Of Designer Names And All

Yesterday, my parents and I went shopping…As you may or may not know, I hate this activity with all my heart, but being the good daughter that I am, I tagged along with them (what if my mother got lost in her shopping haze?)…We went to this high-end mall which had only designer boutiques…

Dad: “You know, I have aΒ theory…You can’t be a world class designer if you don’t have an exotic name…Look at all the stores around you…Do you see even one with John Smith or Chandu Patel written on the sign board?

I looked around…Sure enough all I could see were stores, sorry boutiques, with names like Karl Lagerfeld, Ermenegildo Zegna (can anyone pronounce it?), Zara, Chanel, Luis Vuitton, Georgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent (I thought this brand was dead), Valentino, Gucci, Versace, and Dolce & Gabbana on them…Then I spotted Ralph Lauren…

Me: “Look, there’s Ralph Lauren, my favourite designer…He has a pretty normal name and he’s one of the best…”

Dad: “But his designs are classical in nature, not adventurous and that’s why people like you like his stuff…So, a non-exotic name works for him…But even the name Ralph Lauren has a high class tinge to it…I feel if a designer wants to make a name for himself or herself today, he or she needs to have an exotic non-Anglo Saxon name…Let’s see who has a chance of making it using this criteria…Aha! Sabyasachi Mukherjee…He has a chance…”

Me: “You are just saying that because your name is Sabyasachi…But yes, you are right…He has a ‘different’ name…”

So, tell me what you guys think? Does my dad’s theory have some merit?

P.S. I forgot to include my dad’s favourite designer name: Salvatore Ferragamo…


32 thoughts on “Of Designer Names And All

  1. Oh yes, I completely agree on that one. You know like someone with ‘Singhania’ for a surname, definitely is visualised with money and panache, whereas a simple Gupta or Verma, don’t usually have that impact. I did not believe in that much, but have observed that of late. We had a guy called Karan Oberoi in office, and he stood miles apart in terms of style and class from the rest. Now what do I say???

    Me: Oberoi is a name with panache…Ghose is unfortunately not 😦 I think sometimes people even get jobs because of their names…


    • I would think Ghose has a very elite feel to it, and I mean it. On my end, i find both my surnames, maiden, and the one I have now, are very regular n mediocre, has no class/appeal attached to it. And my name…. uff, let me not even get into that.

      You know what, I also believe that over time, people grow into their names.

      Me: Your married name is exotic, not run of the mill like Ghose…


  2. If quality is good even Arvind Mills might become par Armani – people get used to a name ..on a different parallel – whoever thought schwarzenegger would be a household name..but guess what it is.

    Therefore exotic name or a simple name is immaterial unless the offering is superior.


  3. Yes πŸ™‚ and I love Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s designs mostly not much on his muse though. She murdered it this time at Filmfare. I love the rich Indian colors he uses.

    Me: Who is his muse? I hope not Kareena…


  4. I honestly feel that its not all designing. There is a huge amount of publicity, patronage (paid/unpaid), lending of clothes by designers to so called Page 3 types for parties. So all these Mall types with unpronounceable names are the ones who are good at it. Anything is called fashion. Whoever thought that showing bra straps on shoulders by making weird necklines was “fashion” ? Kanjivarams with tube tops ? Hmmm.

    Why do I think that a few years down the line, you might just look at brand Gangubai, and have someone rapturously announce that A Jolie wore Gangubai to the Oscars ?

    Me: Gangubai – that’s a good one, Suranga…But yes, who knows…Everything these days is about marketing and branding, and cool exotic names help with that…And I agree with you, the mall types are the ones who have succeeded in duping people to buy their stuff…


    • Once a girl was telling me about her penchant for Prada and such. I snubbed her saying, “I don’t believe these expensive brands can make up for our lack of self-worth”. She suddenly became defensive and started talking about her humble side. I did something similar to a wine ‘connoisseur’ with similar results.

      The west has mostly moved away from snobbery and filthy lucre. We haven’t – thanks in part to our ELM and Bollywood.


