If there’s any brand that’s been taking over our Instagram feeds, it’s I.AM.GIA. After being seen on celebrities like Kaia Gerber, Bella Hadid, and Emily Ratajkowski, the Australian-based label has become the style destination for women who ooze confidence, amassing a cult-following of almost 500,000 Instagram followers. Since launching last May, I.AM.GIA has swiftly skyrocketed to popularity with an unapologetically edgy product line including cargo pants, corsets, snakeskin boots, and plaid sets all under $200.
But who is GIA? Founder Alana Pallister explains how she’s captivated a fashion generation around a fictional character and is using social media to create an ultra-elusive, luxury label for the masses.
How did I.AM.GIA come about and who is she?
I was in a sensory deprivation tank one day and had a lightbulb moment. I wanted to create a brand around a character rather than creating a brand for the sake of creating something new. These days, I feel like brands aren’t really moving forward with technology and I haven’t seen anyone create a character on social media that’s based on the Instagram “It Girl.” Gia Carangi immediately came to my mind for inspiration – Gia is my all-time favorite movie. I love her character and how she rose to fame so quickly. She was an overnight sensation. We wanted to do the same thing with our GIA. We want to empower women to feel like a badass.
What went into creating her persona?
My team is used to trend researching and creating a trend-based line. So when I came into work that week and asked them to help me design around a character, they thought I had lost my marbles. It opened up a free design process for us. We worked on a moodboard around who GIA was and what we wanted her to embody. We didn’t want to show it all upfront and say “this is the character, this is who she is.” We wanted to put out I.AM.GIA. The I AM part is to empower the evolving character. I really stood my ground with the design team in terms of trend research. I don’t want to be on trend. It’s creating the trends for GIA over following them.
GIA has a prominently masculine aesthetic. How are you designing for the modern woman?
Our #1 goal has been introducing a masculine feeling to womenswear. I think over the years women have really taken to masculine style. You see women looking for non-conventional pieces on eBay and Etsy, so we wanted to bring that aesthetic to GIA and the character. Our Cobain Cargo, one of our #1 selling pieces, brings back the combat style but dresses it up with a feminine touch. I love seeing girls either wear it with the high heels or the combat boot. They make it their own. It was a really big piece for our design team.
I.AM.GIA is constantly launching new product. What’s the strategy behind each drop?
There’s definitely a calendar in play. We have eight months planned in advance around the strategy of what she’s doing. Each collection is based around what she’s doing in her life and where she was in that current moment. The initial process was to do four collections a year, but as we developed the character, we realized she moved around a lot more. Now it’s a monthly process based on where she is around the world. We have no limitations on what she’ll wear.