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Is GUESS A Luxury Brand? All The Details You Need To Know

GUESS is a global lifestyle brand that many of us know and love. GUESS first appeared on the fashion scene in the 80s.

Since then, it has cemented itself as one of the most recognizable fashion brands in the world.

GUESS outlet
Image by Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia

We can’t deny the popularity of GUESS. Its campaigns have featured celebrities and fashion icons alike, and captivated generations.

GUESS is a fashion brand, but is GUESS a luxury brand? That’s what we’re here to find out.

What is luxury?

To understand if GUESS is a luxury brand, we first have to understand what luxury fashion is.

To be considered ‘luxury’, the brand must meet certain criteria.

The first one that comes to most people’s minds is price. The more expensive it is, the less attainable it is for the ordinary person.

This makes it more exclusive.

GUESS outlet
Image by Rowanlovescars via Wikimedia

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you see someone in designer clothing?

Most people would say that person is wealthy. This is one of the main reasons people buy luxury brands in the first place.

Next is scarcity. Some luxury fashion brands only create a specific amount of an item.

This is to keep demand high, as well as prices, driving up the resale value.

Craftsmanship, sophistication, heritage and service are also important factors in luxury fashion.

More recently, social responsibility has become as important.

There has been a lot of pressure from environmental groups, as well as the general public.

Now, sustainability and ethics are more prominent in the fashion industry.

Now we all understand these factors, it will help to answer the burning question: Is GUESS a luxury brand?

Paul Marciano
Image via Guess

Heritage: About GUESS

GUESS took the fashion industry by storm, and it’s all thanks to the genius of four French brothers.

The Marciano brothers’ first design was the iconic stone-washed slim-fit jeans.

They called it the 3-zip Marilyn, a pair made of high-quality, lightweight denim.

The brothers began what’s considered a fashion revolution.

The jeans first appeared in Bloomingdale’s in 1981. To their surprise, the stock of 24 pairs of jeans disappeared within a matter of hours!

By the end of 1982, the brothers had sold roughly 12 million dollars worth of jeans.

It was time to expand, so the iconic black-and-white campaigns hit major fashion cities all over the world.

This wasn’t without its problems. GUESS faced legal dilemmas, as do many up-and-coming companies.

Still, the company persevered, and GUESS launched several collections. These included perfumes, watches, bags, shoes, and even GUESS T-shirts.

Exclusivity: Are GUESS products exclusive or scarce?

In 2004, the brothers introduced Marciano. Its purpose was to appeal to a more elegant woman seeking higher quality products.

One could compare this to the sophistication of Chanel at a much lower price point.

There’s also GUESS Factory. This extension of GUESS gives customers access to past seasons’ merchandise.

GUESS Factory also supplies overstocked and discontinued GUESS products. These are not sold at a premium cost like other luxury brands, and the resale value is poor.

Expect reduced prices.

Price: How much does it cost?

Most people associate luxury with a high price tag. Is GUESS a luxury brand if it doesn’t have the same price tags as other luxury brands?

The most expensive product from GUESS is its Louise Leather Puffer Jacket for women.

For $648, you get a puffer jacket with a printed foil design, leather yokes and a funnel neckline.

On the lower end of the spectrum is its Logo Band Boxer Briefs. At $14, it’s the price of an entire pack of male underwear in your favorite department store.

You get a simple boxer brief with the GUESS Logo printed around the waistband.

As for Marciano, the most expensive item you’ll find is this Emotions Sequin Dress for $600.

It’s definitely a show-stopper, adorned with sequin fringes and a plunging neckline.

The least you can expect to spend with Marciano is $48 for its Multi-Tone Chain Earrings.

They have a unique chain-link design for girls who can’t decide between silver and gold.

G by GUESS is sold in department stores like Macy’s and even on Amazon. This should say a lot about the prices.

Prices here range from $9.99 to a little over $230.

Brand associations: Celebrity collabs

GUESS doesn’t have the same price point and exclusivity as the most well-known luxury brands.

Yet, its collaborations are coveted in the fashion world.

One of the first GUESS girls (1987) was Carla Bruni, a world-famous model of the 80s and 90s.

German supermodel Claudia Schiffer followed in 1992. A year later, it would be sex symbol and actress Anna-Nicole Smith’s turn.

Drew Barrymore’s fresh face and wild-child persona made her GUESS campaign an instant hit in 1993.

Brazilian bombshell Adrianna Lima’s turn came in 2000. And, in 2003, French model Laetitia Casta’s face was broadcast around the world.

Other notable GUESS collaborations include:

  • Naomi Campbell (1991, 2016)
  • Alessandra Ambrosio (2000)
  • Paris Hilton (2004)
  • Kate Upton (2010)
  • Amber Heard (2011)
  • Jennifer Lopez (2018)

Luxury brands as investments: Resale value

Luxury items like Birkin bags, Chanel purses and Rolex watches are investment pieces.

