Luxury retail has been faltering as young people gravitate toward practical purchases.
But the luxury retail industry might have a solution to help sales by once again emblazoning handbags and apparel with logos.
Consumers have been eschewing bold logos in favour of more simple designs.
But now, logos are back, Elle magazine recently declared in its March print edition, pointing to “4 logos to go loco for,” including iconic brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
If consumers are once again motivated by logos, it could send designer apparel sales surging at companies like Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Coach.
Abercrombie & Fitch recently said it would phase out logos.
While the logo trend hasn’t hit mass-market yet, it’s likely that it could if that’s what the luxury retailers are doing.
The renaissance has been in the making for a while.
In August, popular fashion blog Man Repeller declared that logos were back, claiming that they were out before because they seemed “tacky.” (Arguably, flaunting your wealth was not chic during and immediately after the recession.)
Blogger and Man Repeller founder Leandra Medine raised several points with the strange comeback. For one, she wrote how wearing a logo was a way to let everyone know how much you spent on a bag.
“It seems kind of problematic, right? Because here we’ve convinced ourselves, through the fell acknowledgment and subsequent wearing of unobtrusive labels, that we’re above articulating our personal style using the contents of our wallets as a metric to define it. But with logos once again pervading our bag(uette)s comes the recognition and with that recognition comes price tags being broadcasted for all,” she wrote.
To that end, with the rise of logos might be away for consumers to separate themselves from people less discerning consumers who shop at fast fashion stores like Zara (make no mistake that Elle’s issue was on stands at the time of New York Fashion Week). It’s a status symbol.
But Man Repeller raised yet another point — that the rise of logos might signal an end — or at least slowing down — of fast fashion; that we might be reaching a new point of financial conscientiousness, wherein people save for products rather than hoard.
Medine questioned: “Or do the recent nods to blatant branding further substantiate a case for slow fashion — quieting down the necessity we’ve cultivated to buy, buy, buy, cheap, cheap, cheap in order think more thoughtfully about what we want to say when we set out to script our sartorial screenplays?”
But millennials have been slowly moving away from disposable fashion, even before Medine claimed logos had returned this past summer. This goes back to a few years ago.
“A generation of consumers has grown up wearing what is often referred to as ‘fast fashion’ — trendy, inexpensive versions of runway looks that shoppers wear for one season, or one occasion, and often toss,” Elizabeth Holmes of the Wall Street Journal wrote in 2014. “Now, many of these shoppers are graduating to a philosophy of quality not quantity.”
Still, luxury retailers are fighting an uphill battle.
According to a November 2015 study executed by Goldman Sachs and Teen Vogue, most brands that design accessible luxury handbags are “falling flat,” and becoming less and less appealing to so-called “it girls.”
These “it girls” Goldman Sachs and Teen Vogue polled are influential young women ages 13-29.
In particular, brands like Longchamp, Coach, Tory Burch, and Michael Kors — designers with iconic handbags — are losing their sparkle. According to the report, their “affinity” ratings dropped from last year, meaning that smaller percentages of fashion-forward girls are compelled to shell out for their fashions.
This trend could ultimately help the industry.
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