ABC Retailing pt. 2

Reading the comments on Kathleen’s post on ABC Retailing (other links at close) really got me thinking. Time and time again, there have been complaints and criticisms (by the same posters) of the premium denim market and how boring it is. As a retailer, I am continually fascinated by the market for premium denim and with that, premium casual clothing. I watch the market closely. Having said all that, I have a few things to say.

First things first, we all pretty much know that luxury casual is a west coast trend pioneered by Southern Californian companies. While some find the plain-jane styles “boring” and repetitive, it really came from an interesting market perspective: that not all people who wear casual clothes are broke. I don’t know any other way to say it. There is a large market of fashion conscious consumers with money to spend, who needed a middle ground between expensive business and evening wear and cheap grungy sweats and tees. They wanted to go about their daily business without looking grungy, but without dressing all the way up.

Oh and did I mention they have money to spend?


From that came a string of start ups making their mark by doing one thing really, really well. C&C and tees, Juicy Couture and the velour tracksuit, Seven and jeans, and so on. High end casual wear versatile enough to wear by day and evening. Now, if you talk to a consumer of these items, they can usually tell you what they love -the lighweight sheerness of a C&C tee that washes well and doesn’t lose it’s shape (and the rainbow of colors), the perfect fit of the Juicy tracksuit (and the rainbow of colors), the just-right rise of Seven Jeans and the delectable washes. The things that others find boring are really because the minutiae of these details is pointless to the non-consumer. Now, it must be said that each company has grown and expanded from where they started and have developed well-rounded brands from a simple start.

For example, you often hear people bemoan “not another premium denim company.” While there is definitely a large influx as people try to cash in on a cash cow, each line usually has it’s own unique spin on a common concept- unique proprietary washes and finishing effects, vintage, Japanese or selvedge denim, a different fit and shape, embellishments and artistic detail, etcetera. What seems boring is only so because there are so many people who have no appreciation for another niche’s business model. Or another way of saying it, if you wear basic jeans, I can understand why premium denim seems boring to you, as a non-consumer, the details don’t matter. I can say the same for tees, as my experiences with attempting to source high quality cotton knits showed me just how much work it is to find a high quality knit that can launder well, retain it’s shape, and is light enough for layering. These companies are working with mills to create new knits. And if you’re a Hane’s person, the details don’t matter to you.

Every industry has it’s segment of basics. In the contemporary apparel market it’s jeans, tees and lounge/sportswear. In the career apparel market, it’s white dress shirts (wink and nod to Kathleen), in the evening wear market it’s the basic black dress. I think that in our efforts to become innovative artists, we often overlook the essential market because it’s not good enough for us, it doesn’t showcase our skills. But it’s selling and it’s selling well, and if you’re not paying attention, you’re missing out. If that’s not your line of business, so be it, but don’t knock it.

Related:
ABC Retailing pt.1
ABC Retailing pt.2
ABC Retailing pt.3
ABC Retailing pt.4

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20 comments

  1. christy fisher says:

    Oh.. I totally agree that the world revolves around basics..
    The line I am currently in production with is all about basics to anchor my “artsy” tops.
    We all live in basics..
    ..but to *most* of America basics are not $200 jeans. There IS a middle ground between WalMart and the luxury market- and it is sorely underserved.

    My *boredom* with the ‘cami, tee, jean’ thing is that whether it be in the *luxury end* or the middle ground, I do not see many designers stepping outside the box these days. And to continue to promote more of the same is just mass marketing ad nauseum.

    To bring this topic (which is on the mass marketing by ABC and not personal attacks, btw):
    If a show like DH is getting so much attention, then it would be a lovely venue to showcase new looks, put a perk to American design scene, give a few new designers a break, make some new trends instead of just running old ones into the ground..etc. etc.