These top-quality fashion products have high resale value. Consumers can spoil themselves with luxury items, with the potential of greater returns.

This is the “shopping to sell” trend you may have heard about on social media.

As for GUESS, the resale value is very low. The only thing driving its resale value is the vintage clothing trend.

But, as you know, trends come and go rather quickly in the world of fashion.

Plus, GUESS Factory already has massive discounts. There’s no point in buying GUESS to resell.

Craftsmanship: Quality of make/quality of materials

GUESS is known for its high-quality jeans, but that’s about it. Most of their materials come from mass production centers in Asia.

Countries like China, Bangladesh and Korea offer some of the cheapest materials.

More recently, its manufacturing factories moved to countries like Mexico, Peru and Chile.

Here, labor is cheaper than in the U. S. This is why GUESS can sell its products at the prices it does.

Don’t expect your GUESS handbag to be made of fine leather from Italy. The company uses a lot of faux leather, and materials like satin and cotton for their clothing.

With GUESS, you’re getting what you pay for.

Design: Aesthetic, creativity, sophistication

GUESS is more of an everyday brand than a head-turner. Unlike other luxury brands, people may not be able to tell you’re wearing GUESS right away, unless there’s a logo.

There isn’t a stand-out GUESS piece that you must have. Even the design of the original pair of jeans has been replicated so many times that it isn’t something to desire.

You can get the same look from any department store jeans, or fast fashion brands like Zara and Shein.

GUESS watches aren’t that big of a deal either. They’re more of an affordable fashion watch than anything else, and can’t hold a candle to Rolex or Cartier.

We’d put them on the same level as Micheal Kors, Calvin Klein and Kate Spade.

The same is true for GUESS shoes, handbags and other accessories.

Responsibility: Ethics and Sustainability

GUESS has committed itself to being a more responsible company. It even launched its own eco-clothing line.

They aim to reduce their environmental impact by using eco-friendly and sustainable materials.

The company also has an in-store recycling program. It offers customers 15% off for returning unwanted clothing.

GUESS also works alongside the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM).

This helps the young fashion designer embrace environmental responsibility.

It teaches concepts like zero-waste pattern making, responsible denim production and material innovation.

The company’s plans for 2023-2030 include:

  • Increasing sustainability by 30%
  • Reducing supply chain carbon emissions
  • Using up to 50% recyclable packaging
  • Making accessories and footwear from 100% recycled materials
  • 100% recycled or biobased polyester material for their main clothing line

GUESS also has several social responsibility programs. These include only working with international suppliers who follow labor laws.

Their goals for 2024 include women’s empowerment seminars and job training programs.

As for their direct hires, diversity is a priority. The company prides itself on inclusive hiring practices and healthy working environments.

Service: Customer experience

GUESS offers its customers various options to access its products. This is very different from luxury brands that market to an exclusive clientele.

GUESS has its own storefront with the option to walk in, pick up and even ask for same-day delivery.

Customers can also enjoy a customized shopping experience. They can make appointments with the GUESS store of their choice.

This includes a personal stylist to help navigate your needs and encourage you to try new things.

There’s also a subscription program for customers. If you qualify, you’ll receive the latest styles based on your preferences.

They even have a points-based benefits service for frequent shoppers. You can get a $10 reward for every 200 points earned.

GUESS offers a 2-year warranty for products like watches. But, the customer must report the defect within 2 months from the date of discovery.

Final words: Is GUESS a luxury brand?

GUESS markets itself as affordable luxury. But, there’s a difference between true luxury and premium fashion brands.

Is GUESS a luxury brand or a premium brand?

Luxury brands are exclusive, have a high price point and don’t appeal to the ordinary consumer.

They are made of the highest quality materials and cater to the rich and famous.

True luxury brands such as Chanel, Balenciaga, Dior and Prada have good resale value.

Premium brands target a larger audience. These are people who can afford to spend a few extra dollars on their clothing.

The resale value of premium brands is relatively low. They do, however, offer better quality than mass-produced fashion brands.

Premium brands include Coach, Diesel, Calvin Klein and DKNY.

Our conclusion is that GUESS is a premium brand.


What type of brand is GUESS?

GUESS is a global lifestyle brand that exploded onto the scene as a creator of trendy denim in the 80s.

Today, it’s associated with affordable luxury, creating clothing anyone can enjoy.

Is GUESS a luxury brand? No. But, it is a premium brand.

Is GUESS still a popular brand?

GUESS has remained relevant since the 80s, and it doesn’t seem like it will lose popularity anytime soon.

Consumers who want premium products at an affordable cost shop at GUESS.