Giorgio Armani Plans to Make AX Armani Exchange a Fast Fashion Brand

The designer has acquired full control of the offshoot brand and plans to revamp it.
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Tyler McCall
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The designer has acquired full control of the offshoot brand and plans to revamp it.
Giorgio Armani. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Giorgio Armani. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Italian designer Giorgio Armani is famously controlling of his name and brand, forever refusing to name a designer who could potentially fill his shoes when or if he ever retires.

Well, now he's extending that control to AX Armani Exchange, a venture launched with his licensing partners in 1991. Armani announced via WWD on Thursday that he has purchased the remaining 50 percent of the business that he did not already own.

He expressed hopes to turn the brand into a fast-fashion line to rival the likes of Zara and Topshop. It will help that AX Armani Exchange already has a large footprint; the brand has some 270 doors worldwide. 

Armani plans on funding this new venture with money made across his brands through the Giorgio Armani Group, which reported an 18.2 percent increase in operating profits last year, leaving the company with 700 million euros ($924 million) in liquid assets. 

This would make Armani the first high fashion designer to launch his own fast fashion brand, which is an interesting concept. Would he, like his would-be peers, find "inspiration" in the runways of others? Would he need to essentially knock off his own designs? While it seems like a smart business move, it could also prove to be a conflict of interest.

Reps for Armani did not respond to multiple calls and e-mails for comment.