Just How Successful Is Your Favorite Fashion Brand … Really?


Most fashion manufacturers are privately held organizations exempt from required public disclosures of sales and profitability. As a result, it’s miles hard – if no longer nearly impossible – to gauge which manufacturers are thriving (à l. A. Thom Browne, which later made headlines about its burgeoning enterprise) and which might be on the verge of a “hiatus,” as Hood by way of Air so poetically worded its shuttering in April.

With a lack of uniformity in terms of many brands’ business models and without publicly-to-be-had revenue reviews to reference and the ever-gift quantity of advertising and marketing efforts (and frequently large-than-existence social media presences) surrounding our favorite brands, how will we realize which brands will move the way of Hood using Air, SUNO, Vena Cava, Meadham Kirchhoff, Reed Krakoff, Honor, Thomas Tait, and other once-apparently-thriving and now-defunct fashion labels?

Favorite Fashion Brand

Quick: It is hard. As Steven Kolb, the CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, instructed style ebook Vestoj’s final year, this is compounded using fashion’s distaste for discussing the reality of fashion agencies’ real fitness. “There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors in this enterprise. It’s tough to tell how properly a style business is doing: whether human beings have become paid, what an agency’s coins drift is like,” he said. Consultant Jean-Jacques Picart echoed this notion, announcing, “In fashion, we deal with failure as if it changed into a sickness.”


Things are also complex via the reality that at different degrees of the higher echelon of the style enterprise, by me, brands generally tend to operate following markedly one-of-a-kind models – making it tough – in instances – to distinguish between money-making sports and ones placed into action merely for advertising and marketing functions.

How Do Brands Make Money?

Since it’s far from easy to determine which fashion brands are thriving and to what extent they are profitable, the query turns into: How are current brands honestly getting cash? The sales systems of the enterprise’s sincerely established fashion and luxury brands are quite clear-cut. Brands that boast portfolios of world-renowned intellectual belongings (specifically, logos) to rely upon are often profitable, in large part because they’re low-priced certified (or from time to time in-residence produced) goods, such as cosmetics and fragrances, earrings collections, and eyewear. House-made small leather items often show hugely profitable for these brands.

Brands, such as those below the umbrellas of LVMH (suppose: Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Celine, Loewe, and Pucci, among others) and King (Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, and so on), whose names and logos—aka their emblems—experience large popularity among customers, can slap their marks on decrease-priced items and earn handsomely.


This is because most consumers can much more effortlessly manage to pay for a fragrance or pair of sunglasses as opposed to a $5,000 dress or bag—and that they regularly try to find such purchases in an attempt to own something from any such coveted luxury manufacturer. For example, Chanel’s privately owned logo reportedly brings in 60 percent of its sales from cosmetics alone. Most of the other 40 percent are likely from selling coveted luggage.

At the same time, however, one of the top-selling products for Givenchy is lipstick – now not its steeply-priced runway clothes. This is nothing if it is not indicative of a bigger trend directly. If the latest trademark filings using the industry’s top conglomerates are any indication, cosmetics are the destiny – at least now. Most trademark programs LVMH filed between 2012 and 2016, which totaled nearly 7,000 applications, specially targeted “use [of the mark] about perfumes.” Perfume also became a pinnacle difficulty for King, which filed almost 3,000 trademark programs between 2012 and 2016 for marks to be used in perfumes.

There are exceptions, of course. The Marc Jacobs emblem, for instance, is owned by LVMH, and despite its beauty and eyewear licenses, it has reportedly struggled in recent years. As the New York Post stated in 2015, “All isn’t always properly within the house of Marc Jacobs.” This turned into observed utilizing an assertion more than one year later via LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault, who famously said he’s “more involved approximately Marc Jacobs than the U.S. President.”

None of these quantities to earth-shattering news, although. It is hardly a mystery that runways do not often comprise a widespread portion of worthwhile brands’ revenue streams. Secondary items – more regularly than not now – are the cash cows. Despite everything, small leather goods and cosmetics are sold at excessive margins, permitting these brands to earn notably from their sale.

Aside from cosmetics, secondary diffusion lines (à Los Angeles Balmain with its greater cheap little sister line, Pierre Balmain, and Maison Margiela with its MM6 collection) have also contributed to the profitability of excessive fashion brands. It is worth noting that as of overdue, this is something of a death artwork, as indicated by the many diffusion line closures over the past several years, including, however, no longer constrained to Marc utilizing Marc Jacobs, Dolce, and Gabbana’s D&G line, and Sonia using Sonia Rykiel.

Younger Brands: A Different Ball Game

A step down the totem pole reveals us in the ranks of more youthful labels, which might be mounted but not often owned by using luxury conglomerates. This class ranges from the Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wangs, and Rodarte’s to the slightly more youthful Marques’ Almeida, Vetements, and Jacques uses. This is where it will become increasingly tough to decide just how properly brands are doing virtually.

The variety of capability profitability inside this small sect is putting: Not too long ago, Proenza Schouler’s rumored acquisition by using LVMH changed into positioned to bed – according to a lawsuit filed via former Proenza CFO Patrice Lataillade – due to the fact the brand changed into no longer worthwhile enough. Fellow New York-primarily based brand Altuzarra, then again, welcomed minority funding from King in 2013. The variety is wide.