    My point of view definitely does not come from a snobbish perspective..the snobbishness is coming from the vendors who think that there are nothings but *haves* and *have nots* and that the world is divided sharply into those with a lot of money to spend and “grunge”.
    The middle (and lower) markets are actually he people who WATCH television.
    To push luxury items at that market , to me, is a form of subliminally “shaming” them into feeling that they are “not good enough” if they do not buy the luxury item. This is the pinnacle of snobbishness….. (and one of the reasons that Americans are up to their eyeballs in debt trying to live what they believe is the “right” way..(having the “right” brands, etc. to feel accepted) …By remembering that the general public, for the most part ARE sheeplike and malleable by advertising, and most Americans do not have the expendable income that your premium buyers seem to have, it sure seems to me that it would make more sense if television shows would expand the horizons a bit and write a more diverse character or two in the mix ..someone who could dress the part of quirkiness or whatever..
    Hey, it’s not my show..and sure, ABC has the right to market the hell out of it..but do I have to like it? no. Do I have the right to my opinion? yes…and so do you.
    ..and if we all agreed on everything and *shut up* other people who had opposing opinions, then this country would not be what it is (as messy as it can get at times)..it is still a place where we have free speech, and (hopefully) free thinking..and someday the pendulum of *fashion* will swing again where there is a little more originality and a bit more realistic price point in American clothing.

  2. Miracle says:

    If a show like DH is getting so much attention, then it would be a lovely venue to showcase new looks, put a perk to American design scene, give a few new designers a break, make some new trends instead of just running old ones into the ground..etc. etc.

    I have told you before that DH does feature many unknown designers. MANY. That their products are not in the ABC store is not a sign that all they showcase are mass marketed brands. Even one brand prominently featured, Blue Tattoo, is very much an independent LA based label. How do I know, because I’ve been in the showroom, many times, when a brand I used to carry was repped there.

    There are many other brands that are indie, that are featured on DH, I know because I either recognize them, or have come across the publicist/owner some other way. I find that it’s convenient for you to continue to ignore that, and go on and on about a show that you admittedly don’t watch. So I wonder which mass brands and trends are you tired of seeing and exactly (specifically) what do you want them replaced with?

    You want to replace jeans and tees with ______

    By remembering that the general public, for the most part ARE sheeplike and malleable by advertising

    Your continued comments that the consumers are nothing more than sheep is insulting to the very person it seems that you would want to reach. If you don’t respect the consumer, they know it and they won’t respect your brand. Consumers read this blog, you link to your website, you’re insulting them and turning them off.

    The middle (and lower) markets are actually he people who WATCH television.
    To push luxury items at that market , to me, is a form of subliminally “shaming” them into feeling that they are “not good enough” if they do not buy the luxury item.

    No it’s not. SATC was nothing but, as my friend puts it “Jimmy Choos marketed to women on a Nine West budget.” But I see that you don’t complain as much about the luxury push of that show. The reality is the media is supposed to represent an element of desire. Celebs aren’t exciting if they wear Payless shoes and Wal Mart jeans. Carrie Bradshaw could not be Carrie Bradshaw in a wardrobe furnished by JC Penny.

    and someday the pendulum of *fashion* will swing again where there is a little more originality and a bit more realistic price point in American clothing.

    I’ll keep that in mind next time there is a discussion on costing, as DEs lament that they can’t compete on price with many bigger brands. I’ll remind them that their price point needs to meet this arbitrary standard of realism that is not actually based on costing the merchandise, but on an objective opinion.

    Tell me, how much should these items actually sell for?

  3. christy fisher says:

    On the fill in the blank..
    How about Jeans and tees could be alternated (not replaced) with a skirt and Kathleens vintage inspired top..or a dress from a one of a kind indie designer..(sure, they can use mine :-)
    No really, Miracle..don’t you see where you are going with this and seing it as a black and white issue? there is a lot of room for gray.

