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Design & Style

Brand Extensions

Diane von Furstenberg

Lesson time 11:35 min

Careful collaborations can drive your brand's growth. Diane shares her techniques for selecting brand partnerships, and avoiding pitfalls.

Diane von Furstenberg
Teaches Building a Fashion Brand
In 17 video lessons, Diane von Furstenberg will teach you how to build and market your fashion brand.


Because, I mean, this is something that you use. It's for the woman. There's an awful lot of women who use Tatiana. And they have this. And I mean, you can't shut this in your bag. You get in . The revolutionary little dress is still the main staple of the von Furstenberg empire, but now a new line of cosmetics and jewelry has been added. This is good. Usually when you begin to be successful and have made a name for yourself-- little name-- big name-- you will be offered to do licensing-- licensing deals. Licensing means that there are some companies that make, let's say, eyewear, right? Eyewear company will come. And they will say, we would like your name. We would like your brand in order to put it on eyewear. And then they usually pay you, sometimes a minimum guarantee, and the royalty. According to how valuable your brand is, your bigger your royalty will be. Licensing business is a great business because you have very little risk and you make money. And it enhances your brand. That is the good things. The bad things is that you don't always have control, even though you try to make a contract where you get a lot of control, very often you don't have the control. Or maybe they don't respect it. So it means that you may have designs that you don't really want or you don't really like. Or the distribution may be a little larger than you expected. And so you have to be very careful at choosing your licensing. Sometimes you have great license that elevates your brand, like when I did my collaboration license deal with H. Stern for the fine jewelry. That elevated my brand. And it introduced my brand in Brazil. So you have to be careful and choosy. And then sometimes you go for a brand that has a much wider distribution because you do it for money. And it's very important that, again, it's the purpose of the company that you sign a licensing with have the same purpose as you-- that everybody is aligned. And that is the most important thing to do. License is a long-term contract. Collaboration is a short-term thing. For example, I didn't do a license with GAP. But I had a great collaboration with GAP for children's wear. And it was very successful. And it made a lot of money. And everybody was happy. But I didn't really want to have a license with them because otherwise it would become too [? much ?] for too long. But if I kept it as a collaboration for two seasons, you created a sense of urgency. And it wasn't spread too out. So you have to play very carefully. 1975 is when I had the idea of going into the beauty business because my fashion business was doing so well. I was going from public personal appearances to personal appearance. So I thought this would be great, you know, to also get closer to the women. Because I had such an amazing relationship with the women-...

About the Instructor

In her 20s, Diane Von Furstenberg convinced a textile factory owner in Italy to let her produce her first designs. With those samples, she flew to New York City to build one of the world’s most iconic and enduring fashion brands. In her first online fashion design class, Diane teaches you how to build a brand. You’ll learn how to create a visual identity, build loyalty, stay true to your vision, and launch your product.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

DVF's journey is really inspiring and relatable to all. I esp loved her Mental Toughness episode as she's the only one who tackled that. This has become my fave Masterclass as her insights on business, branding and fashion are just very solid and real.

Amazing! Many, many insights to my professional and personal life! <3

I've admired DVF for ages. I appreciate her candor regarding the grit behind a notably 'glamorous' industry. Already applying what I learned.

DVF is very clear and helpful in offering the elements that make up a great brand. I found the homework and case studies very helpful!



wow! it's impresive how she has managed her company, eventhough of some set backs she has took control of it at the end. :)

Juan V.

She said she sold her company twice because of inventory. Does somebody know any detail on those sales?

Axpic P.

Great insight on the collaboration vs lisencing. So much can be done with collaboration and how interesting it is to extend our brand by sharing with others. nice!

Meg N.

Very good look at licensing vs collaboration, the issues of control and comeback... This would apply across all endeavors, not just fashion, but very true in fashion. As an anecdote, I wonder how Ungaro and Dior recovered from licensing their names and logos to.. knit fabric toilet seat and lid covers marketed in Japan during their "bubble" years. Did those designers know where that was going to end up? It didn't last all that long, but I remember buying one each to send to a friend in Canada, who also felt it was a hoot to sit on an Ungaro or Dior seat cover.. and throw it in the laundry separately once a week to get the poop out of the underside.. it was not the best-thought-through licensing deal.. Please DO conduct your research carefully!


I see, the fine jewelry she produced that made it big in Brazil, she is currently wearing.

Mia S.

"Usually when you begin to be successful and have made a name for yourself, you will be offered to do licensing deals. Licensing means there are some companies, and they will say, We would like your name, your brand, to put it on... They usually pay you a minimum guarantee and the royalty. According to how valuable your brand is, the bigger your royalty will be. Licensing is a great business because you have very little risk and you make money, it enhances your brand. The bad things, you don't always have control. Even though you try to make a contract, maybe they don't respect it. The distribution may be a little larger than you expected; you have to be very careful at choosing your licensing. Sometimes you have great licenses that elevate your brand; sometimes you go for a much wider distribution, for the money. It's very important that everybody is aligned. License is a long-term contract. Collaboration is a short-term thing. If you can sell confidence with a dress, you can also sell confidence with good makeup. When I want to learn, I pretend to teach. In order to learn about the beauty business, I thought I would write a book about beauty - that was a way for me to do the research. I realied that I actually didn't own anything with my name anymore; everything was a license. They said that I was involved in it, but they didn't realy want to listen to me. I had actually lost control of the business, even though the brand had become a brand and was managed by different company for different products. I knew that if I went directly to women, they would react, but I didn't realy know how to do it. 'Your name is worth so much to the consumers, we should do something together.' [QVC] is like doing a personal appearance, but doing it on television; you reach so many people all at once. I remember saying, 'I want to own this place,' I was so overwhelmed by it... All of a sudden, from being a has-been, I was a pioneer again."

Michael S.

I would love to colaborate with Emanuel Ungaro they could use better print design, and coloration.I love the fact that they are dedicated to useing a lot of print for there brand.

Emma F.

Adam Selman was very successful in licensing their brand name with Le Specs. They provide sunglasses through this brand extension. This added the value of more people being able to buy things from their brand and really got the brand out in the public eye. It was a successful cross-market exposure because their unique designs were offered at a price point that more people could afford. The response from the consumers was that they loved it, and soon, almost any fashion influencer had a pair of their sunglasses. I can learn from their example by collaborating with other brands that are close to mine and sell something that many consumers want to buy. If I could collaborate with any product line or designer, it would probably be Chromat or ASOS since their brands are close to mine and we share similar values.

Heidi B.

I loved this chapter. I have already thought of allied lines associated to my brand, because I want to create multiple streams of passive income. This chapter validates my plans very nicely. I don't think QVC operates in my Country, but I'll investigate the two brands that do.

Jess D.

very heavy topic. never thought on that part before. Bought from QVC before. A lot to learn. A very good start. research research .. Intend focus be true to ourselves listen DNA collaboration/ branding research research research Let's get going Thanks Diane <3