GUESS Europe launches Guess Z Lab in partnership with Lifestyle-Tech Competence Center and Microsoft
Institutional Communication Service
30 May 2021
GUESS Europe, Lifestyle-Tech Competence Center (LTCC), and Microsoft announced the launch of the GUESS Z Lab, an innovative concept designed to collaborate and co-create with Generation Z. The first workshop took place on 20 May 2021 at the GUESS Europe headquarters in Bioggio and was attended by thirty-two students from USI and SUPSI, while a second event dedicated to international students is planned for the fall, not to mention the potential launch of an in-depth digital platform in 2022. GUESS Europe thus wants to open up to younger consumers, listening and exchanging ideas directly with them.
Gen Z, the generation born between 1996 and 2010, is one of the largest ever and comprises about 30% of the world's population. "We were looking for a project that would connect us with the most important part of our current and future market, but do it in an innovative way that feels natural to the digital natives we're trying to reach," commented Paul Marciano, Chief Creative Officer at GUESS?, Inc. "We want the project to be a conversation, a two-way dialogue. We know that, from them, we're going to get amazing insights, but we also want to present our business and show what it means to build, position and grow a brand."
Guess Z Lab, one of the first projects of the Lifestyle-Tech Competence Center, of which GUESS is a founding member, aims to co-create experiences and products that speak directly to this generation. Students and GUESS employees will collaborate side-by-side in generating new ideas. At the same time, marketing, sales, e-commerce, and advertising executives will discuss and test ideas live with design thinking models.
"LTCC was founded with the idea of growing local expertise. This project, in collaboration with Ticino universities, allows us to engage with the Z generation and expose them to the reality of what it means to build and position a brand," comments Carlo Terreni, President of LTCC. "Any brand that intends to target young consumers must open up to Gen Z and actively engage them, learn how to attract them and support them in their future career paths. Our mission at LTCC is to foster these initiatives in established companies through collaboration with the Big Tech and, in this case, directly with consumers."
Giving back to society
The Guess Z Lab is also a way to facilitate students' access to fashion industry knowledge, with internships at the Brand's headquarters and supporting them in preparing their theses. The first workshop is dedicated to USI and SUPSI students in Ticino. The idea is to move internationally and open from next fall to Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. "It was fascinating to get a deeper insight on how a fashion brand develops ideas for product design and what needs to be considered during such a process beyond taste and creativity. It was also inspiring to play the game of a possible customer for the brand, thus providing Guess with ideas that could be implemented in future collections," said Sofia Iannucci, a digital fashion communication student at USI. "I learned so much in just one day, and I can't wait to see what else I discover."
"We are delighted with these kinds of collaborations because they allow our students to experience first-hand innovative projects from leading fashion companies, such as Guess," says Dr Nadzeya Kalbaska, academic coordinator of the Master in Digital Fashion Communication, the "double degree" study path offered by USI with Paris 1 Pantheon University.
A solution for digital natives
The goal for 2022 is to create a unique online platform to continue the conversation with Gen Z internationally. "From the beginning, as a founding member of LTCC, Microsoft has been involved in studying new digital projects that will serve as benchmarks for the future of the lifestyle industry," said Andrew Reid, General Manager Services & Support EMEA at Microsoft. "We are excited to contribute our technical know-how to the digital expansion of this project in 2022," commented Luca Callegari, Director of the Specialist Team Unit Division at Microsoft Italy.
Founded in 1981, GUESS began as a jeans manufacturing company and has since successfully grown into a global lifestyle brand. Guess?, Inc. designs, markets, distributes and licenses a lifestyle collection of contemporary apparel, denim, handbags, watches, eyewear, footwear and other fashion-related consumer products. Guess? products are distributed through single-brand stores and in leading department and speciality stores worldwide. As of 30 January 30 2021, the Company directly operated 1,046 retail stores in the Americas, Europe and Asia. In addition, the Company's partners and distributors operate in an additional 524 retail stores worldwide. Also, as of 30 January 2021, the Company and its partners and distributors were present in approximately one hundred countries worldwide. For more information about the Company, please visit www.guess.eu.
The LifestyleTech Competence Center is a Swiss-based association to foster innovation and synergies among leading partners in the lifestyle industry. In particular, it aims to foster collaboration between companies and academic institutions, encouraging technology and knowledge transfer in fashion, food, media, health, design, travel, smart-cities, eGovernance and tech. LTCC founders include Accenture, Bally, Dagora, Guess, Hyphen, Loomish, Microsoft and Swiss universities SUPSI and USI. For further information: https://lifestyletechcompetencecenter.com/