Labels: Is all that glitters truly gold?

Originally posted 2018-07-09 1:03:55

By Eliana Rocchi |

Designer garments might cost a lot of money. Yet, a large number of consumers are willing to go the extra mile to buy them and would choose the high end designer label over a less known brand of clothing or a no-brand. No matter if they can easily afford it or not. Is that reasonable? Are consumers paying for the product they are buying or just for its label?

Some argue that squandering on too expensive fashion items is a waste of money dictated by purely superficial motivations and that people that buy them are victims of an illusion. But a label is not just a piece of fabric with a fancy name on it.

Some very substantial aspects contribute to the “big name” label price. First of all, of course, high end luxury brands must earn their reputation in the first place by providing high quality products, and then must keep the quality high in order to safeguard their reputation and preserve their customers’ trust and favor. High quality necessarily costs more to produce, but that is not it. Original designs require extensive and specialized research that might be extremely costly: a lot of time and work and the top designers are needed to create – and put on the market before any other competitor – always new collection items that keep abreast with the latest trends. Research must be performed about raw materials and processes as well, and the well known brand must make sure it is using the best material and the newest processes. Furthermore, the manufacture is often a very important cost factor, as a well known brand wants to guarantee the best quality by adopting top-manufacturing practices, like hand-made finishing, that require skilled manufacturers and slow processing.

On the other hand it is also true that top brands are very careful about keeping their prices high as a marketing strategy. A lower price would in fact undermine the brand exclusivity and ultimately its customers’ fidelity as they would be deprived of their ability to show their buy-power.

So when is it really worth it to spend more for a brand? What should one consider before splurging on a designer product? First of all one has to balance his or her budget with the pluses a high end brand can offer, which could be very subjective. For example how high is one’s desire or need to show off a “statement item”, how much does one value the standard quality and some reassuring standard features (like fitting, or design style), how strong is one’s affection for a brand and satisfaction wearing it. There are also some objective considerations one should keep in mind, though. For example one could consider whether the item is a classic that will allow a number of wearings and will last for a long time or it is a seasonal, very trend-contingent piece of clothing that will need to be replaced soon and will afford the owner only a few wearing occasions. Another objective-subjective consideration: is the price difference between the top brand item and a less known brand equivalent acceptable?


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