Accessible fashion is a rapidly growing new fashion segment. Brands like Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Tory Burch are making not millions but billions of dollars from accessible luxury collections. In layman terms accessible fashion means brands expanding horizontally instead of vertically, by trying to reach a wider customer segment. It means selling products in the mid price range which can be bought by the middle class income group. Accessible luxury segment is not necessarily exceptional in design like high end luxury brands, their selling point is usually simple designs with decent materials and an attached brand name that is synonymous to luxury. Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel received the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) award for emerging accessories designers and are becoming a fashion empire of sorts with their collections being sold out soon after appearing in stores.
Mary Beech, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Kate Spade believes accessible luxury is about reaching a wider customer base with an innovative price structure. “It is really about balance – this approach enables us to reach a broader consumer base while staying true to who we are.” said Beech. Brands in this category have turnover in billions, Michael Kors which is worth £12.8bn and Tory Burch which is worth more than £1.92bn. Accessible luxury brands have a unique pricing structure different from most other fashion segments, they have products at different price points like £6,000 leather coats or £2,000 sundresses and also accessible items like a £230 watch or a £315 bag. Other brands are also dipping their toes in the segment and reaping great benefits, Paris based, LVMH-owned label Kenzo appointed Humberto Leon and Carol Lim as creative directors, to change the brand image of Kenzo into a younger more accessible fashion brand. Designers like Marni, Valentino and Gucci have also started following in the footsteps of Kors and Burch by introducing more affordable fashion pieces. Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of Kenzo believe that it might be time to change the definition of luxury. When a customer sees a piece of clothing on the runway they should feel like they can afford it.