To: Adrian Joffe, President of Comme des Garçons International

Dear Adrian,

Comme des Garçons has pioneered a new model of creation and ownership over the almost 50 years of its existence, fostering a thriving horizontal ecosystem of brands and retail stores. No other company has the breadth and the depth that Comme does, not to mention the modernity and flexibility ingrained in the company’s mentality.

As you set out to launch CDG, your first direct-to-consumer brand, there are a number of opportunities to learn from the continuing success of PLAY, as well as the emotional and creative resonance of the main label collections, to assemble a new middleground that still brings a high level of taste and desirability to the line.

CDG comes with the benefit of Comme’s pre-existing audience, but how can you ensure that your direct-to-consumer business rises above the cacophony with so many other brands competing for similar customers—most of which are spending massive amounts on marketing?

Here’s one idea about how to do it.

Launch the CDG Thread.  

Given the dynamic release schedule that is possible with the direct-to-consumer channel, there’s an opportunity to ground the brand in visual aesthetics, but with an evolutionary ethos, rather than repeating the same CDG logo across all of the merchandise.

PLAY is instantly recognizable because of its blood-red heart logo, a visual cue that connects all merchandise under one umbrella since it is always present. This throughline makes sense for entry-level products to the Comme world, both from a visual and production standpoint as the PLAY business can leverage the same asset over and over again. But in between PLAY’s lower price point and Comme’s runway lines, how can CDG, predicated primarily on its eponymous logo, tell an evolving story that doesn’t burn out?

What if each CDG collection had a visual reference to the previous collection, creating a blossoming visual thread between each drop? For example, if the core visual of the maximalist Breaking News release was the repeating CDG that covers the box and currently peppers the website, maybe the next collection is a minimalist take on the logo that shrinks it down. This will inform a new thread for the third collection, and so forth.

With CDG, you have an opportunity to continue to write a book with endless chapters, as opposed to runway collections, which embody entirely different books, or fast fashion, which makes a new page only to discard the last one.

It would also indoctrinate your Breaking News CDG preview concept into the brand’s future, imbuing an element of suspense and excitement for CDG for the long haul. This evolving visual thread would also make the products highly collectible, since each drop is connected to the one before and after. For customers, buying into a piece means owning part of the visual evolution of the brand.

This is one idea that would differentiate CDG from other direct-to-consumer brands while fashioning a unique place and purpose within the Comme ecosystem. It would also help keep your marketing costs low while scaling the brand, something few other direct-to-consumer companies have been able to achieve. Let me know if you’d like to hear more.

Richie Siegel
Founder and Lead Analyst
Loose Threads