    How much (do I feel) these items should sell for? By these items, I am assuming you mean a basic, nice jean? I’d say $60 to $80 with $100 max.
    Tee shirts: $30-$40

    I think those were your questions>

    Again.. this discussion is about ABC’s marketing of DH.. not about SATC..so I am not hear to speak up about EITHER (or any shows specifically- this topic is really about MASS marketing and, I thought, our individual opinions on it) but to answer your question:
    The reason I think SATC had a better range of marketing is that they had a wider range of characters, looks, and price points. Sure, they had Jimmie Choos, but they were worn with a thrift store top and a no-name skirt, etc.
    (maybe from JCP..I don’t know)

    People ARE sheep like, and trend driven (trends are founded on sheeplike thinking). That is what advertising is all about or we wouldn’t have advertising at all. You are a sheep. I am a sheep. We are all sheep to some extent in some arena..
    It’s just the psychology of people.
    It’s what mass advertisers thrive on.
    It is not a disrepect to anyone. It is basic advertising truth.
    You say:
    “The reality is the media is supposed to represent an element of desire.”
    So I guess you think that the only purpose of television advertising is to project a total fantasy lifestyle?
    It seems that is what it does.
    The media is not “supposed” to do any one thing.. not only can it create “desire” it can also document realism (I think that is called telling the truth VS hyping a myth) ..and often there is a lot of fantasy and no realism, which is leading many of our youth into believing that what they watch on TV is what is real (and also selling them on the idea that what they see is necessary to be happy)..

    Back the ABC thing:
    You said:
    “I have told you before that DH does feature many unknown designers. MANY. That their products are not in the ABC store is not a sign that all they showcase are mass marketed brands.”
    What do you mean “that their products are not in the ABC store is not a sign that all they showcase are mass marketed brands”??
    Then what DOES it mean?
    Doesn’t it mean they are geared towards the mass marketed brands?

    Gee, Miracle.. Have a great day..

  4. Miracle says:

    How much (do I feel) these items should sell for? By these items, I am assuming you mean a basic, nice jean? I’d say $60 to $80 with $100 max.
    Tee shirts: $30-$40

    Kathleen has told me that in her area, the cut and sew on jeans is around $9-10 per pair. I have read (in Apparel News) that the denim many of these companies use ranges from $6-12 a yard (and up). Many companies use narrow width denim, woven on vintage looms. That may put us at around 2 yards per pair for fabric.

    I could be wrong.

    At the low end that’s about $20-22 per pair, and that’s before the wash, which in many cases takes days or weeks, and requires hand finishing to get the distressed look. Kathleen has linked to a blog before, through which I found a link to a LA Times article about the denim finishing business, I can’t find it now, and I haven’t had it priced but I imagine those laborious washes are not cheap.

    But even without the wash, we’re already at a $100 retail with just the cost of cut, sew and materials. After all, there are other costs to be incorporated.

    $60-80, you’re talking low end or made overseas, not premium made in the USA. Most of your brands at that price point are made in Asian factories.

    I could give you similar stats for t-shirts because I know of some of the mills where a couple brands get their fabric, and it ain’t cheap.

    So Christy, have you based your idea on an arbitrary opinion or rudimentary costing?

    One of the companies that is lowering their price point (paper denim and cloth) is doing so by moving production to Mexico. Most premium denim and tee shirt companies are manufacturing in the US, most in Southern California.

    I think this is a valid discussion, because you as a DE, are knocking someone else’s product, by just giving an opinion, not based in numbers, about their pricing. Being a DE, it seems like you should know better.

    Because there would be plenty of people who would want to knock your price point too, but I’m sure you can justify yours.

  5. Kathleen says:

    People ARE sheep like, and trend driven (trends are founded on sheeplike thinking). That is what advertising is all about or we wouldn’t have advertising at all. You are a sheep. I am a sheep. We are all sheep to some extent in some arena..
    It’s just the psychology of people.
    It’s what mass advertisers thrive on.
    It is not a disrepect to anyone. It is basic advertising truth.

