Consumers Love Designer Brands, Hate Products Splattered With Logos

(Christine)

Cats are not subtle about their designer brand preferences. (Christine)

The luxury goods industry has a problem: its customers now prefer subtlety. That means that bags that serve as walking billboards yet cost thousands of dollars just don’t sell like they used to. The global rich are now more interested in subtlety and craftsmanship, or they’re tired of feeling like they’re showing off. Maybe both.

Showing off is kind of rude when economic inequality is a popular political issue, and there’s a chance that you might have to walk with a $3,000 handbag right in front of an actual poor person. It sounds strange, but experts who study consumer spending told the Washington Post that this is an actual trend, and fashion companies are struggling to keep up.

How do you create a handbag or a pair of shoes that signals its price only to people who can afford the same brand of accessories? How can you convince fashion fans to buy new pieces every season when what they want are classic looks and high craftsmanship that makes pieces durable?

It’s not just in the United States that this is a problem. In the last few years, luxury brands like Prada and Louis Vuitton have increased sales in China, and customers there have developed a distaste for flashy logos, too. Customers’ interest in high-end accessories hasn’t gone down, but pieces that now look tacky to the discerning shopper have lost their appeal.

Why Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada are in trouble [Washington Post] (via Racked)