By Christine Tsui
Translated by Rachel Wang
In this essay, I would discuss the future of luxury brands, for the first-half-year financial reports of most luxury brands, including both the top ones, like Chanel, and the entry luxury brands, like Michael Kors, indicate the downturn of the whole industries, though the brands, having changed the development patterns, of Gucci and LV still performed well. Nowadays, with the unsatisfactory performance, where should the luxury brands go?
In my view, what makes the luxury brands luxurious lies in the following factors:
1. The scarcity of materials.
In the selection of materials, luxuries would use rarer materials than common ones: crocodile skin as different brands use, the luxury brands would only choose the Himalayan crocodiles; fibers as they use, the top brands would only accept a certain type from unique animals from Latin America. So, the scarcity is a key feature for luxuries.
However, along with the technology developments, the scarcity advantage has been diminished now.
2. Unique communications with the public.
To maintain a kind of mystery, luxury would like to stand high above the customers, which has been a common style for these brands. Nevertheless, that is exactly what the generation of 90s hold repulsion on.
Meanwhile, the designs of the brands, to reserve the classic elements of brands’ traditions, fail to cater for the young customers in the market.
It has been noticed that the terms of “grace and elegance”, worshiped by Gucci before, are fading out. On the contrary, the fresh designer’s affiliation to Gucci introduces the new sports elements, with animated colors and street-fashion styles, into the traditional brand. Though there still are signs of grace and elegant elements in the looks, the trend has been reversed.
In addition, the silhouettes of clothing are changes obviously. In the Tom Ford period, Gucci was featured with fit clippings to outline the curve of women. But now it turns to the oversize style, utterly different from the designs before.
Not only Gucci draws close to a younger customer group, but LV also cooperates with Supreme, a French street-fashion brand, aiming to attracting more attention from young people.
The current young people have no interest in high-fashion or aloof designs, which leads the designs and marketing methods of LV and Gucci rejuvenate a lot. The brands refusing this trend, Chanel for example, receive gloomy results, only to prove their insistence a mistake.
In conclusion, how can the luxury brands find the way out? In my points of view, the luxury brands should be more amiable to customers, which is not only a direction to pursue, but also a challenge to overcome. Only in this way, the luxury brands can re-gain a firm foothold in the increasingly young market.