    Christy, I respectfully disagree. I am not a sheep. I am not affected by the pervasiveness of mass market advertising! I’m just not that stupid. Furthermore, I don’t agree that the profile of reader that I tend to attract are sheep either. They’re drawn to what I write because they are discerning! I know what you’re trying to say but in real life, I -personally and professionally- don’t hang with sheep.

  6. big Irv says:

    “Celebs aren’t exciting if they wear Payless shoes and Wal Mart jeans. Carrie Bradshaw could not be Carrie Bradshaw in a wardrobe furnished by JC Penny.”

    Who says they can’t be exciting if they wear sensibly priced shoes and clothing from the aforementioned companies? Are we so shallow to dismiss Angelina as a “B” celeb if we caught her in a pair of Target jeans ? Paris “slumming” it in a thrift shop ? What about BOHO chic ? That can go either way. What about retail trends and habits in NYC or the NorthEast in general ?

  7. christy fisher says:

    You say:
    “I think this is a valid discussion, because you as a DE, are knocking someone else’s product, by just giving an opinion, not based in fact, about their pricing. Being a DE, it seems like you should know better.”

    I’m sorry, but where do you get off saying that to me..?? That is quite unecessary.

    I base my opinions on costing, experience, and also on sources that I have found at some of the same markets that you are attending.

    You can get a great quality denim through majors such as Cone for $2-3 (less in huge quantity)
    ..so there is a problem right there with their fabric costs.
    I do not know where these people are getting denim woven on “vintage looms”.. That sounds like a bunch of hooey to me.. and what make a piece of cloth that is woven on an antique loom any *better* than a piece of cloth that is woven on a modern loom??
    The modern looms are more consistent in their weave and produce a better quality.. so again, *I* think the “vintage loom thing” is “hype” (or a possible one trick pony for someone this season)..and using a narrow width fabric doesn’t make the fabric any *better*.. using a narrow width will push cost up.. so it is not good business to use a narrow width fabric in production.
    This is definitely targeting a “narrow” market.

    Also, my perspective is that there are a billion things you can do to a piece of cloth besides “washing and finishing”..many of which can be done “in house”…(as we are seeing by the rising trend of unembellished jeans with *no* distressing, but perhaps a trademark thread color/stitch)

    ..and T shirt fabric? $1.5-3 a yard tops.. takes about 1 yard-1.25 for any type of top.
    Heck, even a microfiber or a bamboo is less than $5 in quantity.
    cut and sew: $4. at the high end
    Plain long sleeve top:
    (we’ll spec high)
    $7. supplies $4. labor..double it(a down and dirty way of getting a profit margin)..22. wholesale.
    (and actually if it was costed by percentages instead of doubled, it would probably wholesale around $18.)
    Sells at keystone for $44.

    but then again..I am a designer who believe that DES should not try to “compete” in the same arena as the mass marketing companies in the first place. I believe that DEs should form their own paths instead of jumping on trends.

  8. Miracle says:

    Who says they can’t be exciting if they wear sensibly priced shoes and clothing from the aforementioned companies?

    When used as a twist, celebs wearing lower price points can be a unique spin on. Such as Sharon Stone’s Gap tee at the Oscars years ago. Now as much buzz as that created, I read that her accompanying skirt and full length coat cost thousands of dollars.

    Or even Camryn Manheim’s payless shoes at another award show (I believe it was the Emmy’s) years ago.

    But it’s a twist that, if overused, loses its value.

    If Angelina did wear Target jeans, I could hear you complaining about big huge corporate retailers dominating. So what is it that you want? Independent brands or independent inexpensive brands, because it’s hard to be a DE at a Wal Mart price point.

    Paris “slumming” it in a thrift shop ?

    Paris shops at thrift shops, just not $2 thrift shops.

  9. Miracle says:

    You can get a great quality denim through majors such as Cone for $2-3 (less in huge quantity)

    And I’m sure you can get cheaper yarn, to go with your $1.00 jobber fabric, but many companies choose not to make that substitute. Why is it that other DEs can’t respect that?

