Looking at the fashion market as a whole can be overwhelming. On Oxford Street in London, you can walk past Primark and within 10 minutes you would also pass Selfridges. Therefore, when examining an amalgamation of preferences, budgets and individual needs, it can be hard to distinguish what is what and which company competes with another. However, dividing the market into smaller i.e. market levels, enables clearer comparison of market sectors, allowing those to establish the origins and intentions of companies and see whose rubbing competing with who.
The fashion market can be separated into 6 market levels:
- At the top is Haute Couture. This is the most expensive and is highly sought after. It consists of bespoke garments that are hand-made by seamstresses in workshops in Paris. For a garment to be considered Haute Couture, it must meet the requirements of the French Ministry of Industry. The pieces of couture are usually made to fit the buyer, and as they can take months to a year to be made, they cannot be easily replicated.
- Next is Luxury fashion, it is not as expensive as couture but is more accessible. At the moment the largest consumer of luxury clothing is China (How Chinese athleisure fans are driving the luxury fashion market, 2017). It includes high quality designer brands that belong to the main designer conglomerates of LVMH, Kering and Richemont. The audience for this are usually high earners, with incomes of £100,000 and 76% of the market is aged 35-54 (She-conomy, 2015).
- Diffusion line comes after, this is when brands such as Marc Jacobs will create another line like Marc by Marc Jacobs which is cheaper. Means people who can’t afford the luxury product can still buy something with the designers name and feel prestigious but without lowering the price of the main line. Diffusion lines are often described as, “champagne taste on a beer budget”, which is accurate.
- Next is Bridge Brands, which are stores that are more expensive than those on the high street but below luxury. These will offer good quality clothing at a less expensive price but still not affordable for the masses. These are also created to bridge the gap between high-end and luxury.
- Then we have the High street. This is more affordable than bridge brands and of a lesser quality but still good. Traditional high street stores are John Lewis and Debenhams. Both department stores that offer both a wide range of affordable products and a customer experience. The high street offers quality fashion, with a longer life span than economy, at affordable prices.
- Lastly, we have Economy, which is at the bottom. This will be cheap clothing, often made of a questionable quality, and is consumed by people who want cheap clothes that are deemed as fast fashion. It works efficiently to get trends from sweatshop to store front as quickly as possible. The main conglomerates of this level are Inditex, H&M and Arcadia. These own a wide collection of stores like Zara and Topshop,
Miuccia Prada is the founder and head designer of the line Miu Miu, often referred to as “Prada’s little sister”. The subsidiary of Prada is usually seen as edgier and funkier than Prada, aimed towards the young and rebellious, whilst Prada is aimed at the mature and established.
In relation to market levels, Miu Miu would fall in Haute Couture and Luxury Fashion. Prada was founded in 1913 by Mario Prada, Miuccia Prada’s grandfather. From there, the PRADA Group currently owns Prada, Miu Miu, Church’s, Car Shoe and Marchesi 1824 (PRADA Group, no date). Within the luxury sector, Miu Miu has many competitors, including its sister brand Prada. A report shared by SyncForce ranked Miu Miu 60th out of 85 luxury brands, labelled as a brand that’s being “challenged” (L2 ThinkTank, 2016, p. 8). Hmmmm. The fact that Prada was ranked 31 leads us to question what is Prada doing that Miu Miu isn’t. To visualise where Miu Miu would place among its competitors, I devised a competitors matrix. From what I know, top brands like Celine, Dior and Chanel will always be placed towards the top and brands like Marc Jacobs and Valentino (though not so far down) will always pace among the lowest due to them having diffusion lines.
However, although the sector is divided into the 6 market levels and we assume that haute couture is the polar opposite to economy, they are actually interlinked. The high-end is influenced by the ideas and concepts featured in street style and economy fashion, where as the low-end interprets the styles and colours used into the products.
Performance of Market Sectors
In a large industry, it is expected that the UK clothing market will grow by 16.6% over the next five years to £51.2bn (Reportlinker, 2017). If Miu Miu wishes to stay relevant by the time I will hopefully be able to afford it, then they need to change their approach to selling and promoting. Looking back at 2016, the main trends that characterised the luxury sector with the digital revolution, the craftsmanship of products and contemporary fashion. Miu Miu have nailed the aspect of craftsmanship and contemporary fashion, but where are they currently on the digital scale? They have a fair amount of followers across their social media platforms but their interaction with their target audience is kept to the bare minimum (eek). They only follow two people on their Instagram and on their Twitter; Prada and the Miu Miu Women’s Tales.
We can also see Prada doing better across sales and revenue compared to Miu Miu, which could also be down to their audience. Prada actively creates Womenswear and Menswear collections each year, but Miu Miu last did a Menswear collection in Fall/Winter 2005. Could this be the reason for the difference in performance of the sister brands? Menswear is known as the fastest growing clothing subsector to 2022, as it is predicted to grow 21.2 percent, outperforming womenswear by 5.8 percentage points. Growth in the UK menswear category is set to be driven by the increasing influence of fashion, as well as retailers growing investment in the category (Hendriksz, 2017).
Maybe Miu Miu needs to strategize better or maybe they’re already on the path the success, but one thing is for certain, if they don’t keep up in the fast-paced industry, they will eventually fall behind.
What are your thoughts? Where do you place on the fashion market level diagram; luxury or economy?
Let me know below!
- How Chinese athleisure fans are driving the luxury fashion market (2017) Available at: http://www.scmp.com/magazines/style/fashion-beauty/article/2107025/why-chinese-athleisure-fans-are-driving-luxury. (Accessed: 26th November 2017).
- PRADA Group (no date) Available at: http://www.pradagroup.com/en/group/group-profile. (Accessed: 26th November 2017)
- L2 ThinkTank (2016) FASHION, RANKINGTHEBRANDS: SYNCFORCE.
- Hendriksz, V (2017) UK clothing market to reach 51.2 billion pounds by 2022, FASHION UNITED. Available at: https://fashionunited.uk/news/business/uk-clothing-market-to-reach-51-2-billion-pounds-by-2022/2017070625093.
- Reportlinker (2017) Prnewswire, 5th July. Available at: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-uk-clothing-market-2017-2022-300483862.html.
- She-conomy (2015). Available at: http://she-conomy.com/report/marketing-to-women-quick-facts. (Accessed 26th November, 2017).
- IMAGES: Source miumiu.com (http://www.miumiu.com/en?cc=GB) http://www.pinterest.com and my own.