Accessible Luxury

There was much hoo-ha a few weeks ago about the London opening of American success story J Crew, and whether it would work in the UK, and the great consumer response, and yadda yadda yadda, but in getting excited about the clothes, we seemed to have missed one of the less obvious effects of the opening: its influence on local brands and their thinking – which is to say, the way it has awakened managers to the potential of the accessible luxury/contemporary market (whatever you want to call it: that slice of retail that falls between High Street and very high end). Consider Karen Millen, and its CEO Mike Sherwood, who today told the FT he has decided to take the brand, which was previously at a sort of upper high street level, into new territory. Hello, accessible luxury! But is he right about the opportunity? Read more

The other day a very successful middle market etailer came to see me, to talk about her company’s growth and plans for the future. Aside from adding a magazine editor to pump up the content (this is a major trend in fashion web sites), said etailer is also renaming what they sell: instead of “accessible luxury” they are going to offer “everyday luxury.”

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