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How Gucci Became Popular



Gucci, a unit of Kering (OTCMKT:PPRUY) has consistently been idolized and promoted by big rappers in the industry.

Founded in 1921 and initially specializing in leather goods, Gucci has been referenced by rappers since the very beginning of hip hop. Outkast did it, Ghostface Killah too.

Atlanta rapper Radric Davis went as far as adopting the moniker ‘Gucci Mane’. Future, meanwhile, famously pronounced that he’d engaged in intercourse with “your bitch” while wearing Gucci flip flops, and ‘What’s Gucci?’ replaced ‘What’s good?’ in the hip hop lexicon, thanks to Kanye West.

But, save for the odd Gucci monogram or red and green stripe motif, Gucci has been used in a host of rappers’ work as a way of denoting wealth and taste, without having to spell it out explicitly.

The brand’s heritage speaks for itself, playing into a notion of luxury which acts as a counterpoint to most rappers’ humble beginnings.

Not long ago, these items would have been considered tacky. Gucci had a brief moment of streetwear popularity back in the ’90s, when rap stars and gangsters clothed themselves head to toe in products plastered with Gucci logos–some of it authentic, some bootleg. Back then, Gucci’s leadership didn’t want the brand associated with these consumers, so the brand aggressively sued manufacturers of counterfeit products.

Today, Gucci has shed its once-imperious identity. The brand now partners with Harlem tailor Dapper Dan, the man who first made Gucci popular with the hip-hop crowd, and rappers are now all over Gucci again. In 2016, the name Gucci was splashed all over the lyrics of 2 Chainz, Pusha T, and Tyga.

It is possible to identify the exact moment Gucci got its cool back.

In January 2015, Gucci appointed a new CEO, Marco Bizzarri, who had previously led Stella McCartney and Bottega Veneta. Bizzarri immediately brought on a new creative director, Alessandro Michele, who earned his design chops apprenticing under Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi, and is known for his eccentric maximalist taste. In three short years, the pair have transformed Gucci into an exciting, modern brand that has won over the under-35 set–an achievement that recently earned the company a place on Fast Company’s list of the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2018.

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Ivy Heffernan, student of Economics at Buckingham University. Junior Analyst at HeffX and experienced marketing director.