INSIDER INTELLIGENCE FOR THE FASHION TRIBE
FRONT ROW REVOLUTION
'Every year there is a race for the absolute location for fashion shows. The Red Square in Moscow, the Palais Princier in Monaco, the Great Wall in China. The Front Row Tribe expects every year the impossible,' admits model + creative mastermind of the LVHM group.
In an atmosphere where consumers assume everything, even luxury, has been produced cheaply in a factory in Asia, luxury brands will have to work harder than ever to show their quality credentials.
A clutch of brands has already started using direct control of the supply chain as a way to do this. Accessories designer Nancy Gonzalez owns her own reptile farms; Louis Vuitton has entered a joint venture with Singapore-based Heng Long for its exotic leather; Loro Piana has bought silk farms in Myanmar.
Some groundbreaking labels are also using transparency in the supply chain as a selling point, both to reinforce a sense of luxury and also highlight ethical practice. Ex-Hugo Boss designer Hugo Pieters has launched Honest by, a new clothing line where every detail, from the carbon footprint to the price breakdown and manufacturing details, is available for consumers to read. It’s a bold move, and one that many brands would view as counterintuitive, but by divulging some of the product aspects that have been outsourced, Honest by actually reinforces the quality of the pieces.
“Transparency is essential for luxury brands,” he told LS:N Global. “People read something in The New York Times about how a brand doesn’t produce everything in France or Italy anymore, which are the traditional countries for luxury production. They read the wallets or scarves are made somewhere else, but in terms of their perception it affects the whole brand. They think it’s all made in China. I was shopping with a friend recently in a luxury store and she said: ‘I may as well go to a high street brand and buy fast fashion because it’s all the same anyway. It’s just more expensive.’ That’s very dangerous. I know a lot of designers and brands that still produce in Italy. But because people know that ‘Made in Italy’ doesn’t necessarily mean made in Italy any more, there’s a confusion and mystery. It’s in the interest of luxury brands to be transparent about the production of their products.”