Case Study

Noir/Illuminati II (A): Defining socially responsible affordable luxury clothing

17 pages
September 2009
Reference: IMD-3-1909

Peter looked out of his window. His window. He liked the sound of that. It had taken him 15 years of discipline and hard work to reach this point. And 2007 was going to be the year of Noir/Illuminati II. So far, after nine months, it looked very promising. Peter Ingwersen founded the companies in February 2005. The two entities were like Siamese twins; Noir designed and produced luxury clothing for women, while Illuminati II was set up to produce high quality cotton fabrics both for Noir and other leading fashion brands. Together, they provided the basis for a totally new concept in fashion. Over the years, Peter had attended many fashion shows all over world and had become both aware and very concerned by the total lack of “social substance” of many of the major fashion companies. Was fashion just the ultimate personalization of some of the worst aspects of human behavior? Was it all about egocentrism and showing off? Could something be done to bring back meaning and substance to the world of fashion? Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was making its way into most other industries: why could it not infiltrate fashion? Was there any way to improve the “feel good” factor of beautiful clothes with a clear social responsibility message? Could egocentrism rhyme with eco-friendliness? Conceptually it was very clear: Noir/Illuminati II would define socially responsible affordable luxury clothing. Putting the concept into operation was the real challenge. Building a brand on social awareness, or the guilt of conspicuous consumption, could clearly be a two-edged sword. Would customers buy the story? Even more pressing, would investors follow him in this venture?

Learning Objective

Developing a brand, building CSR into an offering, fair-trade concepts, certified organic productions, managing growth in the fashion business, corporate communication, financing fast growth, product positioning.

Corporate Social Responsibility, Ethics, Fashion, Funding Growth, Venturing, Brand Building, Fair Trade, Organic Production, Positioning, Retail Concept
Noir Illuminati II Holding, Manufacturing, Textile, Consumer Goods, Apparel and Fashion
Field Research
© 2009
Available Languages
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Teaching note, Video
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