Fashion Market Levels

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.

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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.

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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!




Emerging Markets

When it comes to that time of year, re-downloading Vogue Runway on our phones, the anticipation of who has reused the same fabric and patterns from last season again (Karl Lagerfeld, please stop); it’s Fashion Week b*tches. The iconic quadruple of Paris, Milan, London, New York fashion week is the most anticipated time of year for the majority of us, unless you have a job and a life. However, there is one thing these 4 cities have in common; they are all in developed countries. Fashion Week is not held there because they are developed countries, its more like the fashion industry has helped contribute to its economy.

An emerging market has some characteristics of a developed market, but does not meet the overall standards to be considered a developed marketThe fashion market as a whole is one of the most profitable industries in the world, worth around 3 trillion dollars, and accounts for 2 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (Fashion United, 2017). Therefore, we are left to consider, who is consuming these products.

We understand that the fashion market is divided from high-end (luxury) to low-end (economy) but its the haute couture sector that makes the majority of the money. I mean, do you know how much a haute couture gown retails at? In equivalent, you could buy around 800,000 packets of ramen noodles. Lets do a little something… 800000 divided by 365 (days in a year) equals to around 2200. You could feed 2200 university students ramen for dinner every day for a year instead of buying a haute couture gown… and that’s todays useless piece of information.


For conglomerates such as LVMH and the Kering group, the fashion division (haute couture and clothing) generate the most profit. Though we aren’t surprised, when analysing the consumption, its Asia who are the biggest consumers and China being the biggest consumer of luxury products. It is known that in the overseas Chinese business networks, they are all normally culturally bound, often family or personally related, and they would share values and political connections (Castells, 2000, p. 504). This is shown in contrast to the U.S, where this is not usually the case and so this impacts both markets in terms of the consumers and their providers. “Haute Couture is what gives our business its essential essence of luxury. The cash it soaks up is largely irrelevant. Set against the money we lose has to be the value of the image couture gives us. Look at the attention the collections attract,” stated Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH (Langley, 2010).

China is one of the emerging markets of BRICS, the upcoming of economy in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. A study showed that China will overtake the U.S. as world’s largest economy before 2030 (Geoff, 2017), so if I was the U.S right now, I’d get a move on. Amongst the BRICS, we could say at a glance that China and India are doing the best, however it’s not that simple. They may have the fastest growth rates of any economy in the world, but nearly 50 percent (Worldbank, 2017) of India’s population remain vulnerable to revert back to poverty, and China’s economy has slowed back down after wages were highbred, which made manufacturing more expensive again.




In relation to the BRICS, we also have the other emerging economies of the “MINTS”, which are Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. To make matters even more complicated, there are also the “TIMPS”, which are Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico and Philippines. Some seem to be overtaking BRIC’s in terms of profits, due to the rapid growth and the amount of investments. However, emerging markets are beneficial for different brands and companies as it allows expansion across the globe. But like always, some conflict may arise due to the difference in cultural standards, ethics and legal regulations.

However, emerging markets isn’t just in relation to the emerging economies across the globe. It can be anything from age demographics that may be making a comeback or a sector that’s up and coming. The age of millennials has been deemed as popular amongst creative directors, like Alessandro Michele for Gucci and Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana who seem to be targeting the younger generation as their consumer. Using this example, the emerging market would be the new age of millennials within the fashion industry. On the other hand, another emerging market would be Men’s fashion. The US young men’s market has grown substantially within the last few years. We know that ‘Millennial males’ aged 18-24 spend twice as much on apparel each year than men of previous generations (Prayank, 2017), so is the future of fashion male? We’ll see when the time comes.

What are your thoughts? Do you work in the fashion sector and are witnessing the growth of these emerging markets? Let me know below!

  • Fashion United (2017) Available at: Global fashion industry statistics – International apparel (Accessed: 26th November 2017).
  • Langley, W (2010) Haute couture: Making a loss is the height of fashion, Fashion Telegraph, 11th July.
  • Geoff, C (2017) Study: China Will Overtake the U.S. as World’s Largest Economy Before 2030, Fortune, 9th February.
  • Worldbank (2017) Available at: (Accessed: 26th November 2017).
  • Prayank (2017) Millennials Spend 200% Shopping Online Compared to Stores,
    Guidingtech, 16th June.
  • Castells, M (2000) The Rise of the Network Society: Economy, Society and Culture v.1: The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol 1 (Page. 504) Wiley-Blackwell; 2nd Revised edition edition.
  • Images. Source

Designer Clustering

Brands all have their individual positioning in the fashion market hierarchy, whether considered high end or high street, their positioning within the hierarchy is determined. In order for the brand to attract the right type of clientele, the brands have placed themselves within market sector clusters, often referred to as designer clustering. Designer Clustering also assesses where and why brands are situated and sold where they are. This is very important to consider when placing locations for permanent or pop up stores, as it would be very unusual to have a Louis Vuitton store near Camden Market. Maybe a Vetements or Off-White would be, but it just wouldn’t happen.

