For the last 3 months there has been something that has been top on many fashion followers calendars; the Alexander Wang release for H&M. The event was open to those with an early bird ticket which were rare. With faces like Ellie Golding, and champagne, live music and the chance to get their hands on the first Alexander Wang pieces, it was packed that night, and by mid-day on Thursday the website had crashed and all stock had been sold. This sudden rush for H&M is why it is so developed and ahead of many other high street shops, as it offers something different to entice new customers as well as holding onto the existing. This is key, not only for the store but for the individual designers as it allows a large audience for the brand as the prices and the audience have changed to suit the occasion. It is, and will always be remembered as an incredible event.
Despite the wet and windy weather on Monday, I headed out at 9am to gain a true understanding on where shops are placed within central London; looking and individual brands and their key locations. How fashion brands create a visual presence on the hughstreet and the shopping districts; creating a strong and well developed awareness of the market level clusterings. In particular, I was focusing on Dior and the way the company had presented themselves to the audiences, and how they enticed their target market in competition with other big brands.
To start the exercise off, I started at Oxford Circus, making my way to Conduit St, which is where a lot of luxury brands are found – Vivienne Westwood, Donna Karan, Moschino, and most importantly Sketch – which is the original show room in London that Dior used to use; a lot of presence of the Dior company still lies there, and the feel of the brand is very much still present. Down this hughstreet is one of many Dior stores; this one predominately selling shoes and bags – which allowed me to explore the new Diorissimo bags for the first time. Then onto Saville Row – the home of tailoring in London, and where Henry Poole & Co and Norton & Sons can be found; all lined up offering something different with their tailoring. Each and every store looked sophisticated and well thought out – which is vital in that particular section of the fashion market. What was also very interesting is that I was able to watch a lot of adjustments and actual tailoring take place, as the lower level of the shop was visible from the street; letting the customers have a more personal experience with the individual store.
With this close knit shopping sector, there are many different classes of shops; Haute Couture all the way to Economy, which was very interesting to look at the precise grouping and classes and where each shop was placed within the market. Stella McCartney is several doors down from the famous Hartnell Gallery, which sat right next to Matthew Williamson; this close connection between the shops is a clear grouping of the Brand Diffusion market. The hierarchy of fashion is something that is taken very seriously, and walking along Bond Street, Mayfair, Oxford street and even Conduit Street, it is very easy to identify the target audience for that particular street – a very in-depth and personal shopping experience.
Bridge Brands sit above the high street, but below Luxury fashion, it is used as the bridge between the expensive market and the more moderate pricing. The term ‘Bridge Brands’ originates int he 70’s due to the gap in the market which quickly emerged as there was a large gap within the industry. Because of the link between the two, there is a larger target market due to the range in price; meaning that the market is very middle classed, and predominately women aged 30 onwards; very sophisticated fashion lovers who have an income to dispose of. The entry price for a bridge brand is around £50, which is a lot more realistic within the target audience, such shops as Ted Baker, Karen Millen, Joseph, L.K. Bennett and Heritage; these are upperclass designer shops, which are concentrated on their target audience. The brand Reiss have several stores across the UK, Ireland, Asia, USA and Malaysia, proving the desire and want for this market, as well as many bigger brands, such as Cos owning other smaller companies, which are either in the same market of the lower level, such as H&M.