  10. Miracle says:

    .and T shirt fabric? $1.5-3

    Christy, they are not using $1.50 fabric, even though that is available. Yes, that’s a substitute you might make, but maybe you don’t understand the customer for that market. I know of one of the mills where a particular brand gets thier fabric, and they don’t even sell $1.50 cotton. That’s not their level of quality or price point and a domestic mill usually can’t make any money at that level. So are you talking imported fabric, or jobber fabric?

  11. christy fisher says:

    “But it’s a twist that, if overused, loses its value.”

    This is the way many of us look at the “luxury market”.. a piece here and there is an “interesting twist”.. but a full diet of it loses meaning.

    Oh..and on the costing of a “premium item”..
    In previous posts you have mentioed that “premium” and “luxury” differ from the “rest of the types of brands” in the cut of the garment…
    Well, it costs the same amount to cut a T shirt or a pair of pants, no matter whether they are branded “premium” or “grunge”.

  12. Miracle says:

    Oh..and on the costing of a “premium item”..
    In previous posts you have mentioed that “premium” and “luxury” differ from the “rest of the types of brands” in the cut of the garment…
    Well, it costs the same amount to cut a T shirt or a pair of pants, no matter whether they are branded “premium” or “grunge”.

    Cut (or better yet the shape and fit of the garment) was not mentioned as a factor in cost, but as a factor in the difference in the customer’s needs that are being accomodated.

    You get a completely different fit from premium denim and target jeans, they are targeting different customers.

    I get that you are a DE who looks for lower and lower cost items, I get that you would do so much in-house, even garment washing, which requires machinery, chemicals and other such inputs that usually aren’t even safe enough to have in an environment that is not well constructed and ventilated, with workers trained to handle the chemicals. I even get that you would put an expensive, EPSON printed fabric, as a liner to a jacket just for coolness, despite the high cost of self-printing fabric.

    What I don’t get is your lack of respect for the market and business model others choose.

    In making your argument for suitable substitutions, it is clear, very clear, that you don’t understand what it is that the customer feels that they get in quality when they buy a “premium” item. I have been to the same textile shows as you and trust me when I say, with complete confidence, that $1.50 cotton doesn’t even have the same hand as a C&C tee shirt.

    If they used a cheaper/lower quality, cotton, they would have an entirely different product, aimed at an entirely different consumer. This, you don’t seem to understand.

  13. christy fisher says:

    I think there is a market for everything and
    I am entitled to my opinion.
    It does not reflect a lack of “respect” for the market . I do, however have a lack of respect for some others “business models”, especially when it is based on overpricing and “hype”.

    ..and you certainly do judge me harshly without knowing me at all.
    BTW.. that jacket you are speaking of is retailing at a lesser pricepoint than those premium jeans..

    ..and I was in the same booth as a couple of the gals from one of the aforementioned *premium* brands and I know what they paid for their fabrics.

    It seems like you really think I am a dunce, with no insight to production, no grip on the market, and not a clue as to customers needs.
    Thank goodness, after being a survivor in this business for 30 years, I have a thickened skin…

  14. Miracle says:

    It seems like you really think I am a dunce, with no insight to production, no grip on the market, and not a clue as to customers needs.

    No, I don’t think you’re a dunce. I think you believe that consumers who buy these brands are senseless sheep who don’t know what they like, want or need, and that’s not true. I don’t know how you could respect about customers’ needs while calling them sheep who don’t make independent choices.

    Furthermore, you have made it clear that this market is not your market, and having said that, I believe there is an element of consumer and retailer perspective, in that market, that you do not understand, and your substitutes to get a lower cost, reflect that. Your $185 jean girl might have a pair of $80 jeans in her closet, but it’s unlikely that she considers it a suitable substitute, and would trade her True Religions for jeans from Express, even though YOU might see it as a substitute.

    ..and I was in the same booth as a couple of the gals from one of the aforementioned *premium* brands and I know what they paid for their fabrics.

