Luxury’s Losing

What: More and more is being revealed about the luxury apparel market. Even though prices have started to stabilize, luxury clothes just aren’t coming off the shelves and racks fast enough for retailers. It’s not just the “Recessionista” who’s taking advantage of lower prices – even the rich are scaling back their clothing budgets. That means the luxury market isn’t recession-proof – as originally thought – and may endure more long-term than short-term effects. That’s okay news for shoppers, of course. 

What They Say:

Shoppers will see more merchandise focusing on the low- to mid-tier luxury prices. That means more dresses from $400 to $600, and fewer priced over $1,000. The average prices for European luxury handbags are now anywhere from $1,600 to $1,700, lower than the $2,000 average seen more than a year ago, acccording to Hana Ben-Shabat, a partner in the retail practice of management consultancy A.T. Kearney.

What We Say: We have to wonder why the luxury market used to be so economy-proof, and suddenly isn’t. We also have to wonder if perhaps high-end apparel was just way overpriced pre-recession and is only coming back down to planet earth now. While the recession certainly won’t hand us over any couture for rock-bottom prices, it will make it easier for us to splurge from time to time.

Do you think the gap between high and “low” fashion is starting to shrink?

Photo by Ileana