Those who grew up pre‑millennium know how much of a retail giant Guess really is. The brand with a famous question mark conjures images of seduction and 1980’s bars and discos—a nod to the decade where it was at its prime—even if at some point, the Guess frenzy died down. The brand which flourished at a time of scripted, loopy texts on too‑tight tees got lost among newer fast‑fashion brands that in 2015, Forbes wrote a far‑from‑glowing report entitled “The Epic Fall of Guess Jeans and the Marciano Brothers,” which quoted Bridget Weishaar, an analyst from investment research provider Morningstar, as saying: “You need new management. Some new blood… You need a new brand image. You need to be relevant to today’s youth.”
True enough, despite the seeming absence of Guess in the active vocabulary of millennials, long lines formed outside its boutiques when the ’90s‑influenced Guess Originals x A$AP Rocky hit stores in February. After six gruelling months, two collections under this collaboration—GUE$$ Club, and Ice Cream and Cotton Candy—are now available in Guess’ Philippine boutiques.
Both collections capitalize on the very material which made Guess famous: denim. Oversized and cropped denim jackets, cut‑off shorts, and low‑ and high‑rise bell‑bottom jeans in a variety of light to medium washes are some of the key classic pieces which were included in the collection to make it more street‑style yet reminiscent of the days when a young Claudia Schiffer was still modelling for the brand.
Both collections play with color. GUE$$ Club infuses light colors such as mint green, blue and pink to the pockets, sleeves, and edges which add a fresh and unique vibe. The GUE$$ Ice Cream and Cotton Candy designs, meanwhile, uses pastels and the trademark pinstripes of A$AP Rocky to breathe life to logo tees and retro shirts.
Another pleasing feature is the collection’s nostalgia. GUE$$ Ice Cream and Cotton Candy collection includes cropped jackets with the faces of ’90s icons on them, as well as rocker skinny jeans from the ’80s, and button down skirts. The GUE$$ Club has logo tees and the vamped up classic pieces in basic colors which are anything but stultifying.
The collaboration of Guess with recording artist A$AP Rocky (which WWD calls “fashion’s favorite hiphop muse”) seems to follow a trend among retail brands. Think Kanye West’s collaboration with Adidas to create the reasonably priced Yeezus, which definitely stirred some incredible hype and was sought‑after in no time, and Selena Gomez’ collaboration with both Adidas and Coach, or model Gigi Hadid’s collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger which was reportedly sold out the day after the collection was unveiled.
The GUESS Originals x A$AP Rocky collaboration is no different, though A$AP Rocky is no Kanye/Selena/Gigi Hadid. But A$AP Rocky’s identity as a hip‑hop rapper brought a street‑style vibe to the line, which definitely attracts a lot of millennials. And while Hypebeast reported Guess’ $21.3 million‑loss in the first three months of the fiscal year and share prices that wen down 39% over the last 12 months, this endeavour, a major departure from their traditional designs, should put the $$ back in GUESS.