As if Gucci wasn’t already the it-brand of the moment, the Italian fashion house recently launched a collection of fashion memes, branded “#TFWGucci,” and the Internet has a lot of feelings about them. The memes were commissioned by Gucci and crafted by several popular Instagram artists, photographers and meme creators to promote the brand’s new collection of “Le Marche des Merveilles” watches.
The memes were first launched via Instagram with each caption crediting the artist and a brief bio explaining their claim to meme-making fame. There are over 30 memes in total, with some emulating popular memes, such as one created by @champagneemojis, which features a close up of a model’s clenched fist while he wears a yellow sweater, jeans and of course, a Gucci watch. The caption reads, “When your girl doesn’t notice your new watch,” which is meant to pay homage to the popular Arthur meme that swept the Internet last fall. Gucci also tapped artist @pollynor, who created her signature cartoon devil wearing a Gucci watch, green fur coat and sunglasses with dollar bills raining down and the caption, “Me: I need 2 start saving money 4 the future *gets paid*.” Other standout memes include a “Gucci starter pack,” made by @yovegotnomale, a “Me vs the guy she says I shouldn’t worry about” meme by @cabbagecatmemes, and an art history meme fashioned by @egeislekel that depicts an old oil painting reimagined with a Gucci watch and backpack.
Unlike its competitors, Gucci isn’t branding to target the 30 and over crowd, who are more likely to afford their products. Instead, it’s collabing with street artists like Gucci Ghost, promoting all-Black fashion campaigns, and enlisting photographers like Petra Collins to shoot for them. By targeting a younger audience, Gucci is expanding its fan base and attempting to market its products as the new must-haves of the moment.
But the question remains: Will it work? Are millennials willing to starve or forego rent payments in order to afford a new Gucci watch?
Most probably aren’t. Some critics have remarked on the underlying issues with Gucci’s marketing strategies, noting that the memes feel too forced. If Gucci has to explain the meaning behind the memes to its audience, who are they really marketing to?
Gucci, however, isn’t the only brand tapping into the wealth of online super-stars to boast their status with the Internet savvy. Earlier in January, the man behind famed meme account, @fuckjerry, aka Elliot Tebele, who boasts 11.5 million followers on Instagram, walked in Milan Fashion Week for designer Ermenegildo Zegna’s fall/winter men’s show. For its own fall 2017 runway show, fellow Italian designer label Dolce & Gabbana casted a mix of Internet-famous influencers and models to walk, including Venezuelan Viner Lele Pons and popular style blogger Aimee Song. Maybe this all points to signs that high fashion is trying to become more relatable to younger crowds, but at the same time, it’s doubtful that we’ll be seeing debt-ridden post grads wearing head-to-toe Gucci anytime soon.