Monday, June 22, 2009

Designers, More Upscale Stores Cutting Prices: Too Little, Too Late?

American consumers, designers, and retailers seem to be waking up with a very bad hangover. The twenty- year-plus spending binge is over. Here are Dolce & Gabbana speaking in the WWD article of the past week:

“The idea is to peel off the superfluous because there are too many clothes, too many seasons, too much advertising — too much of everything that is tacked onto the final price. We want to go back to how things were 20 years ago. It’s about drawing the line,” he said.

Gabbana doesn’t believe customers will feel betrayed or taken for a ride by having paid more in the past. “Our goal is the consumer and to keep the thousands of people that work for us,” he said.

Added Dolce: “This is the only way to save the market and our companies. It’s time to turn the page.”

What most interests me is WWD having asked the question “whether or not they feel their customers will feel betrayed.” Of course they will—in proportion to the amount of guilt they felt when the purchased the overpriced product in the first place. The “I’ve-just-gotta-have-it days, the “IT” bag, the name brand jeans, the whatever—none of this matters much in the New Wave of Retailing. What matters are quality and value, sustainability and responsibility.

D& G designer jeans will now cost $450 instead of $695. Did they get the message?
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