Why Are Luxury Fashion Brands So Pricey?

luxury clothing brands

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of a luxury fashion and clothing brands like Gucci or Yves Saint-Laurent?

The most common answer with most people is quality.

It has long been understood to mean superior quality. After all, isn’t that what sets apart a Rolls Royce from a Toyota? Or a pair of high-quality khaki pants from a pair of generic brown trousers? Some of the biggest names in fashion from Versace to Tom Ford have built up their current standing using only the highest-quality materials and top-quality artisans. So, you can’t really blame them for passing the cost (plus profit) onto the consumer. Nobody argues the price tag on a Rolls, right?

But what if things underwent gradual changes over about 15 years? What if your Rolls was now more brand value than product value? This blog explores modern brands and their current products, and whether they should charge such exorbitant prices. Read on to find out more.

Reasons Why Is Luxury Fashion brands so Expensive?

Understanding Why Luxury Fashion brands Has a Higher Price Tag:

Justifying Price with Quality:

We live in an age where visibility counts for a lot. Between social media influencers, celebrities, style magazines, and general societal shifts, there is more pressure than ever to look good. Of course, clothing brands (especially the top ones) also have more visibility and are more recognizable than ever.

So it makes sense that fashion-savvy individuals would choose to go for the perceived quality that a top-shelf fashion brand offers. When you know you’re getting the best possible quality in clothing, you are more open to absorbing the hefty price tag that invariably comes along with it. This has been a core ingredient in the success of most luxury goods, from Ferraris to Ferragamo’s. They may be pricey, but the discerning consumer is always ready to buy them.


The Brand Perception:

A lot of high-street brands do not live up to their storied quality anymore. Instead, they rely on something else entirely: the brand they have built up over the past decades. It is difficult to narrow down the definition of a “brand”. It can be even harder to assign a value to something that intangible. But being intangible not with standing, fashion brands have begun cashing-in the perceived value their brands have accumulated over the years.

But how does this work?

Think of a brand as the feeling you get when you buy a specific product.

For example: buying a Lamborghini makes you feel powerful and adventurous. A Rolex Oyster Perpetual makes you feel like you belong to the billionaire club.

Similarly, when you buy a Gucci jacket, you feel you have bought one of the most expensive and high-quality jackets in the world. It is often for this exact feeling of power and satisfaction that people are willing to pay very high prices for luxury products.  


Is The Price On Par With Quality?

Of course, it is no accident that you perceive high prices to be equivalent to high quality. Better materials and skilled labor are bound to cost more than run-of-the-mill resources. A higher price tag is only to be expected. But what if brands have simply resorted to exploiting their brand value instead of the value of their products?

There is also the problem that a select few brands rule the industry. The top-20 fashion brands earn over 90% of the industry’s profits. This gives them a monopoly over fashion, pushing other competitors out of the picture. But at the same time, they aim to hit higher targets, which only encourages them to increase prices and cut quality further. So a lot of luxury fashion we see today, while still undoubtedly great in terms of form and function, is a far cry from what it should be. What they’re doing is selling worse clothes at higher prices.


Luxury Brands and Internet Hype:

The rise of Supreme clothing is a perfect example of how internet hype can propel brands to global fame. A brand with that kind of recognition isn’t just offering a product anymore, but merchandise. Rock fans often buy their favorite band’s merchandise to signify what music tribe they belong to.

The same applies to hyped fashion. People want to get on board the hype right away, to prove to other people that they belong to specific cliques or fashion tribes. Many times, the merchandise isn’t even made of high-quality material. Instead, it serves as advertising space for the brand (or band). Obviously, with accelerating demand for products that may not have gotten the recognition otherwise, prices tend to go unreasonably high.


Everybody wants to wear luxury outfits and accessories. And there is nothing wrong with that. Everyone deserves to dress up nice and be the talk of the town every once in a while. But when companies switch their model from focusing on their products to focusing on their brands, the equation becomes much more complicated. Other than the brands themselves, it is hard to tell who the clear winner is. But it is clear that fashion consumers end up getting the short end of the stick.

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