Competition in the high-end fashion industry


The case study explores Akris, a family owned fashion company based in St Gallen, Switzerland. Starting with only one sewing machine in 1922, the firm has developed into one of the most acclaimed international brands in the high-end, pret-a-porter fashion segment over the past few decades.

By the end of 2011, Akris fashion was available at more than 500 locations all over the world, including 15 flagship stores and 50 shop-in-shops at the most prestigious department stores. Celebrities such as Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Nicole Kidman, and many others wear Akris. The case study highlights how Akris has gained a competitive advantage in the fashion industry by strategically differentiating itself from its rivals.

Specifically, the case illustrates how a firm in a highly competitive, fast-paced environment benefits from a long-term strategy building upon distinctive capabilities and resources that have their roots in the firm’s history.

Download inspection copy

Download (DE)
Download (EN)

At The Case Centre you can either order or download the Case Study and Teaching Note as inspection copy:



Bibliographic Data


Case – Reference no. D312-166-1 (German version) or Reference no. 312-166-1 (English version)

Authors: Mueller-Stewens, G. (University of St. Gallen); Menz, M. (University of St. Gallen)
Published in: 2012
Length: 20 pages
Data source: Field research

Teaching note – Reference no. D312-166-8 (German version) or
Reference no. 312-166-8 (English version)

Authors: Mueller-Stewens, G. (University of St. Gallen); Menz, M. (University of St. Gallen)
Published in: 2012
Length: 7 pages
Data source: Field research

Revision Date December 2016

Contact person

If the case study is not available at The Case Centre, or if you have any questions about additional material or application of the case study, please contact the author.

Günter Müller-Stewens

Prof. em. Dr.
Ordentlicher Professor em. für Betriebswirtschaft