When I first wrote of the world’s financial crisis and it’s effect on 2009’s fashion I questioned what designers and fashion houses would do as a result. Would they reduce their quality in order to keep the middle market spending? Or would they do the opposite: promote their high end, high price point in order to attract high wealth clients not necessarily effected by the ‘credit crunch’.
With the likes of Marks & Spencer seeing a 6.2 slump in fashion sales it seems that my prediction that the middle class’ wallets would tighten and the upper classes remain largely unaffected will be exactly how 2009 will play itself out for the fashion industry.
In a series of interviews with fashion accessory houses, WWD has questioned the likes of Chopard, Kate Spade, and Luxottica on how they see 2008 and 2009 panning out.
Chopard have seen their upper class market grow, with jewellery sales now averaging $10,000-$25,000 per piece and watches averaging $100,000 per piece. To react to the credit crisis Chopard have “targeted more [non-United States] clients” and have looked for opportunities with “existing client?©le” (a good lesson, remembering that it’s cheaper to keep a client than find a new one).
Kate Spade haven’t shifted their strategy at all and continue with a middle market customer: $300-$350 is their strongest price point.
Luxottica are looking for growth outside the traditional markets of the United States, the United Kingdom, and continental Europe. Rather, they’re concentrating in the emerging markets of “Australasia and Greater China.”
Finally, Kara Ross is taking the ‘reduced price point’ strategy and are “trying to bring the price points down on [their] bags” all while trying not to compromise on quality.
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