- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Men’s tailoring brand Suitsupply is no stranger to controversy. Not only is the brand known for its affordable, yet quality suits, the Dutch label has also managed to make a name for itself thanks to its ‘controversial’ advertising campaigns. While some have labeled the brand as sexist and chauvinistic, others claim that the brand’s founder and CEO, Fokke de Jong, is marketing genius. Over the years the brand has released numerous, sexually-orientated campaigns, such as a man in a well-cut suit surrounded by a colony of naked models or miniature men in suits exploring the vast mountains of a giant model’s breasts. This messaging is clear - the suit gives the wearer power and power makes them more sexually attractive.
Fokke de Jong: "The attraction between people is an important part of fashion advertising."
It’s latest campaign for Spring/Summer 2018 is no different in that regard - except for the fact that the nearly naked women have all been replaced with handsome men in suits, highlighting the potential attraction between men. “While pride and love are celebrated in many parts of the world, it is generally left out of mainstream advertising,” said Suitsupply in a statement on its campaign. The new SS18 campaign, which includes a short film and several images of men in the collection having relationships with each other, has been widely displayed in nearly 100 Suitsupply stores across 22 countries as well as on billboards, bus stops, and tram stops. While the majority of the public and media have applauded Suitsupply for choosing to celebrate all forms of love, some have been quick to criticise the Dutch brand for taking a stance on sexual orientation. Suitsupply lost close to 15.000 followers on its various social media platforms, as homophobic individuals rallied together online to call for a massive boycott of the suiting brand.
Fokke de Jong: "A campaign featuring the attraction between men was long overdue and particularly relevant for our brand."
However what critics of Suitsupply fail to comprehend is that so rarely does an advertising campaign illicit such a strong, emotional response. Whether you believe in equal rights for all and praise Suitsupply for shining a light on gay love, or if you would rather not be confronted with images of two men kissing during your daily commute to work - everyone has an opinion and is affected by the campaign. This in turn only further cements Suitsupply’s unique branding model and ensure it continues to stand out from any other tailoring brand. Establishing such a strong branding position is no mean feat - it is something that takes months of planning, together with money, energy and a solid long-term vision. Some may think Suitsupply took a gamble with its SS18 campaign, but de Jong’s gamble has certainly paid off - the brand gained more than 30.000 new followers on Instagram alone in the first few days since the campaign launch. So how did Fokke de Jong managed to build such a unique and controversial brand? Yankeemagazines takes a look at the rise of Suitsupply.
Photos: Courtesy of Suitsupply