There are, of direction, the labels that make money from their collections (and now not licensed items). However, it is largely from reachable goods. “It” logo Vetements is probably maintaining itself as a way to fanfare (study: income) resulting from an early co-sign from rapper Kanye West and many t-shirts and sweatshirts bought up in Asia and stylish circles in the U.S.

This isn’t always terribly unlike how the now-defunct Hood Through Air operated. For a few years, it was regarded as the only issue that, without a doubt, made it onto the backs of consumers and turned into the emblem’s bold HBA image t-shirts and perhaps a handful of sweatshirts.

Favorite Fashion Brand

Still, don’t forget Moschino, which is much older than the two manufacturers above. Under Jeremy Scott, the Italian logo sells many less costly residence-made items, including t-shirts and sweaters, iPhone cases, etc. It also boasts eyewear and perfume licenses to help choose up the slack.

External Sources of Cash

But what approximately a number of the highly young (I., E. Just over ten years antique) privately-owned labels like Alexander Wang and Rodarte? These are two interesting examples: those manufacturers nearly without a doubt look outside in their important collections – their runway collections – for a maximum of their sales streams.

In addition to its extra, less expensive T through Alexander Wang collection, Alexander Wang has booked diverse collaborations to rake in coins. The New York-based total brand teamed up with Swedish rapid style massive H&M in 2014, bringing in a paycheck within the ballpark of an envisioned $1 million. Moreover, Wang has signed on with Adidas for some other lucrative collab, which has seen two collection drops since its debut in 2016. The emblem has also called on collaborations with Evian and Beats through Dre.

Rodarte operates in line with a similar version. The Los Angeles-based totally logo – which has been praised for its “couture-like” creations (suppose: $21,000 mermaid-stimulated clothes) – almost without a doubt makes most of its money from its “Radarte” line of track pants, t-shirts and sweatshirts (something its P.R. team has – manifestly – denied, pronouncing the emblem sells quite a chunk of its Ready-to-Wear and ALSO has experienced “strong growth in greater reachable gadgets together with T-shirts and sweatshirts”).

Nonetheless, the number of different tasks that the Rodarte founders and creative administrators, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, are worried about shows that their outdoor consulting likely price range their Rodarte design sports. Rodarte has lent its name and design sensibilities to Coach, Oliver Peoples, & Other Stories, and the Rug Company, among manufacturers in the past few years.

Additionally, in step with Rodarte’s internet site, “The [Mulleavys] have collaborated on special tasks with Frank Gehry and Gustavo Dudamel at the L.A. Philharmonic’s manufacturing of Don Giovanni; Benjamin Millepied on costumes for the New York City Ballet’s Two Hearts and L.A. Dance Project’s Moving Parts; and Catherine Opie and Alec Soth on Rodarte, Catherine Opie, Alec Soth, their first monograph.” They collaborated with Todd Cole on a brief film entitled “This Must Be The Only Fantasy.” I am currently directing a function film entitled “Woodstock.”

Note: This isn’t always extraordinarily unlike the wide quantity of consulting within the industry. Before becoming innovative directors for Oscar de la Renta, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia labored in consulting capacities for the brand while keeping their fledgling Mouse emblem. Wes Gordon is another example; he is consulting for Carolina Herrera, which is similar to running his label.

Finally, it is also essential to remember the role of off-price stores, including T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Saks’ Off-5th chain, while figuring out exactly where style agencies are making their money. While many manufacturers stock at upscale outposts, which includes Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Saks, and many others., they stand to make even extra money from sales at Century 21 doubtlessly and similarly situated shops, where they can (and regularly do) off-load unsold merchandise at the top of a season.


(Note: In many cases, branch stores’ distribution contracts require manufacturers to buy returned unsold products after a certain period of time, which usually results in manufacturers selling old inventory to bargain retailers instead, where no such requirements are in the area.)

In short, most fashion brands make cash. The query is: How is an awful lot honestly coming from selling their own branded objects, and how much is coming from outside tasks? It remains hard to gauge how well character manufacturers are doing given the number and variety of projects their creatives are concerned with and the industry’s sample of staying far away from emblem power discussion.

Nonetheless, it is safe to say that for the big majority of brands, their innovative endeavors (examine: runway looks and foremost collections) are not a gold mine, and it is, alternatively, the array of doors jobs – whether or not it’s collaborations or quieter/extra under-the-radar consulting – are where the real money is … Alongside accessories, of direction.

Right now, especially in light of the ever-transferring consumption patterns of fashion/retail customers, there is no real blueprint for energy or set-in-stone definition of success (unless you’re Zara and may produce on-trend garments for dirt-reasonably-priced fees and on a wildly fast timetable). While brands may also be capable of preserving themselves only by promoting full-priced, season-precise clothes, that does not look like the way—at least not properly now.

As such, manufacturers are compelled to diversify. The balance of traditional brand-unique activities and consulting/collaborations/out-of-door tasks indicates a successful brand … As Mr. Kolb said, “Going out of the commercial enterprise, that’s a failure. Not being capable of supplying what you promise, now not being capable of paying your employees, not being able to feed the infrastructure you’ve created – that’s a failure.” Everything else is just a manner to make it work.