'We're living in the age of the remix': Fashion brands are making major changes to appeal to Gen Z in a new era of luxury

Vimeo/Palace SkateboardsPolo Ralph Lauren has partnered with streetwear brand Palace.

  • The fashion industry has been undergoing some major changes recently.
  • Some luxury brands, like Ralph Lauren, have been partnering with streetwear brands to reach younger shoppers and experiment with different business models.
  • Other brands, like Michael Kors, have looking to build more global portfolios.
  • “It feels like we’re living in the age of the remix,” Brian Trunzo, senior consultant at WGSN’s consultancy division, Mindset, recently told Business Insider.

The fashion industry has been undergoing some major changes recently.

Polo Ralph Lauren recently revealed a collaboration with the London-based streetwear brand Palace. Ralph Lauren said in a July earnings release that winning over a new generation of customers is a key part of its growth strategy. Partnering with a more accessible streetwear brand will likely help it to reach younger shoppers.

Polo Ralph Lauren isn’t the only fashion brand making partnerships in this vein. Louis Vuitton recently partnered with the wildly popular brand Supreme on a limited-edition line, and Fendi and Fila launched a limited line combining the two brands’ logos.

“There’s an emerging brand of luxury, built around the Gen Z and Millennial mindset, whereby luxury is no longer tethered just to price and perception,” Brian Trunzo, senior consultant at WGSN’s consultancy division, Mindset, recently told Business Insider. “It feels like we’re living in the age of the remix.”

Though luxury brands have been in a strong place recently, Coye Nokes, a partner in management-consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants, told Business Insider that that growth can’t continue forever, which could explain a growing interest in streetwear collaborations.

“I think it’s about acquisition of new customers and recruiting people into your brand. Streetwear brands definitely have a different audience, but this is a great way to maybe increase your awareness among a different set of consumers. In that way, these collaborations can be quite powerful,” Nokes told Business Insider.

Here are some of the other major changes happening in the fashion industry:


Luxury brands have been partnering with streetwear brands, in part to recruit younger customers, and in part to experiment with different business models.

Facebook/Gucci

Most recently, Polo Ralph Lauren teamed up with London-based streetwear brand Palace for a limited-edition product line.

Vimeo/Palace Skateboards

Trunzo told Business Insider that Polo choosing to work with Palace was a smart decision. Since Palace doesn’t do collaborations very often, there is a level of exclusivity that helps it keep its luxury appeal.

Vimeo/Palace Skateboards

Louis Vuitton has also released a streetwear line with Supreme, a brand with a cult following among teens.

Supreme

And Fendi released a line with Fila that combined the two brands’ logos.

Fendi

Gucci has managed to connect with younger shoppers without a streetwear collaboration for a number of reasons. Creative Director Alessandro Michele has proven to have a keen awareness of what young people want, including bright, eclectic colours and patterns that are engaging and look good on Instagram.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

Source: Business Insider


To an extent, the definition of luxury itself has been changing. It isn’t just about price and perception as much as it is about accessibility. The less accessible a product is, the more elevated the brand becomes.

Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

But price isn’t the only thing that makes products less accessible. Limited-edition collections — or “drops” — have the same appeal, and they allow luxury brands to test new business models while attracting younger shoppers, according to Nokes.

Business Insider/Jessica TylerShoppers line up outside of Supreme’s New York flagship store for the first big Supreme drop of the fall season.

Source: Business Insider


Luxury brands aren’t only partnering with streetwear brands — they’re also looking to other luxury brands. In late September, Michael Kors acquired Versace in a $US2.12 billion deal.

Neilson Barnard/Getty

Source: Business Insider


Both Trunzo and Nokes told Business Insider that Michael Kors appears to be gearing up to become a major fashion house like the Paris-based LVMH. Michael Kors also acquired Jimmy Choo in a $US1.2 billion deal last year.

Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty ImagesA Michael Kors store.

Source: Reuters


By acquiring Versace, it has begun to build a more global portfolio that will allow it to extend its reach further.

alexeleny / Shutterstock.com

The main benefit of building a major fashion house, according to Nokes, is that it allows the company to have multiple growth platforms and avoid overextending any one brand.


Nokes said, however, that although all of these partnerships are changing the fashion industry quite a bit, people don’t seem to be losing their appreciation for luxury products.

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