GUESS Europe, the Lifestyle-Tech Competence Center (LTCC), and Microsoft are proud to announce the launch of the GUESS Z Lab, an innovative concept conceived to collaborate and co-create with Gen Z. The first workshop took place yesterday at GUESS Europe HQ in Bioggio with 32 students from Ticino universities USI and SUPSI, with a second workshop with international students planned for the fall, as well as a potential launch of a digital insight platform in 2022. GUESS Europe aims to open up to young consumers, listen, and exchange ideas with them directly.
Gen Z, a generation born between 1996 and 2010, is one of the largest generations ever, comprising around 30% of the world’s population. “We were looking for a project that would connect us with the crucial part of our current and future market but would do so in an innovative way that would feel natural to the digital natives we are trying to reach,” commented Paul Marciano, Chief Creative Officer for GUESS?, Inc. “We want the project to be a two-way conversation. We know that we will get extraordinary insights from them, but we also want to give them exposure to the business and show them what it means to build, position, and grow a brand.”
Guess Z Lab, one of the first projects by the Lifestyle-Tech Competence Center, of which Guess is one of the founding members, aims to co-create experiences and products that speak directly to this generation. Students and GUESS employees will ideate hand-in-hand: marketing, sales, e- commerce, and advertising managers will discuss and test ideas in live design thinking environments.
“LTCC was founded with the idea of growing local competencies. This project, in collaboration with local universities here in Ticino, gives us a chance to engage with the Gen Z audience and expose them to the realities of building and positioning a brand,” comments Carlo Terreni, LTCC President. “Any brand which plans to engage with young consumers needs to open up to Gen Zers and actively engage with them, learn how to attract them and support them in their future careers. Our mission at the LTCC is to foster these initiatives in established businesses through collaboration with big tech, and in this case, direct with consumers.”
The Guess Z Lab is also a way to give the students easier access to knowledge about the fashion industry, facilitate internships with the brand’s HQs, and support their thesis. The first workshop centres around USI and SUPSI in Ticino. The idea is to go international and open up to students from Poland, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK this Fall. “It was really interesting to have a deeper insight on how a fashion brand develops the ideas for product design and on what needs to be taken into account during such a process beyond taste and creativity. Additionally, it was stimulating to play the game of a possible customer for the brand, thus providing Guess with ideas that could be implemented in future collections,” said Sofia Iannucci, a digital fashion communication student at USI. “I learned so much in one day and I cannot wait to see what else I will discover.”
“We gladly support such industry-academia collaborations that allow our students to discover first-hand innovative projects being run by leading fashion industry players, such as Guess”, suggested dr. Nadzeya Kalbaska, academic coordinator of the Master in Digital Fashion Communication, offered as a double degree by USI (Lugano) and Paris 1 Pantheon University (Paris, France).
A digital native solution
In 2022, our ambition is the creation of a unique online platform to continue the conversation with Gen Z internationally. “Since the beginning, as a founding member of the LTCC, Microsoft has been involved in creating new digital projects that will serve as beacons for the future of the lifestyle industry,” commented Andrew Reid, General Manager Services & Support EMEA at Microsoft. “We are excited to contribute with our technical know-how to the digital expansion of this project in 2022.” Commented Luca Callegari ,Enterprise Solution Lead Microsoft Italy.