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Business model of Coco Chanel’s fashion and design industry

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Born on August 19, 1883 in Maine-et-Loire, France, Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was raised in a poor family of 5 siblings that depended on the father's income as a clothes street vendor for sustenance. In 1895 when Chanel was 12 years of age, her mother Eugénie "Jeanne" Devolle died of a respiration illness leaving the family under the care of the father, Albert Chanel (Tomerlin, 1975). Due to the demanding nature of his work, Albert was compelled to relegate his two sons to farm laborers while he sent Chanel and her two sisters to the convent of Aubazine in central France. The Roman Catholic convent was dedicated to the care of poor and orphaned girls, and it is in this monastery that Chanel spent the next 6 years of her life (Mullaney, 2011). While at the convent, she studied tailoring and honed her skills during school vacations when female relatives taught her sewing techniques. Chanel left the Aubazine monastery when she reached the age of 18 and took residence in a Catholic girls' boarding house in Moulins (Tomerlin, 1975). It is while residing at the boarding house that she gained employment as a seamstress at a local tailoring shop.

Despite her underprivileged background, Chanel used her couture skills to become one of the most acclaimed fashion icons. Her influence on the fashion industry was in essence a revolution from the conventional corset fashion that dictated an hourglass silhouette was the most acceptable form of fashion (Haedrich, 1972). To the contrary, Chanel introduced and popularizing female sports and casual chic wear that defined female fashion in the post-World War I era. Gabrielle "Coco" Bonheur was listed as the 100 most influential people of the 20th century due to her beyond couture designs, followed by her other merchandise. Her brand model showed her ethic style uses which struck the hearts of many women.

[...] Retrieved from Qatar University Database on 22, December 2012. Lynam, R. (1972). Couture. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc. Madsen, A. (1990).Chanel A Woman of Her Own. New York: Henry Holt and Company. Mullaney, M., M. (2011). [...]

[...] Chanel used her clothes to underscore the minimalist female elegance, a phenomenon which increased her popularity, prevalence in the industry and brand recognition in the 1920s. It is therefore evident that by engaging in the design of hats as a leisure pursuit, Chanel was able to develop a passion for the craft. Her passion for design led her to create dresses and outfits that completely altered the outlook of femininity in the fashion industry (Lynam, 1972). By doing what she loved, Chanel was able to redefine the post WW1 fashion industry of the 20th century due to her unique designs and fragrance (Hilton, 2012). [...]

[...] Mademoiselle. Illinois: Henry Regnery Company. Haedrich, M. (1972). Coco Chanel: Her Life Her Secrets. Canada: Little Brown & Company. Hilton, L. (2012). Coco Chanel The legend and the life. TLS- The Times Literary Supplement. [...]

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