All joking aside, location is just as important as the visual merchandising side and the products sold there. When it comes to brands that sell a variety of different mediums, like fashion, beauty and have diffusion lines, it is rare that you would find all these sold in the same physical store… unless you’re Michael Kors in Covent Garden. Also, your competitors in the area are important to consider. If your store is placed between Ted Baker and Jack Wills, and you’re Gucci, chances are whoever is managing your store has an agenda against you.


In London, we’re fortunate to have multiple destinations to shop for our goods (student loan, wya?). This ranges from department stores like Selfridges and Harrods, to Covent Garden, to streets like Carnaby and New Bond Street. Though situated all across London, brands know where their products will sell better, which equates to more revenue for them. An example is why you can purchase Chanel beauty items at Covent Garden and inside Selfridges, but can only buy clothing items in their New Bond Street store. We ask ourselves, why not sell in Selfridges, voted the World’s Best Department store? ( There must be a reason behind it and that’s all that matters.

One of the major destinations for brands in London is Covent Garden. Having originally become known due to it’s two market and the opera house, it is now known as a shopping destination and tourist attraction. Covent Garden holds an assortment of high-end and high street stores, ranging from fashion to beauty to technology. We can see the specific clusters of brands, like for example, the placement of MAC Cosmetics and Bobbie Brown and the positioning of Chanel next to Dior.


Another major destination in London is the Selfridges department store. If your brand is worthy enough to be sold in Selfridges, you’ve officially made it (same goes for Harrods and Liberty). Selfridges sells the top luxury brands like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Givenchy and so on. This would be an ideal place for a physical store for luxury brands, as its easily accessible from Oxford Street and all stores are placed in one location, meaning not walking from destination to destination and shopping inside.

Have you noticed any designer clustering where you live?
Let me know below, its more common that you think!


Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property can be defined as, “something unique that you physically create. An idea alone is not intellectual property” (UK Intellectual Property Office, 2017). Copyright, patents, designs and trade marks are all types of intellectual property protection. Understanding intellectual property issues in the fashion sector is challenging, as this part of the industry is vital to the way businesses work. Intellectual Property are the legal rules that have to be followed so that the fashion industry works accordingly. These are all in turn personal and unique to different companies and the work ethics set. Intellectual Property is what keeps fashion a fast-paced and high earning business; and it is vital in understanding the way the businesses work.


Copyright protects the expression of an original creation that one may not want to be copied. An in-depth and detailed post written on discusses the different aspects of Intellectual Property, which may be deemed useful to some. As a copyrighter, these are the rights you would have:

  • Copying the work
  • Issuing copies to the public
  • Rending work
  • Adapting work
  • Communication
  • Secondary selling and distribution
  • Performing showing and playing work

Also, there are many exceptions of the rules of copyright; meaning that you can use it for private study and non commercial research. Infringement can also come into play within copyright, with a part or the whole of the copy.


Trademarks are words legally registered as representing a company or product. Trademarks will also make an indication of the origin of product, which gives you individuality and promotes your own work through the trademark. As each country will have different laws and regulations in regards to trademarks, if the trademark isn’t registered in a different country the trademark which is personal to you can be used somewhere else in the world.

A few examples of popular trademarks are symbols, like the Nike Swoosh, Burberry Check and the Red Soles of Louboutin’s are all trademarked. This means that if it is trademarked in every country, no brand can copy these. Trademarks last for 10 years and can be renewed after that. Infringement of the trademark is:

  • Identical goods or services.
  • Likelihood of confusion.
  • Trade marks with a reputation, with an unfair advantage or detriment.


To name a few of the biggest copyright lawsuits that took place last year are the notable Hedi Slimane vs YSL and Gucci vs Beyond The Rack. Hedi Slimane launched a two-part legal battle against his former employer Yves Saint Laurent and its parent company, Kering, just after his departure from the fashion house in April, 2016. In the case against Kering, the court sided with Slimane. Kering had to pay $13 million (TFL, 2017) to Slimane due to the way Slimane’s departure from Yves Saint Laurent was handled.

