Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fashion at a Price

All last week, every other tweet I read had to do with New York Fasion Week #nyfw. Even though most normal people will never see anything going down a runway at a PTA meeting in their town, it is fun to see what designers come up with and where fashion is headed at the moment. I get almost every fashion magazine there is, not necessarily because I am going to run out and buy the clothes, but I love the accessories, the models, get inspired by the pictures and colors for my own designs, etc...

Nowadays, I love that designers like Tory Burch are around, making amazing fashion available to many, many people. Her designs are simple and chic and for the most part, very affordable. She brilliantly joined the fashion brigade at a perfect time, the economy not so great, but people still need to look and feel current. Soon her perfectly priced tunics and genious $195 Reva flats hit the stores and you know the rest...

It wasn't always the case. For years luxury retailers kept their prices high enough to attract only the affluent consumers. It took a while, but they finally got the idea that they could make a less expensive luxury item and sell the hell out of it..it happened by accident for one such retailer, Louis Vuitton. My favorite example of this trend is the infamous monogram pouchette.

The story goes that one of the larger Vuitton purses came with an detachable make up bag inside. People were taking that smaller bag and and attaching the strap to the zipper, making a little purse out of it. Well, the strap kept breaking and they were taking it to Customer Service to be repaired. The Vuitton stores finally caught on that people wanted this size bag and they developed the Pouchette. Initially sold for $195, this little beauty was chic, affordable, had the LV Logo and after a year, I don't think you could go anywhere without seeing at least 5 of them on girls of all ages.


Another case in point...the Tiffany & Co. silver heart tag bracelet. I bought that bracelet in 1990 for $95 and wore it all through college. When I actually worked at Tiffany from 1998-2002, not only was that item the best seller at $125 in the entire company, but they actually went out and bought silver mines in Mexico to keep their costs down since they were making so much money. We spent a lot of down time in the store pre-wrapping them so they were ready to go, literally selling at least three hundred a week. Can you imagine the scratching of the heads of the Tiffany executives, longtime fine purveyors of luxury jewelry and goods that their best seller was a $125 silver bracelet?? Well, they made a decision to run with it and made an absolute fortune. p.s. that bracelet is now $210 and the Tiffany catalog is 40% silver jewelry!

It didn't take long for this momentum to catch on and soon most luxury retailers-even car makers, came out with a smaller, less expensive item, which they inevitably sold tons of..making their brand available to almost everyone.


This carried through to the fashion industry as well, resulting in big names designing for Target, H & M, Kohls and Topshop, again bringing it to the masses. So with all of this effort, there is no excuse anymore for not being fashionable!!!!

6 comments:

CRICKET said...

I wish more people made an effort. I took the kids to the museum yesterday and so many people looked like they rolled out of bed!

CZ said...

No kidding...is it so much to ask to brush your hair, wash your face, blow your nose and put on some real clothes instead of your jammies and slippers???

CDS said...

this is so true KP! i have things so many things that look and feel more expensive than they are, and its because I like to take the time to look for great pieces. Anyhow....you know how I feel about shopping. xoxo

Kate said...

Love your little fashion run down!

Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

Get ready, girls! Liberty of London at Target on March 14th...I'm going to buy the bike! Yes, as in bicycle.

Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

Also, I'm pretty sure that the pochette started out even cheaper than that. I think I paid $175 for mine (a gazillion years ago, obviously).