    And they paid $1.50?

    ————-
    If we look at the market, from a demographic perspective, and you take a look at the premium brands, and all the brands they compete with… (in other words, let’s not compare $180 jeans to Levi’s 501s because they are not marketed towards the same customer)… you will find that the brands that retail at the $100 price point or below, are made overseas.

    Even when you talk about SATC using JC Penny clothes, or as Big Irv said, Angelina Jolie wearing jeans from Target, you are talking about an import product.

    You usually cannot make the low cost and domestic manufacturing argument in the same sentence.

  15. Alison Cummins says:

    I realised a long time ago that when the niceness of something goes up a little bit, the price goes up a lot.

    The cost of materials may go up a little; patterns may be drawn with a little more consideration for the body and a little less for layout efficiency; perhaps it’s made in a shop that pays the operators a little more. But the real cost increases come from other things.

    When something is a little bit nicer, it’s usually sold in a little bit nicer store, on a little bit nicer street, with a little bit nicer marketing. These things add quite a bit.

    Depending on the price point we’re starting at, when people have the choice between something ok and something a little bit nicer that costs rather more, most of them will go with the ok one. So the little bit nicer one can sell a lot less. (Think: falling off the right-hand tail of a bell curve.) The markups are likely to reflect the lower volume.

    Finally, people will pay for exclusivity. In the fifties and sixties a major concern was showing up at a party where someone else was wearing the same dress. This happened when everyone leaped on the most expensive dress in the store, each betting that nobody else would buy it. (Now that we have more stores this doesn’t happen as much any more.) We see this phenomenon in a big way when people pay many thousands of dollars for couture dresses and the assurance that they will receive a personal telephone call from the designer if someone else buys the same dress. True Religion jeans might have a corner on a certain class or clique right now, but the minute everyone starts wearing wearing them the luxury casual SoCal market will move on to something else.

    Well, actually there’s more. People will also pay for the clothes that the “right” people are wearing. When I was in an exclusive Northeast college in the early 80s I was amazed at the way students passed around their Land’s End (I think) cataloges. They *wanted* to dress alike, to feel like part of the right crowd. If they dressed out of the Land’s End catalogue they knew that they wouldn’t be mistaken for people less privileged. (I came from a missionary school in West Africa where my fellow students dressed out of charity bins from their little churches back home. Many could not afford a bathing suit and were proud of their ability to sew their own out of a hideous polyester double-knit that someone had donated to her church because she couldn’t find a use for it. Being too poor to have nice clothes was a difficult thing for them to manage when they grew up with African kids who had nothing to wear but a t-shirt until they reached school-age, so they knew they were supposed to be grateful for what they had, but still… Anyway, the Land’s End phenomenon was really peculiar for me coming from that background.)

    For myself, I know I don’t want to believe I’m wearing the same thing as everyone else, but I use my skills and creativity (which I have) to acheive this end and not money (which I don’t). I like to imagine I’m special. But so does everyone else.

    So… getting around to it… I think any discussion of what something “should” cost is pointless, because the cost of something is part of its value.

    On the other hand, Christy’s points that clothes are used to define class, and that this poses a hardship for the less well-off, is absolutely bang-on. This isn’t the fault of any particular marketing scheme but of the American insistence that 1) there is no class system and 2) that if you are poor it’s your own choice and reflects badly on you.

    But I ask that any further discussion of the American class system (or lack thereof) be kept private, because I’m quite sure it’s OT. And will be generative, but probably not always in a very nice way. Ok?