Gucci filed a lawsuit against a private designer shopping site, alleging that it was selling counterfeit Gucci bags. It stated that “Beyond the Rack recently promoted, advertised, distributed, offered for sale and/or sold a line of [at least four] unauthorized bags bearing an exact replica of Gucci’s registered Interlocking Non-Facing GG Monogram (or a mark substantially indistinguishable therefrom) and the registered GUCCI mark, including sale via its website located at” (TFL, 2017)


Other factors to consider are Design Rights, Moral Rights and Confidential Information. Design rights cover the whole aesthetic of the design itself. It protects the appearance of products and the specific aspects of it, such as lines, colours, contours and texture. Moral Rights is where an individual has the right to be acknowledged as the creator, however it cannot be assigned, it can only be waived within the fashion industry. This will last for the life of the creator, plus up to 70 years after their death to protect their work. Lastly, Confidential Information is information which isn’t known by many, so that it can’t be easily copied and replicated.

When creating a design, product, idea, the creator needs to make sure that they have looked at what is already copyrighted and need to thoroughly document their development process which has been undertaken for future reference.

What are your thoughts on intellectual property? Have you been a victim of copyright or trademark laws? Let me know below!


Inspiration or Duplication?

It’s that time again when we ask ourselves; is it inspiration or is it duplication? When it comes to the crunch, is there such thing as ‘originality’ left or can everything be traced back to way back when? In an industry where the demand for originality is high, some brands are finding it challenging to create new innovative ideas that will in turn bring more revenue and profits to their brand. But this doesn’t only occur in the fashion industry, it can be found among almost every industry there is.

This is where the problem lies; where is the line between inspiration and duplication? Picture this, imagine you create an authentic idea and then get called out for being a copycat within the industry because a designer two decades ago created something similar. Even though we were told this countless times as youngsters, it really is an unfair world. However, that is only one side to this controversy, what about when you’re copied? Imagine you create an authentic idea and then have some fast fashion chain or designer completely rip off your idea and, in some cases, have it become more successful than yours. What happens then?

Zara AW16 Bling Bling editorial Layout 02-2
Image from Zara A/W 2016 Campaign

Zara has nailed the aspect of not being first, but being fast. Theres a reason why the co-founder of Zara is the fourth richest man in the world, yes, the fourth. As much as I love to name and shame, they’ve really strategised a way to successfully steal ideas and reap the rewards. Earlier this year I wrote about Zara copying just a couple of some of fashions most loved brands, like Chanel and Miu Miu. The fact that this topic is still very much relevant today shows us that Zara is still facing (more like creating) this problem nearly a year down the line. However, it doesn’t stop there. They have been sued and called out, but is Zara as the copycat the biggest issue about the brand? No. The fact that they are the sole essence of what a fast fashion brand is and why we should not invest in fast fashion is what makes them the bottom of the chain.

In recent years, there have been a handful of people who have had the courage to call out these copycats. A few of these to name include Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, from DIET PRADA, and Marie Roure, from Fashion Copycats. DIET PRADA gained a significant amount of attention in October, being recognised by professionals like Naomi Campbell, Ricardo Tisci and Alessandro Michelle. It was even called “a must follow for fashion lovers” by WWD (Tietjen, 2017). However, once again, a problem arises. DIET PRADA has been criticised countless times for calling out copycats that, erm, are not exactly copying. Again, where is the line between inspiration and duplication?

A memorable example was Liu stating Christian Siriano copied a memorable yellow dress from Raf Simons’ debut at Christian Dior in F/W 2012. It wasn’t long before Liu was called out by his followers stating that the dresses were too different and it was a reach on his behalf. When you compare the two, you clearly see that the silhouettes, neckline and fit are all different and the only “copy” here is the shade of the dresses. Does using the same shade as a designer from half a decade ago make you a copycat? In my opinion (which is always subject to change), no.

Then we move onto the even bigger issue, fast fashion houses copying designers straight-off-the-runway. We’re aware the whole See-Now, Buy-Now phenomenon that came into play last year with some luxury brands. Whilst this has so many positives, such as sales rapidly growing and staying at a high, it also shares a great deal of negatives. The high demand for products in a short space of time means that products need to be made faster than usual, and therefore might not always be made to the same standard as it was before. Brands including Burberry, Tom Ford and Tommy Hilfiger revealed their first shoppable runway shows towards the end of last year, which enabled customers to buy their pieces immediately after they debuted on the catwalk. This led to some questioning, as to whether ‘See Now, Buy Now’ shows are indeed driving sales or doing the exact opposite (but that’s for another time).

Therefore, where is the line between inspiration and duplication? When there are bigger issues happening in the industry, like Kaia Gerber being nominated for Model of the Year when she hasn’t even been a model for a whole year (can I get a uhh-uhh for nepotism), why should our attention be focused on copycats when there are bigger issues out there? Diversity, underage models overworked, nepotism, exploitation and ED’s; the list goes on.

What are your thoughts? Will you turn a blind eye because you’re a Zara groupie?
Let me know below!


