With luxury labels continuing to up their prices, a new breed of consumer has emerged. StyleNest explores the world of the savvy shopper…
Never before has the luxury market had it so good. Prices are rising quicker than we can get the latest trends and must-have buys at our fingertips.
So much so in fact that a Mulberry Bayswater handbag which cost £495 in 2005 now costs double. Finding a luxury handbag for under £1,000 will not only tighten the purse strings but also leave you a little dumbfounded.
But women are fighting back. And in some cases, so too are the retailers. Rather than accept this price hike, women are making smarter choices and finding new ways to buy designer.
“Handbags have become increasingly expensive therefore ‘bridge’ brands such as Marc by Marc Jacobs and younger labels like Sophie Hulme provide a different point of view” says My-Wardrobe.com’s Assistant Buyer Jennifer Moore. “These labels offer beautifully made bags at commercial prices.”
In fact, the same technology that is bringing luxury at a touch of a button is also generating a whole new way of wave of apps, sites and brands for those who want to shop smarter.
As Moore explains; “Women are more and more confident about shopping online and therefore their appetite for ‘new’ product is ever increasing… customers are more intrigued in niche brands for a point of difference and something new.”
Now more than ever before, consumers have the understanding of what they want – and should – buy but not necessarily the burgeoning budget to match. Women have been forced to think, and spend, differently, and as a result, smarter shopping choices are up for the taking.
The economic downturn has clearly had a lasting effect on women, and many shops have seen trading, buying trends and attitudes towards brands and pricing change over the past 7 years. “Women now view fashion as an investment so they’re looking for maximum style and quality for a reduced price “says founder and Head of UK designer re-sale site Vestiaire Collective, Fanny Moizant.
Like so many other designer re-sale sites, Vestiaire Collective is seeing interest soar. “We currently have over 8000 new members signing up to the site every month which really is a testament to how popular the resale market has become amongst fashion lovers” confirms Moizant.
BuyMyWardrobe.com Founder and CEO Kal Di Paola also believes women are becoming more conscious shoppers who buy quality items “with a view that not only will they last longer but they will have a resale value when they no longer want to wear them”. A view shared by Moizant ““Women now see the value in recycling their wardrobes and using clothing they no longer wear to help fund their next purchase”.
But it’s not just resale sites which offer designer discounts at a fraction of the cost. Michael Michael Kors, Marc by Marc Jacobs and See By Chloe – otherwise known as sister brands to the big powerhouses – are now stepping into their own, with IT bags for under £500 being their speciality. And with Marc by Marc Jacobs getting a designer overhaul and cool-factor injection in the form of Victoria Beckham’s handbag designer Katie Hillier joining the team, there’s never better a time to invest in these well-made, well-cut luxury brands.
And then of course there’s the standalone brands targeted specifically to the mid-market. The likes of Sophie Hulme, Sandro and Maje are offering luxury cuts and fabrics and unique designs for a relative fraction of the cost. And unsurprisingly this market is fast becoming the big money earner for international shopping sites, and something they’re investing in.“Michael Kors, MCM and Coach have been exceptionally popular the past few seasons as the brands provide instantly iconic silhouette’s in the season’s key colours and finishes” says Simon Longland, Head of Accessories at Harrods.
Apps and sites such Wishclouds.com which tells you when you’re favourite items get reduced in the sale, and discount sites such as The Outnet and Yoox are all fighting for a piece of the savvy shopper pie.
So whether it’s a second-hand Balenciaga jacket that takes your fancy or a brand new IT bag with a price tag less than the price of a car, there’s never been a better time to join the savvy shopper revolution. And most importantly snap up a bargain…
Shop your It bag with the Michael Michael Kors ‘Selma’ medium patent-leather bag, £260, at Net-a-Porter.com or DKNY ‘Saffiano’ leather shoulder bag, £190, at Harvey Nichols and McQ Alexander McQueen white leather tote, £355, at Harvey Nichols