What are we buying when we buy a luxury good? Are we buying a brand name, a well-made product, or an item to ensure that others think a certain way about us when they see it? For most high-end consumers, it’s probably some combination of those options.
Many customers would claim that they buy only for the quality that these products provide, but the reaction of some customers to the recent announcement of Jimmy Choo’s collaboration with H&M seems to run contrary to those claims. Some people were excited to see what the partnership would create, but many Choo loyalists voiced the opinion that the brand was losing something by creating a temporary line for a low-end retailer.
Choo’s fans aren’t the first to scowl at the idea of their favorite label creating an inexpensive product line, and they’ll be far from the last. What seems to be unique about this occasion, though, is that Jimmy Choo is the most broadly known brand yet to dabble in mass-market, low-price retail. So far, many small or independent designers have used the tactic as a way to broaden their name recognition and, potentially, their customer base. Choo, though, is a brand with a pretty clear image in the minds of most women with any sort of fashion consciousness or desire for expensive shoes.
So what happens when a brand with a large following and a seemingly healthy business decides that they want to dabble in the desires of Middle America? Well, according to Robin Givhan of the Washington Post, it means that luxury as we know it is dead. (more…)