Many fashion brands rose to prominence over the decades. Trends come and go; our fashion statements constantly change. But no matter how demanding the business gets, certain brands are already embedded in our hearts. Guccio Gucci and Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel are both highly respected names in the world of fashion, and as they celebrate their 100th year in the industry, let us get to know their humble beginnings; behind the glitz and glamour were two then ordinary people who proved that nothing is impossible when you put your mind and heart into your dreams.
Guccio Gucci had typical low-paying jobs as a teenager. He even worked as a dishwasher and a waiter. At 16, he decided to settle in London to work as a lift attendant, and working in the hospitality industry exposed him to the elegance of wealthy people – taking note of their stylish luggage in particular. He learned about these people’s taste in fashion – the quality of their belongings, the fabrics, and even their luxurious lifestyle.
At 40, he returned to his hometown in Florence, and carrying everything he learned about fashion, he went on to revolutionize the leather industry. It is one of the most successful grandeur brands to ever exist. Gucci is known for its gorgeous craftsmanship; they use high-quality materials and are keen even to the smallest details. To sustain the skyrocketing demand on leather, he successfully explored alternative materials to keep the business running. Up to this day, Gucci is still one of the most beloved brands for its innovative and timeless designs.
COCO CHANEL AND PARFUM N°5
Released on the 5th of May in 1921, Parfum No. 5 was the first among Coco Chanel’s (Gabrielle in real life) creations. She believes number 5 is her lucky number, thus the name of her iconic perfume. Unlike Gucci, Coco’s life is relatively more difficult as she was born in a poorhouse, with her mother working as a laundry woman and her father, a street vendor. She stayed in an orphanage following the death of her mother. She had to remain under their care until she was 18. Despite the disheartening turn of events, this place played a significant role in her career because it was during her stay that she learned how to sew.
She started her career as a hat designer, and as the business thrives, she started selling clothes as well. Coco was known to be stubborn. In fact, too stubborn for a woman in such an era. Her revolutionary designs were not only elegant; they were liberating as she dared to create dresses that were short enough to show women’s ankles and legs, which was uncommon during her time. Her designs are also comfortable and it freed women from physically-restraining corsets. The 1900s wasn’t an ideal time in history for women. Coco Chanel uplifted and empowered them through her creations.
She is one of my biggest inspirations; I try to incorporate her strong feminine ideas in both my personal life and my brand. As a woman whose world revolves around fashion and the application of positive thinking, these two icons leave a strong influence in my life. Both Gucci and Chanel’s works remind me to always adapt to the ever-evolving demands of our lives.