The fashion industry is very complex, and when devising a marketing strategy for it, it’s important to have a clear understanding of how brands respond to fashion market segmentation. In this whiteboard animation, we’re going to go over the fashion pyramid and the 5 most important fashion market segments.
Let’s start at the top of the fashion pyramid.
Here we have haute couture. This segment belongs to a handful of French couturiers who specialised in low-volume, skill-intensive production. Much of the styles and trends established by top-tier luxury brands, ‘trickles down’ and is followed by other less expensive brands. Haute Couture brands don’t follow fashion, they create iconic, timeless pieces.
Pret-a-porter is known also as the ready-to-wear segment, as it’s not fully custom fit. This segment is still comprised of very expensive brands, which blend traditional craftsmanship with manufacturing processes, allowing to keep high product quality, but also to achieve higher volumes of production. These brands are also more influenced by fashion trends, but still, have a long shelf-life.
Diffusion is the next segment of the fashion market. Here we can see brands who are inspired, if not directly influenced by higher-tier brands but are relying on industrial processes to create lower quality garments, in order to access a wider market at a lower price point. For the brands operating in the segment, it’s necessary to deliver a persuasive brand image, as the communication of the brand often impacts its success more than the quality of the clothing.
Bridge is the fashion segment where we can traditionally place fast fashion retailers. The focus for these companies is not quality, but responsiveness to fast-changing trends of the market, through the optimisation of their manufacturing process. Their goal is to bring garments from the production lines to the shop shelves over short 6-week cycles. This segment accesses a wide audience but does experience competition from both the lower tiers and the higher tiers of the market.
Brands addressing the mass market, are commoditised. At this stage products have become increasingly basic and undifferentiated, competing against private labels and unbranded products.
Most entrepreneurs, as they start a fashion brand, always look at the luxury segments – haute couture and pret-a-porter – as they seem to provide the best margins of profit. This can be true, but in business, we need to understand where pockets of value can be found by being creative not only when it comes to creating a product, but also in designing the right business model which will allow us to bring value to the market, and scale our business. The understanding of fashion business is essential to create collections that can make your business grow.
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