Tag Archives: Fashion

For Conscious Generations, Will Luxury Brands Become Irrelevant?

Branding Blog

With a market of over £200B globally, the luxury fashion brand sector is significant; you only have to look at conglomerates such as Richemont, LVMH Group, and Kerring which within their stables boast, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Chloe, Cartier, Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Stella McCartney to name a few.

Whilst in China, the market share is set to increase with 14% by 2025, it is set to contract by 8% in Europe and the US. However, the global trend of luxury consumerism seems to be on the increase, with 43%. It is forecasted that within the next decade Generations Y and Z will represent approximately 55% of the luxury fashion market up from 32%, offsetting the sales decline among older generations. But can perceived ‘luxury’ brands be so sure that their mass appeal can extend beyond the superficial?

Is fashion, in general, no longer tribal? The vast majority of Gen Y, Z, and Alpha, the less ‘well off’ generations, seem to adopt a more fluid approach to fashion as they may do to gender, sexuality, technology, socializing, etc. That sees an anything-goes approach in fashion, focused less on brand and more on individualism.

Long gone is the need to conform to a stereotype, or compete with others. The fashion I see is an eclectic mix of second-hand clothes – let’s avoid the pretense that it’s ‘vintage’ and be realistic – combined with fast fashion which is naturally, ethically sourced to create a look. A look that’s unique to a persona and voice, occasionally punctuated with luxury brand items to complete the style.

So will this approach to high-end fashion make the luxury sector grow in particular for the brands that ‘get it’ or contract with perhaps some brands becoming obsolete to generations X, Y, and more importantly Alpha? After all, this generation which may be on a budget, won’t necessarily be in a decade’s time and if they have no aspirations to own luxury branded items, they may choose to share the budget more sparingly with brands that speak to them – investing in brands that resonate with the zeitgeist, not tradition, and demonstrate a social conscience in manufacturing, environment, sustainability, and how they give back a proportion of their vast profits to society.

Some high-end brands are already evolving to appeal to the upcoming generations, Supreme and Balenciaga have adapted to meet the needs of their new consumers. From their collectible, Instagram ‘like-worthy’ pieces to the gender-fluid online shops, the brands are listening closely to their audience and are adjusting accordingly, seeing them become more popular than the traditional stuffy luxury brands.

With both ‘luxury’ and ‘fast fashion’ known to be a considerable contributor to global greenhouse gasses, water and air pollution, combined with poor working conditions, we are seeing a conscious effort by many people to change their fashion habits. These changes include a ‘less is more’ strategy, buying second hand, opting for natural fibers, and researching brand practices, often cajoling them to share the manufacture process and provenance.

According to Oxfam, over eleven million items of clothing end up in the landfill. The charity has launched its Second Hand September campaign, with artists who performed at Glastonbury 2019 donating stage outfits for auction or win. Its purpose is to change habits and encourage people not to buy new apparel for one month and thereafter wear clothing more often and not throw away unwanted clothing.

In contrast, the recent ‘willy-waving’ that was the ego-inflating philanthropy towards the drive to rebuild Notre Dame topped $700M with the billionaires behind these luxury giants pledging $339M. Without question, this landmark is culturally worthy and should be rebuilt, however, some may argue that these donations serve to demonstrate that the priorities of the owners of luxury brands may not be in tune with the market they will be designing and marketing to in less than a decade and beyond. With the Energy Agency estimating that by 2030 the planet will require 50% more water and 50% more energy, scarcity of natural resources will be a known factor forcing every brand to change. No one is immune.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, fashion retailer H&M has reported an 11% increase in net sales to 57.4B in Swedish kroner (£4.8B) in its Q2 results (July 2019), compared with the sales rise of 2% seen during the same period last year. It is the fifth straight quarter of consistent sales growth for the company, but despite the increase, shares in the retailer dropped by 1.8% in early trading in July, with H&M saying “hard work and many challenges still remain.”

Developments in the Luxury sector are slow compared to ‘fast fashion’ and with a year-on-year decline in revenues and profitability, there are not only economic factors at play but also the way that Generation Alpha consumer will be more selective and conscious. From 2025, it is estimated that Generation Alpha will be over 2 billion-strong and anticipated to start spending their own cash. Therefore, the change in narrative and approach ‘brands’ chose to market to a growing generation, needs to begin now.

Much like those brands who were considered too big to fail, is the end in sight for many luxury brands who continue to focus their attention on a dying generation?

To read the full article please visit Brandingmag.

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Why Shopping In-Store is in our DNA

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Whilst online shopping is big business for all brands, in today’s developed omni-channel world, the need to physically immerse ourselves into a brand is still really important.