    • I hope that happens . the thought is a lil funny but a good one. Gangubai to the Oscars. hmmm

      PS:-Vinod Sir is right. All the exotic sounding names of apartments(specially in NCR region Gurgaon and all) act as lures fo the janta.
      Maple Heights. Sunset Boulevard. (yes, there is one in saadda Gurgaon)


  5. Never given it a thought, but now that you mention it (or your dad rather), have to admit there’s a point!! πŸ™‚

    Me: Such epiphany is the result of waiting for your wife to find her way out of a store…And a sore bottom from sitting on a wooden bench for more than an hour…


  6. Your dad is right. Why just clothes alone? Haven’t you noticed how new residential projects have also all got exotic phirang names? Forget that too. Does anyone remember a certain failed struggling actor name Krishna Bhanji? Of course not. But everyone knows who Ben Kingsley is!


  7. I guess your dad is right. Though Donna Karan has a pretty regular sounding name, but she’s a name to reckon with in fashion.

    Me: There are exceptions…Even though Donna Karan is a a regular name, she’s changed it to DKNY to add zing to her brand…Anyway, I like most of her stuff…


  8. I agree with your dad, Sraboney. At least the name helps get a first glance. Perhaps people would not continue with the brand later, if they did not like it…


  9. Many a times, this has occurred to me too. Some names have a successful ring to it. I don’t know if that is a mandate but it seems like it. Just look around u. I always think, wow, how did his parents arrive on that name! πŸ˜€


  10. I’m from Fashion background but some how never thought of it this way…but now when I am thinking about it.. I totally agree with your Dad. ;D
    Seriously… he has a point… a designer brand needs a well designed name. If the name is “too normal” or “too simple” … to many people it will not sound like a “designer name”.

    Hey …would you mind if I write post in referance to this one? πŸ˜‰


  11. Do you see even one with John Smith or Chandu Patel written on the sign board? πŸ˜†
    I like Uncle. πŸ˜€ and yeah he is right. even people with ‘normal’ (some would say boring) sounding names have changed their names and made it exotic after entering certain professions or just before making it big.
    Exotic sells like nothing else does.


  12. It does look like your dad has a point! Most of the names have something that stands out. I guess with the kind of competition there is, an eye catching name could make all the difference πŸ™‚


  13. I don’t think name matters at least to me. I liked Sabyasachi’s creations before I knew who designed them. I am sure if he was called Amit Verma or Chandu Verma I would have still thought the same πŸ™‚

    But an eye catching name does help I am sure πŸ™‚


  14. Maybe the name matters for ppl to take a closer look and if on inspection it is good, the product might do well in the market.

    Our curiosity is kindled by a new, stylish name and at that point, starts the marketing of the product to us.

    Liked your Dad’s theory !!! πŸ™‚


  15. hmm,never thought this way earlier… Maybe we have an affinity towards whitish names,that we categorize names..

    My friends say that Nimmy is uncool,but Nimz is cool.. πŸ™‚


  16. What’s in a name, a designer’s name?

    U know what, if Jolie wears Gangubai (lol UK) to the oscars this month, that would have all the fashionistas at her doorstep! Ur dad has a point, exotic unprounucable weird spelled names get a second look, but the quality cannot be judged by the name…and as somebody has already said, marketing baby is the trick…

    Like Fungi is so boring while Algae sounds nice.. the sounds and music of it πŸ˜›

    Me offf!

    Me: Yeah, the product has to be good for the business to last…


  17. I was going through the comments and I realized I`m the only one who sounds like a complete idiot here! May be because I really have nothing to contribute πŸ™‚ I know nothing about designers or how good or bad they are πŸ™‚
    I wish I had an opinion though πŸ™‚ Or better still, learnt to keep quiet when I didnt have one πŸ™‚
    Just dropped by to say hi.

    Me: Thanks for dropping by…Hi!


  18. I think the jazzy,difficult to pronounce names are all about marketing and publicity for brands. Its just an effort towards making the name stand out from rest πŸ™‚ I liked your Dad’s observation


  19. Has it got anything to do with most of the famous designers being Italians with Italian names? And Italians being traditionally great ‘designers’ – Leonardo, Michaelangelo, Rafael, Donatello, Sonio? πŸ˜‰


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