Stored and Adored

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

About Akris: "The Biggest Fashion House You've Never Heard Of"

stored and adored designer bag blog: akris fashion house

Akris is a big fashion brand, and it's the largest Swiss clothing producer in the world - but it's possible, even likely, that you haven't heard of them before. Akris don't really do much in the way of advertising, and for a long time they exclusively focused on their target customers - power-dressing business women. But don't let this put you off in the slightest; although the brand's aesthetic is still smart and minimalist, Akris is slowly expanding its design output. In 1996, Akris launched Akris Punto - a clothing collection with a smart-casual sportswear vibe - and in 2009 the brand launched their first collection of luxury handbags.

storedandadored designer bag blog: about akris

Akris' headquarters are based in Gallen Switzerland, where the brand was first launched back in 1922 and a region renowned for the production of luxury textiles. Akris is still family owned - with the founder's grandchildren running both the design and financial/manufacturing sides of the business - but it now also has over 200 employess. The brand doesn't disclose it's yearly figures, but it's estimated that their sales are between $350 - $500 million dollars a year. In under a hundred years, the Kriemler/Kriemler-Schoch family have built a seriously popular and profitable fashion house. 

Although they're a Swiss brand, and each luxury piece is still produced in Switzerland, Akris is probably most popular in the United States. Akris began selling in the US in 1988, and today over 40% of their sales occur in North America. Akris only have 18 boutiques worldwide, but they sell in over 300 retail outlets and are one of the best-selling department store brands in the world. Since 2004, Akris have also been showing their new seasonal collections at Paris Fashion Week, definitively establishing their position among the fashion elite.

stored and adored designer bag blog: about akris

Akris' worldwide expansion has been slow and deliberate and the brand's 2009 expansion into luxury accessories seems to coincide with their interest in breaking into the Asian market, where luxury accessories are particularly popular. As part of this expansion, Akris bought out a small 80-year-old German accessories company called Comtesse, who specialise in designing and producing luxury horsehair fabrics. After a year of hard work, and with the expertise of Comtesse's artisans, Akris produced its very first collection of designer handbags including a series of bags made from woven horsehair.

The Financial Times' comment about Akris being "the biggest fashion house you've never heard of" is very apt, and I'm constantly surprised that the brand isn't talked about more often. In an age of tackily prominent branding and "look at me" design, Akris' luxurious minimalism is beautifully serene in comparison. I personally think quite highly of Akris' designer bags, and I'll soon be featuring reviews their Alex and Ai designs. 

Have you heard of Akris before?

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