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Brian Phipps

Great post, Steve. Raises lots of interesting questions.

How much of the low-quality fast-fashion is just a US thing? My experience in Asia is that buying Asian-made clothing made for Asian markets is better quality than stuff imported into the US.

“Fast-fashion” is a clever marketing concept. In a world of fast-fashion one can never be fashionable. The goal keeps moving. One can only be buying the latest things. One’s closet becomes a credit card. This is where online media plays a huge role (Pinterest, etc.) Not sure where this will end.

The US invention of "outlet stores" or factory stores is a way to capitalize on brand equity by selling inferior, but "branded" merchandise at much lower price points. A new luxury outlet near me (http://www.premiumoutlets.com/outlets/outlet.asp?id=107) has stores for Prada, Burberry, and Saks Fifth Avenue, in addition to the usual mall suspects. How far down-market can luxury brands go while still retaining their “carpetland” exclusivity via their “real” high-end stores?

A book that influenced my thinking on these matters was “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster” by Dana Thomas. She shows how the invention of luxury marketing radically changed the famed luxury houses in Europe. Their traditional focus on exclusive quality and workmanship was replaced by a focus on sales. One result being luxury “outlet malls” in the US catering to price-sensitive buyers--a far cry from traditional luxury customers.

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