When we go to a shop, we like to choose our fashion purchases carefully, weigh up our options and try them on, or at least appreciate that it may fit based on its cut and quality. Our research shows that around three-quarters of consumers say the ability to touch, feel, choose and compare products before they buy them is a key benefit of shopping in a physical store. More than a transactional experience, shopping is a social activity that we like to share with others. Over half (53.25%) of shoppers like to take their friends, partners, or family shopping – either as a social occasion or to help decide what to buy.

An open, sociable atmosphere can be harnessed by trained and amiable staff that consider the needs for shoppers that not only want to hang out with friends, but also want to discuss their ideas before making a purchase decision. Indeed, over a third (39.20%) of shoppers say they value advice from in-store staff whilst shopping. Brand staff need to be collaborative with shopping groups to not only help with purchase goals but also to create an environment that these social groups will want to return to.

To support the shopping process, brands need to offer an engaging in-store experience that accentuates the need for a social environment and immerses the shopper into the brand. When it comes to buying clothes that require a careful decision, almost three quarters (73%) are likely to go in-store. Fashion choices especially evoke discussion, debate and positive emotions amongst shoppers as they compare clothes and spend. The physical shop still provides that connection with your brand and instant association and buzz that people need to become a follower of your brand.

As shoppers we like, especially for those special luxury purchases, immerse ourselves in the total brand experience from the plush carpet to the lighting and customer service which add to the customer journey and make that product seem exceptionally good value in comparison to high street brands.

A lot has been said about the retail environment changing due to the influx of channels to engage with, but in many ways the deep rooted desire to shop for apparel is still the same. We still need the physical experience of shopping. More than a pastime for many – it’s an intrinsic part of life and brands become engrained in the fabric of our lives when it comes to what we choose to wear.


Read more at: http://digitalmarketingmagazine.co.uk/offline/why-shopping-in-store-is-in-our-dna

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Luxury Brands Launch Wearable Tech as Fashion at CES2015

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You may have noticed that last week the world’s largest Consumer Electronics Show was in full swing in Vegas and whilst most mainstream technologies were announced, in and around these announcements were many new wearable tech ideas flirted by many brands that will undoubtedly come to market within the decade and change the way we view our coveted fashion brands as wearable technology. The advancement of wearables at CES 2015 as a fashion statement is potentially huge, not to be ignored and begins the brand debate.

At this year’s CES we began to see the second generation of many wearable devices, including updated reveals from traditional tech brands: Epson, Sony, LGGarmin and Fitbit to name a few. With the looming release of the unmistakably fashionable Apple Watch, many wearable makers are following suit by consciously developing fashion that conceals our technology as clothing, watches and jewellery.

For example, take a look at the Tory Burch range for Fitbit which turns your wearable fitness technology into high-end fashion jewellery. None of your friends or colleagues would know you’re counting calories or you’re on a detox. It would appear that fashion brands have realised a new category of consumers. If you like high-end watches, then why would you swap your favourite brand(s) for a rubber smart device that looks, in some instances, ugly and conspicuous.


Wearable maker Misfit has teamed up with Swarovski to produce the “Shine,” a customisable series of fitness trackers disguised as jewellery. Hidden beneath Swarovski crystals, the Shine tracks activity such as steps, swimming strokes, and sleep via an accompanying app. It is also the first solar-charging wearable, reflecting sunlight through its crystals. The Martian developed “Guess Connect,” a Guess watch that looks like normal, but has the addition of small screen which displays caller ID and other alerts, Bluetooth connectivity, and can interact with Siri or Google Voice commands via an inbuilt microphone. Other offerings from watchmakers intending to join the wearable revolution are Tag Heuer and Mont Blanc

I suspect many more to follow once they’ve seen how it works for other luxury brands and how it fits within their own strategy, portfolio, and demographic. Rolex, Cartier, and Jaeger-LeCoultre may not be jumping on the bandwagon just yet and why should they if it doesn’t meet the brand’s ethos and heritage. Is there a need to adapt, dilute, or license the precious brand just to be in the wearable tech game? Is this another advancement the luxury watch makers & brands can’t ignore? 

As predicted, these innovations suggest just how wearables will begin to blend into existing fashion, becoming easily mistakable for a normal watch or piece of jewellery. These new wearables will suit any situation, not just the gym. Smart devices that are office-appropriate will increase the popularity of wearables for health, communication, and productivity use. Interestingly, take a look at CES winner in the “Best Offbeat Product” category, a new brand called Belty. Like Nike with its power laces, Belty is a motorised belt buckle –yes you read that correctly. It slackens and tightens to make you more comfortable, for example if you’ve eaten too much. More seriously, it has the tracking capabilities to aid diet and body shape. CES believes it’s a fun, quirky, and potentially viral product.


Consumers will ultimately decide the limits of wearable tech and for brands this is a risk. Do luxury heritage brands risk potential ridicule or failure for the sake of changing demographics and technology or do they focus on what they do best? There’s a consumer for every heritage brand and, with the exception of some gradual, natural, and subtle advancements in technology, we should keep brands focused on their authenticity. 

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