Fashion: Branding and Luxury Brands

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luxury brands and industries in step with lifestyles, values and attitudes of modern society and culture?

“Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends” Coco Chanel

The display of luxury signifies individual power and achievements. The manner which people dress reflects economic, political, social standing and self worth. Christian Dior quoted “it seems to me that women and men instinctively yearn to exhibit themselves”. Luxury in the fashion industry is usually defined in elements as: silk, gold, silver, and precious stones. Luxury products are usually identifiable through exceptional quality and high aesthetic appeal and value, and often belong to the range of products which can be clearly identified either through logo, brand name or design elements. The central features of a luxury brand are: perceived exclusivity; well recognised brand identity; high levels of brand awareness and strong sales and customer patronage.

Many of today’s prestige brands were started a century or more ago, and usually one-person operating the brand. The products sold were handcrafted by skilled artisans, usually preserved for the aristrocratic world of royalty and old money. Today, many of these brands are run by corporations which have transformed these small sized businesses into thriving multi-billion dollar retail brands. Their products are easily accessible as they are readily available at retail stores found on main city streets, in airports and outlet centers.

The luxury market has significantly changed since the days of ‘old luxury’ where it was once attainable only to the super elite. Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Hermes founded in the 18 and 19th centuries, created products for the royal court until the fall of the monarchy. In the late 19th century where there was an incremental rise industrial fortunes luxury became the domain of old-money European aristocrats and elite American families. Luxury only once belonged to the upper class, and faking luxury was looked upon as a disgrace.

Today, the luxury brands have changed the manner in which people dress by aligning the socio economic system. Luxury is no longer focused on artistic integrity, and now based on profit levels. The quality of the goods are compromised to produce large quantities required due to high demand, fabrics aren’t as good as what they used to be , nor are the way that they are made. There are many trends which have contributed towards luxury brands to broaden its consumer range. As a result luxury have become easily attainable due to corporate strategies based on targeting the middle market, and expanding globally.

The luxury goods fashion industry is worth $157billion. The industry is involved with manufacture and selling of clothing, leather goods, silk scarves and neckties, watches, jewelry, perfume, and cosmetics. Sixty percent of the industry is controlled by thirty-five major brands, which include Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Hermes and Chanel.

Many luxury brands have formed strategic alliances with major corporate entities. Utlilising the parent advantage allowed the luxury companies access to greater access to resources. In 1999 Pinault-Printemps Redoute (PPR) acquired a 42 percent stake in Gucci, this strategic alliance facilitated Gucci to become a multi-brand known as the Gucci Group. (Moore, C & Birtwistle, G 2005) From November 1999 to July 2001 the company acquired equal or majority shareholdings in ten companies to form the Gucci Group NV, the world’s second largest luxury brand conglomerate. (Moore, C & Birtwistle, G 2005) Gucci focused on providing the skills and advantages as the parent company to its subsidiaries as a luxury brand. The four leading multi luxury brand conglomerates are Louis Vuitton-Moet Hennessey (LVMH); Gucci Group NV; Prada and Richemont Group (Chevilier, M & Mazzalovo, G 2008). These four companies’ dominate the global luxury brand industry, acquiring multi...
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