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High End Expectations for High End Brands

Customers expect more from luxury brands. But what does luxury mean when it comes to fashion brands in 2021?

Luxury has always been about the label and the price tag which have always held their luxurious title for their ability to make the consumers look wealthy and of a higher status. However, there has been a departure from the need for luxury brands to be so heavily reliant on craftsman ship or luxury items. The emphasis is now on being very unique, often to be the point of taking fashion further than it has ever been taken before.

According to the Vogue Business Luxury Fashion Index, over 8,000 luxury shoppers found Alexander McQueen, Versace, and Valentino to be the most popular. Their digital marketing and branding surpassed that of the classic luxury brands like Dior and Gucci. It seems that to be at the top of the luxury fashion hierarchy you need your collections to be endorsed by influencers and celebrities, Instagrammable, and unique.

Social Media and Digital Marketing

Fashion houses like Alexander McQueen, Versace, and Valentino have extremely prominent social media presences, particularly on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. McQueen and Valentino have been found to have over 40% engagement on their Facebooks which exceeds other fashion houses by far. Meanwhile, on YouTube, Versace holds the top spot for the highest rated fashion brand. With Gen z projected to be the majority consumers of luxury brands by 2035, social media presence is crucial for the success of luxury fashion brands to continue. One way in which luxury brands keep up social media engagement is through the use of influencers and celebrities. Media Kix found that 63% of Gen Z preferred to see social media influencers in advertisements and 37% preferred celebrities.

Visual Merchandising

Luxury brands are often associated with their visual merchandising and displays. When you think of luxury brands you naturally think of Tiffany window displays, or the incredible interior displays in stores such as Hermes and Chanel. The reason these luxury brands are so iconic is massively impacted by the decadence, heritage, and exclusivity that their visual merchandising provide. When you go into a luxury store there is never a price tag in sight. Every item is placed as an aspirational art instalment rather than a fast fashion rack of clothing that can be brought in bulk. The word aspirational is key here. These items need to seem one of a kind and unattainable. That old saying that ‘we always want what we can’t have’ definitely extends to fashion. Exclusivity is all part of the draw.

To achieve this, luxury brands use two basic VM techniques for both interior and exterior displays. The displays are immersive and experimental. For any shopping brand, the customer experience is everything. But for luxury brands you must go one step further. Everything from the aesthetic of the building to the use of imagery and lighting must all have a cohesive design and theme. Every sense must be pandered to with every aspect of the VM design. Your brand and themes must all be perfectly considered and in complete harmony.

Packaging

When it comes to luxury packaging, fashion houses such as Chanel have the money and eye for quality to be exacting. These precious garments have been purchased at high cost and therefore need high quality packaging to protect and compliment it. The colours used must be the exact depth and hue every time, the quality must 100% every time, and the ingenuity needs to compliment the theme and brand every time. Boring brown boxes or plastic carrier bags will not do. The packaging for some luxury brands makes the jewellery wrapping scene from ‘Love Actually’ look like nothing. Often you will find that your products will come in a custom-made box that in itself is its own spectacle like a pop-up book or music box. Then, each item will be wrapped in branded paper or a velour bag. Luxury brands do not skimp on their packaging.

It is not all about the price to be luxury. To be luxury you must be infamous for your unique designs and branding, your social media presence, and of course your desirability. The more engagement from consumers, the better. The more exclusive your brand, even better.

Just speak to our head of design to find out more about what you can do to create a luxury experience for your consumers.