ETHICS: Sex Sells, but at what cost?

Using sex as an advertising strategy in the fashion industry is not unheard of and why should it be. But there is a clear line between sexualisation and exploitation, which has been crossed a few to many times. From Tom Ford adverts for Gucci, to the Calvin Klein jeans adverts in 2010, to the Dolce & Gabbana advert of what appears to simulate gang rape between one female and multiple males, when is it considered “high fashion” and when is it considered “exploitation”?

Many have spoken out on the issue presented to us. An industry that is continually trying  to sell their customer expensive items, chooses to market them on nude models? We ask, what’s on sale here? The product or the female body?

In many ways, a majority of us have become accustomed to the objectification of the female body without even realising it. It is frequently seen in advertisements, especially in marketing for perfumes and fragrances. In 2015, Miu Miu released their campaign for SS15 shot by Steven Meisel. With the model Mia Goth laying on a white bed in a drab room, the advert was banned for being “irresponsible” for showing what could have be seen as a child in a sexually suggestive pose, despite her own age. This is not the only advertisement that has been banned for suggestive images of young models looking like children.



In 2011, Dakota Fanning was put under pressure for the banned advertisement of herself for the Marc Jacobs perfume, Oh, Lola! The advertisement pictured the 17-year-old actress posing with an oversize bottle of the scent between her legs. British Advertising Standards Authority stated: “‘We noted that the model was holding up the perfume bottle which rested in her lap between her legs and we considered that its position was sexually provocative. We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality” (Wischhover, 2011).



We are always told that “sex sells” in any industry, but is it always true? A controversial topic in a modern society where young children, especially girls, are becoming exposed to content that makes them consider their appearance and compare themselves to the people on the big screen. Is this concept damaging society and our perception of ourselves? On the other hand, some believe that the whole concept of “sex sells” is a lie brought about by marketers to sell. Caroline Heldman explains this in-depth during her Ted Talk, looking at the objectification of women in our society and how we have all become accustom to the damaging effect is has on us.

If You Believe “Sex Sells”, You Have Successfully Been Brainwashed By A Lie


Do we need the concept of sex to sell to consumers?
Is it beneficial or have we just dealt with it over time as a society?
Will it ever stop? Let me know your thoughts below!


  • IMAGES: Source

ETHICS: Terry Richardson

Terry Richardson; photographer or predator?

Last week, Condé Nast announced that it has ceased working with Terry Richardson (Stylianides, 2017). Terry Richardson has been dropped and blacklisted by Conde Nast. If you ask me, it’s about 7 years too late. Is it now the latest trend to “drop” these so-called predators, just like the Harvey Weinstein situation that happened recently? Where was Conde Nast 5 years ago when Rie Rasmussen accused Richardson of abusing his power and calling his work “completely degrading to women”. Rasmussen said, “He takes girls who are young, manipulates them to take their clothes off and takes pictures of them they will be ashamed of. They are too afraid to say no because their agency booked them on the job and are too young to stand up for themselves” (Nelson, 2014). But that’s just one allegation out of tens, even hundreds of industry professionals that have had the unfortunate pleasure to have worked with him within his career. So the real question that lingers is, why was he able to get away with it for so long? Out of close-mindedness from his colleagues or because people prefer to stay neutral in a situation that could potentially affect their career?



From Coco Rocha, to Sena Cech to Charlotte Waters, they’ve all outwardly expressed never wanting to work with Richardson again, so why was he still getting booked years along the line? When you read testimonies of the situations Richardson put models through, you find yourself asking, who allowed this? Surely a photographer can’t have that much control over a situation.

Unfortunately, in the glamorous world of fashion, movies and music, there’s more that goes on behind closed doors than we’d like to know about. A fine example is Mr. Woody Allen, who was accused of sexual abuse by his adoptive daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was just 7 years old. There is a timeline of events that place what happened between Woody Allen and Dylan. This starts with Allen marrying Mia Farrow, who has children of her own that he legally adopted (she later on received sole custody of her children after their separation), to when she found explicit photos of her 20-year-old daughter Soon-Yi Previn in Allen’s possession, to when Allen and Previn married and had children of their own. Does it get any more twisted than that?

What was even more surprising was the content in Richardson’s book, Terryworld, that was released in 2004. The book clearly projected an industry in which naked underage girls are depicted as performing sex acts. So whilst I was 5 years old, starting primary school, models and celebrities were being taken advantage of by Richardson. When it comes to the crunch, was Richardson able to get away with it for decades because people weren’t aware how ethically and morally wrong it was, or because when a photographer whose been glorified for his work does something, you trust him and his way of thinking because, hey, he’s famous for a reason.

What are your thoughts? Let me know below!