts all the best parties & has two gay dads who are rich hippies who don’t wear shoes and who have adopted over 10 children from all different continents, all of whom study some genre of liberal arts and are all gender fluid and very socially aware. In their free time, this family goes to women’s rights & LGBTQ+ protests, host group sèances to communicate with their ancestors and every now and then will have a hit of weed or mushrooms to keep the mind at ease. 

Both during the shows and on Instagram, their diverse group of influencers and celebrities have been known to carry the same outlandish quirky aesthetics of the brand’s chief Alessandro Michele that keeps people interested, each Gucci child is separately visually intriguing, but the entire flock altogether has an even greater impact. The brand identifies themselves with influencers, personalities and celebrities from all over the planet, who all share a similar appetite for a more eccentric style of doing things. In more recent years, they’ve also aligned themselves with influences who are influential advocates for social change, from LGBTQ+ rights to racial equality to gender equality. A Gucci show is the space where one can find the most peculiar mix of people, from rappers to activists to artists of all kinds and nationalities. 


Prada, on the other hand, has come to represent an equally impactful group image within the industry. They are the family with a white picket fence, whose lawn is filled with aesthetically cut topiary and other advanced forms of horticulture. Their mother is a chic CEO of some big company who still hand makes lunches for all the children and the father is a stay at home dad. They’re what many would refer to as the perfect family. They too have adopted numerous children from all areas of the world who are all straight-A students and all very socially aware and ahead in all their classes. They ONLY wear formal clothing that is on-trend and in season, apart from that brother-sister teenage duo who have an obsession with competitive skiing and sailing and therefore only wear nylon and sportswear. In their spare time, this family goes shopping for fine art, attends gender and racial equality protests, and boasts about the drastic eco-friendly changes they’ve made to their home to better the environment.

Within the past few seasons, Prada has aligned itself with people who are a mix of social changemakers as well as celebrity stardom. The visual aesthetic is one that is clean and sharp but every now and then involves flashes of colour. A Prada show is where one can find artists, musicians, activists & celebrities of all kind brought together under the same traditional aesthetic. 



Another name whose ambassadors have had a strong collective visual presence over the past few years has been Versace. This family is run by a single supermom, who addresses herself as a cool mom and has an over-decorated house with flashy colours and expensive cars. Her hair and nails are always done and she is continuously on her iPhone in contact with her suppliers for her multi-million dollar interior design studio. She too has multiple children, a biological daughter who is secretly her favourite and multiple others who have all been adopted from several different continents. They are well taken care of by their hired nannies and are all coincidentally extremely photographic and very popular in school. The girls only wear outfits that show off their cleavage and the boys prefer fitted shirts that show off their muscles. During their spare time, this family goes tanning or surfing on the coasts, shopping in Via Montenapoleone and occasionally hosts big fancy house parties.

Throughout the years, Versace has affiliated its name with a strong celebrity presence. During shows, one can rarely find an attendee in the front row with less than 20K followers on Instagram. It has become a hub for fame and a strong presence for female sexuality. In the past season, the brand has found a favourite in Jennifer Lopez, and other names that help to endorse their concept of a certain aesthetic of exclusive luxury which largely consists of celebrities and mega influencers. 


Since Off-White’s launch in 2012, Virgil Alboh has gained a cult of hypebeast devotees who follow blindly and faithfully towards his predictions of trends. This is like a family with an influential paternal head who has an entire troop of mini versions of himself and supporters who cheer him on like the crowd of a football match although most of the crowd is in the VIP areas of the stand. He’s a heteronormative father with a collective of famous friends who probably knowingly defines himself as a cool dad. He is one that has an actual day job but is an artist by association and the way he defines himself. His figurative offspring are a mix of overgrown pre-teens and young adults of assorted backgrounds, some of whom are the actual head of their social circles and others who are complete wannabes. What they wear depends on the season as they all stay up-to-date with all the latest drops and merch but all seem to have some strong sentimental attachment to yellow industrial belts which they are rarely ever seen without. On weekends this family hosts house parties for friends where their dad’s celebrity friends occasionally make appearances; visit museums where they buy expensive art with no meaning & play competitive sports with no intentions of winning. 

Abloh’s circle is filled with a blend of supermodels and celebrities who lend an unwavering wave of support. His brand’s aesthetic appeals to a younger crowd of trend chasers who idolize him as the generation’s design salvation. The brand has a list of successful items, but throughout the last few years, the one which has gained the most notoriety is the yellow utilitarian belt which appears in the Instagram feeds of every young aspirer who wants to either seem on trend or are attempting to break into fashion. 



French designer Simon Porte Jacquemus launched his label a decade ago, but in the past five years, he has established his aesthetic as one of the delineate representations for female sensuality. He’s managed to assemble a circle of belles who campaign for his brand like Girl Scouts advocate for their organization. His family tree resembles a gay father at the helm of a troop of teenage girls as brand daughters/heirs. They live in a minimalistic mansion by the beach and all happen to be very attractive and quite popular in school. They too only wear garments that enhance their cleavage or bare backs as they all beam with unprecedented sophisticated confidence in their bodies which they accentuate with their handmade seashell anklets. Half of them spend their spare time surfing, scuba-diving & nature walking while the other half spends their time clubbing, shopping and getting manicures and pedicures - however, they all spend hours curating perfectly-lit Instagram posts. They’re probably also all either vegetarian or vegan in efforts to keep themselves in shape. 

Throughout the past few seasons, Jacquemus has gained the support of all the it-girls on and off Instagram. His French summertime aesthetic has resonated with supermodels, celebrities and influencers of the moment who range from the naturalistic to the cosmetic surgery gurus.


6. Philipp Plein

Philipp Plein’s aesthetic has come to be known as one of the more risque families on the fashion block. Here is a family that is run by a single father, who is very fond of the company of women and is also obsessed with fancy cars and jewellery. The patriarch also has several adopted children but most of the time he prefers for the attention to be on him. His followers all overdress with jewellery and clothes in ways to complement their big egos and are most times out of touch with social issues. In their free time, this family goes to Formula 1 events & hosts massive house parties.

Plein’s social presence in fashion has grown to largely overshadow the presence of his supporters. The brand caters to an audience of ambassadors with a taste so flashy to the point where it can be questionable. He’s known for his love for expensive cars and over-sexualised women and for a great extent, his brand’s circle consist of people who support such causes.


Aside from the ones listed above, like families, there are many other types of fashion tribes which exist. Some who are more concrete and others who are more dispersed; some who are more morally appealing and others who shy away from getting involved in social activities; some who are more visually enticing and others who are rather visually perplexing.Nonetheless, now more than ever we are seeing family values replicated by brands as the entire industry has come together as one to do their part in fighting the current health crisis. It's both inspiring as it is a glimmer of hope that reminds us that with a collective effort we will all be able overcome the issues ahead which face us.