Monday, 14 December 2009

Jimmy Choo's or Shoe Zone?

We’ve had the Kate Moss collection at Top Shop , Lily Allen for New Look and recently H&M featured a special Jimmy Choo’s selection.

Seduced by a lower price tag for one of Britain’s best loved designers, I popped into a London store to take a look. (It was limited stores only and lowly Peterborough didn’t make the grade).

Of course I wasn’t expecting to find much left over after the initial rush but there were a few pairs. I was surprised however to see how awful they were. Not the design so much as the quality. They would have fitted in nicely into the Shoe Zone’s bargain basement range. With a £50 price tag these I thought that they could at least have used leather, not plastic.

So what does this say about one of the hottest brands out there?

I understand that high end fashion has to reach down to the masses. It’s a financial reality with rising costs at the supply end and a recession that is hitting even the richer end of the customer spectrum. However, where Top Shop got it right, Jimmy got it wrong. The Kate Moss collection starting at about £120 and going up well over £200 is pricey for Top Shop but you’ve got to give the public something to aspire to. Too affordable and it just isn’t desirable.

Your average Jimmy Choo’s are about £300 a pair, so if H&M had priced their collection at £120 for example and used some decent quality materials, I would have said that would have been a better choice.

Yes I am sure they sold well and some members of the public are chuffed with themselves but what about the core customer? What about the ones that pay £300? Do they really want to see a Tesco checkout girl sporting plastic Jimmys with the same label as them? I think not.

Luxury branding is about aspirations. As the recession continues to bite I wonder if more brands will let the prospect of good sales figures turn their heads and stamp on their core customer?

If anyone has seen the current Sonia Rykiel collection, let me know if it is any better.

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