Luxury goods brand Mulberry is looking to the design world for guidance as it implements its plans for global expansion.
The business, famous for its luxury accessories and leather bags, is making graphic designer Georgia Fendley responsible for marketing and communications as it intends to open up to 20 stores world-wide in the next year.
Fendley says she sees design as an integral tool for moving the brand forward and making it appeal to international audiences in the US and Middle Eastern markets. At present, two thirds of Mulberry’s business comes from the UK, but Mulberry’s chairman and chief executive Godfrey Davis has made no secret of his plans to improve overseas awareness of the brand to secure long-term growth. The move towards expansion comes as analysts predict that an economic downturn will be tough for brands such as Mulberry which operate in the aspirational luxury market.
‘I am keen to find the best design talent to create the feel of the Mulberry brand, with its connotations of Britishness and nostalgia, in our new retail stores,’ Fendley says. She adds that Mulberry does not have a design roster and is keen to support British design talent. She says, ‘I hope to use designers to help us create a brand which will receive wider recognition in places like the US, where we have five stores, and to make us stand out in the luxury market from other British companies such as Burberry.’
Design groups that have worked on interiors for Mulberry include GP Studio, which completed the interiors for the company’s store in Leeds which opened this month, and Four IV, which created its Heathrow Terminal 5 and Covent Garden men’s accessories stores. As founder of graphic design and brand strategy consultancy Construct and former managing director at Four IV, Fendley’s connection with Mulberry goes back to 2001 and she has worked on strategic projects for the brand. She will continue to direct Construct simultaneously.