No one in their right mind can honestly be comfortable with the concept of ‘fast fashion’ and throw away products, with the vast amount of negative information about mass producing excrushingly low cost products and the impact this type of practice has on our our environment. The far to frequent media coverage of women and children fighting their way out of collapsed factories making cut priced good has only compounded the general concesous that ‘someone, somewhere will be paying for your cheap purchase’.
I won’t go on about a subject that has been well documented else where but I will point out that a higher RRP doesn’t always equate to ethically sourced, sustainable products.
What I really want to talk about is brands that re-brand and why it isn’t always a good idea. As consumers/customers become familar with a brand they come to expect a certain level of continuity. Repositioning a brand is a risky business, you risk alienating your current customer base who no longer resemble your new target customer. H&M have, in my eyes alway been a fun, trend-led brand, stocking quirky pieces, perfect for testing out fresh looks without worrying about getting it wrong.
Look at the current fortunes of Mulberry, a brand I adore and much admire for their use of quality materials and heritage techniques. A brand that has shifted from producing beautiful, reasonably priced handbags (around £500-800) to selling items retailing at well over £1000’s. The famous Alexa satchel now commands £1100 plus. As a result, over the last couple of years profits have dropped significantly, despite the brand soaring in popularity. Both creative director Emma Hill and CEO Bruno Guillon have left the brand. It’s a huge shame and reminds me of the old saying ‘if it ‘aint broke, don’t fix it’. We only have to look at the fortune of M&S over the last 20 years to see the effect ignoring your customers can have on your business.
Which leads me to question why a successful business would be intent on change when history has taught us that change isn’t ‘always for the best’.