Brothers Georges Marciano, Maurice Marciano, Paul Marciano, and Armand Marciano founded Guess in 1981. The Marciano brothers weren’t new to the fashion industry, as they had opened up a series of clothes stores in France called MGA before they moved to Los Angeles and founded Guess. The four Marciano brothers each had a different speciality, and their range of skills helped the brand get off to a spectacular start. Georges designed the clothes and was arguably the most important founder, but Armand was the practical, nuts-and-bolts brother, in charge of distribution and Paul was in charge of advertising.
Despite the brand’s high-fashion aesthetic and prestige, there’s a pretty funny origin behind the specific Guess name. The brothers had been struggling to come up with a good name for the new company and they drove past a McDonalds billboard that asked people to guess who had the biggest cheeseburger. When the brothers got home, Georges told them all that he had their name!
The brand grew rapidly in the ‘80s, becoming almost synonymous with ‘designer jeans’, which was a new, trendy fashion term at the time. After Guess’s success with denim, they branched out to offer a range of watches for men and women. Then, following many of the big American designer brands, Guess also diversified into baby and children’s clothing in the form of sub-brand, GUESS kids. The brand really gained prominence thanks to infamous black and white advertising campaigns featuring several leading models such as Claudia Schiffer. Just as important, however, was the release of Back to the Future — that’s right; Marty McFly wore Guess denim clothing! Guess’ meteoritic rise was attributable to their remarkable ad campaigns starring a plethora of A-list stars, such as Claudia Schiffer and Jennifer Lopez.
The nineties weren’t so kind to Guess and, after developing a range of homeware, the brand’s sales began to decline. Brands such as Calvin Klein and Diesel were the new and trendy names everyone wanted to wear and Guess drifted into the background. In the early 21st century, a new generation of teens began to take an interest in the brand after Paris Hilton featured in several ads. Sales began to pick up and today the brand has returned to the forefront of youthful fashion and is once again one of the most recognisable labels in the world. Furthering their reputation as a youthful brand, Guess takes their corporate social responsibility very seriously. Guess has several initiatives in place to reduce the amount of production waste and in particular become good water stewards.
This resurgence brought diversification as Guess began to expand into new markets, creating collections of shoes, fragrances, and designer sunglasses. The eyewear industry has become an increasingly huge part of the overall fashion industry; Guess’s sunglasses range marks its complete return to form! Guess has put a lot of work into its eyewear range and it has drawn critical acclaim for its young, sleek, and sexy aesthetic.