Abstract: Emerging Markets: Giorgio Armani and the Designs of Expansion

John Potvin


In an increasingly competitive world market, some Milanese designers have opted to have their couture garments produced in China or by illegal Chinese immigrants in Italy rather than turning to costlier traditional handmade craftsmen. With his very elaborate vertically segmented marketing and design strategy, Armani retains the production of his higher end line (commonly referred to as "Black Label") in Italy, whereas his cheaper, diffusion lines are often produced off-shore. This paper seeks to highlight the unique and tense relationships between the global and national, tradition and progress, and craft and technology in the ways Armani ever increases his market share in emerging markets. In other words, in this new climate of global expansionism and ethnic influences, how does Armani successfully translate the ideals of "Made in Italy" to a global culture? This paper will vacillate, as the designer himself does, between a discussion of business and a discussion of aesthetics to demonstrate how Armani has created the most successful global fashion house in Italy.