Limited Edition Luxury and Brand Collaborations

NTWRK
The Company
18 July 2019

The words ‘limited edition’ for a brand can stir up quite the chaos among customers. Clothing brands around the world are swarmed by customers scrambling for shoes and clothes on a marked release. Oftentimes, these ‘limited edition’ lines come at the hands of a collaboration between luxury brands and fast-fashion retailers. 

It’s clear to see the benefit the collaboration has for the retailer, but what of the luxury brand? 

The declining era of luxury brand affordability 

Luxury brands have always been a symbol of wealth and power. There was a time when only the richest of the rich could afford brands like Dolce and Gabbana, Donna Karan New York, and Chanel. Nowadays, customers are becoming less willing to pay the exorbitant prices for such luxury. They become aspirational brands: ones that audiences still wish to own, but lack the economic ability to do so. 

As such, many luxury brands and fashion designers have taken to creating their own lines of affordable clothing and accessories. Michael Kors, for example, carries a line called Michael by Michael Kors that features products of similar quality but at more affordable prices. Those that do not, choose instead to collaborate with fast-fashion retailers like H&M and Uniqlo. 

“Drop culture” and mass-market appeal 

Fast-fashion retailers have the most appeal among the younger segment of the market. Many brands like H&M, Uniqlo, and Cotton On have seen booming success by capitalising on the trend of younger customers wanting to afford designer clothes at reasonable prices. In order to do so, many adhere to “drop culture”. 

“Drop culture” refers to the creation of dramatic demand for limited-run items. You see this most prominently practised by clothing and shoe brands that collaborate with famous designers and celebrities to put out a ‘limited edition’ line of products. Owning luxury items remains a battle for status in today’s society, and more so with items of clothing. 

Sneakerheads for example, will stop at nothing to own the latest pair of Jordans. By the same token, customers stampeded into their nearest Uniqlo when designer KAWS announced his final collaboration line with the brand. Chaos reigned; toppled shelves, fistfights, and mangled mannequins were left behind in the aftermath.  

The manic drive behind these customers and their desperate need for the product has become a continuing trend among fashion labels worldwide. Motivated by their need for mass-market appeal, luxury brands capitalise their campaigns on the desire of customers to own luxury items at affordable prices. 

The illusion of luxury turned into reality 

The world’s economy leaves much to be desired. Luxury in the eyes of the consumer has changed, and so too has the direction in which luxury brands are marketing their products. At the end of the day, brands have set their sights on appealing to the youth of the masses. These are the customers most willing to spend a little more for the right aesthetic and to turn their dreams of luxury into reality.

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