  16. Alison Cummins says:

    Wait… this is about Nigerian class signifiers so forgive me for immediately disregarding my own request…

    Clothing is a class signifier all over the world, but the manifestations change. Where I lived in Nigeria in the late seventies / early eighties there were very few clothing stores (they would consist of market stalls selling underwear and second-hand t-shirts from the States) but lots of fabric merchants, tailors and dressmakers. The way to demonstrate that you had made it was to buy enough expensive fabric in one shot to dress the entire family. So a beautiful sight was to watch families walking to church together, mother, father and children all wearing robes of the same brocade. Pink was a favorite colour, but blue and green were also worn. If brocade was out of your reach, you bought print fabric, but still dressed the entire family the same. Family members going out together in public but dressed differently was a sign you didn’t quite have it together, but everyone should at least be clean and have their hair done nicely. That at least should be in the reach of everyone. Except motherless children of course, who were thus immediately visible.

  17. Kristen says:

    I have a question. Is the designer’s fee part of the COGS? I have been musing on purses to be specific. I could care less about them, but I am amazed at what people pay for Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton. I figured that it was one of two things – is it that a designer for that company requires a hefty fee to crank out the drawings OR is the price an arbitrary number based on name brand (i.e. this is a fancy brand therefore it must cost over a thousand dollars). What gives on the pricing of those items for retail?

  18. Alison Cummins says:

    Oh dear, it’s me again. Musing in the métro on the way to work, getting excited about my own ideas and insisting on displaying my narcissism in public.

    I realised I was completely unclear about why the Land’s End catalogue thing was so peculiar to me when I could see for myself the distress that not being able to buy nice clothes caused my classmates. Maybe I should break it down more.

    First, I had just not seen the whole high-school dressing-alike phenomenon, so it was new to me.

    Second, the boys were the ones who suffered the most. They would wear the same mismatched, too-small, plaid shirt and plaid pants all the time because that was what they had. Girls were at an advantage because they would sew their own clothes and showcase their competence. The fabric they had to choose from was never beautiful, but they could still make clothes that fit nicely and were carefully finished. So for the boys, clothing could only signify access to cash, or how rich their church was. For the girls, clothing could also signify competence and sometimes creativity if they also did embroidery. (Embroidering a boyfriend’s shirt was a way to let him use clothes to signify that he had a girlfriend. Phew! Finally something beyond money.) Because my family worked for money and had cash, they could buy me fabric in the local market and I would signify my iconoclasm by making Western-inspired clothes in African fabrics.

    So I guess what perplexed me in college was that clothes were used primarily to signify money, and not also competence or creativity. Individualism was reflected in things like whether you wore your Lacoste shirt collar up or down, and (for men) whether or not you wore pink Lacoste shirts.

    And I guess that’s part of what’s making some people uncomfortable with the Desperate Housewives / retail combination. That when a network retails goods, it’s using a show that uses clothing primarily to signify wealth and gender. Clothing can also be used to signify many other things, like creativity and competence, but these aren’t sold by Trader Joes and therefore there’s a disincentive to feature these aspects of humanity on the show. Lightbulb.

    This doesn’t take away from Miracle’s point that consumers wants to buy what they want to buy and that there’s no point in arguing with them. She’s right.

    (I’ll say something to Kristen and then I’ll shut up. Promise.)

    I think that part of the astronomical prices for high-end goods is that rich people want to deal with people who understand them. Preferably other rich people, or people who are almost rich. Meaning that everyone who is part of the marketing chain of these goods should be paid as much as possible so that they can really appreciate the customer’s lifestyle and wants. And of course to attract the already-wealthy to the business so that they can bring their savvy to it. This drives up the cost of the item hugely.

  19. Miracle says:

    is it that a designer for that company requires a hefty fee to crank out the drawings OR is the price an arbitrary number based on name brand (i.e. this is a fancy brand therefore it must cost over a thousand dollars). What gives on the pricing of those items for retail?

    I honestly don’t know what portion of a high end bag’s price can be attributed to paying a “brand premium.” However, we must not overlook the fact that those bags are not comparable to a more mainstream bag, like Coach, in quality in workmanship. They use higher quality and more expensive leathers, fabrics and trims, and they are often handmade in European (mainly Italian) houses by skilled workers, not in Asian factories.

    That’s not to knock mainstream brands, but just to point out that the products are in a different league.

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