Where Do Fashion’s Traditional “Luxury” Brands Stand in 2018?

From The Fashion Law:

In the mid-1970’s, a group of famed European luxury brands decided to tap into the resurgent globalization of the post-World War I and World War II economy to grow significantly beyond the pool of their existing customers. In order to do so, they implemented a new marketing strategy, one that aimed to allow them to expand their consumer base but also enable them to remain firmly within the luxury sector. That strategy – or the Luxury Strategy – consists of (among other things), 24 “anti-laws” by which all luxury brands should abide, according to the strategy’s creator (and also the former CEO of Louis Vuitton), Vincent Bastien, to maintain this delicate balance.

The tenets of the Luxury Strategy dictate that “true luxury brands” do not compete with each other, as each luxury brand’s selling proposition is inherently unique. They also do not “pander to customers’ wishes,” respond to rising demand, rely on celebrities to do their advertising for them, let price be the defining feature of luxury, relocate their factories, openly sell online, and so on.

Other sources have put forth additional – and oftentimes complentary – elements that may be used to form a definition of “luxury.” As the late Vogue Italian editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani put it in 2011, “Craftsmanship is luxury. A product is luxe when it is handmade, tailored for few. Luxury meaning exclusiveness.” Pamela N. Danziger echoed this in her book, “Putting the Luxe Back in Luxury: How New Consumer Values are Redefining the Way We Market Luxury,” stating that “Superior performance, craftsmanship, exclusivity, innovation, heritage, unique design aesthetic, and creative expression” are some of the core qualities of a luxury house.

As reporter-turned-VC Om Malik put it just this week, “Mass produced, average products worn/consumed by millions aren’t luxury.” And still yet, Dan Herman, Ph.D., stated in his 2006 article, “The Eternal Principles for Creating Luxury Brands,” luxury goods in the most traditional sense “are not designed and planned according to consumer tastes and expectations.” Instead, he noted, “A luxury brand sets its own standards and does not adhere to fashions.”

. . . .

In theory, the modern-day utilization (or more accurately, the lack of utilization) of these tactics by brands may enable us to gauge where, exactly, brands that have traditionally been categorized as luxury ones (i.e., the Louis Vuitton’s, Gucci’s, Chanel’s, of the world) stand in 2018, in comparison to say, Hermès or potentially, Goyard.

Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, many of the fashion industry’s “luxury” stalwarts – many of which originated as luxury brands – no longer fit neatly within this larger set of definitions, for any number of reasons, ranging from their attempts to meet consumer demand (by upping production) and their obvious desires to pander to consumers’ trend-specific or seasonal whims; the penchant for streetwear-centric collections immediately comes to mind.

It appears that as consumers have made demands of brands, many stalwart luxury participants have altered their way of doing things in order to be meet those demands and operate in the way that is most profitable. As Marketing Week’s Lucy Tesseras stated in an article in 2015, “As wealth is redistributed and the number of luxury consumers rises brands must adapt to meet changing consumer behavior.” It seems that this is exactly what brands have done, particularly publicly-held ones that have shareholders to answer to when it comes to revenue and growth.

With that in mind, the question is this: Since so few of the brands that have been traditionally characterized as luxury brands still fall within the bounds of the term, are we to adapt our definition of luxury? 

Link to the rest at The Fashion Law

Brand Protection: More than a Luxury for Luxury Names

From MarkMonitor:

It’s estimated that the total value of fakes sold worldwide each year numbers as high as $1.8 trillion, with watches, bags, clothing, jewelry and perfume making up the bulk of goods seized at borders. Welcome to the life of countless luxury brands, now an appealing target for online counterfeiters who lure consumers to rogue sites under the guise of their prestigious names.

. . . .

Sophisticated counterfeiters employ savvy marketing tactics, including illicit promotions in search and social media, to confuse consumers and intercept web traffic. This is especially the case with luxury good spamming, which siphons traffic away from a genuine brand and directs customers to sites selling counterfeit goods.

Legitimate brands pay a heavy price: lost revenue, flagging demand, angry channel partners, skyrocketing warranty and service costs and increased product liability, all while their consumers are duped into buying substandard goods. As counterfeiting in digital channels proliferates, fashion and luxury brands find themselves in a seemingly never-ending battle to shut down rogue websites.

. . . .

Instead of taking down rogue sites one-by-one, get more efficient with a wider lens that takes down entire networks. Taking on counterfeiters at scale results in massive, timely and cost-effective shutdowns and boosts the effectiveness of litigation for greater return on your investment.

Link to the rest at MarkMonitor

9 thoughts on “Where Do Fashion’s Traditional “Luxury” Brands Stand in 2018?”

  1. Another problem they face is not all of those counterfeits are actually ‘substandard’, as they are made the same way at the same place making the same item for them – the bosses just had the workers make a few extras to sell on the side (almost like those remainder books trad-pub sells from their print overruns – though at least they know where the ‘cheap knockoffs’ came from.)

    And then they have people like me to deal with. The ones that don’t need monster(tm) cables to hook up my stereo, or overpriced clothes or toys. Looks/works ‘good enough’ is good enough for me …

        • You’re welcome.
          $2 cables. And they’re as good or better than the monsters.
          They’re commodities, not luxury.
          The brand is the vendor, not the product.

          Luxury goods typically have two classes of customer: the truly affluent and the aspirational. The latter merely want to appear/feel affluent.

          That’s a problem for many if not most luxury vendors selling functional (versus decorative/artistic) products: people aren’t really paying extra for the product but the provenance, but when they can get as good or better functionality without the provenance, the aspirational value withers away and aspirational shoppers shift their focus on other “luxury” products instead.

          Shopping psychology is awfully interesting stuff. Mastered by few.

          • I was actually looking at their video adaptors as my replacement netbook has a video ‘data-port’, but non of my monitors are new enough to have that connection (and doing dual screens at the desk gives my a lot more room to spread things out. 😉 )

            • If you’re interested in that kind of stuff, you might find some useful toys with the Cyberguys.


              Not as cheap as monoprice but they carry weird and oddball stuff and things you used to find at Radio Shack.

    • Then there are the annoying people that figure out how to make a “luxury” item cheaply. They invent a process to make aluminum by the megatons. That rare ingredient “from the darkest depths of cannibal infested jungles” gets synthesized in a laboratory – and suddenly there are commodity quotes for it by the thousands of gallons.

  2. This is giving me flashbacks to the fights with the Milan office in my old company about whether Tiffany for example was a luxury brand.

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