For the past few decades, the concept of diffusion has led to the likes of ‘Michael by Michael Kors’ labelled on various luxury products. But that’s all about to change.
If you’re not sure what diffusion is, read on. If not, you can skip this bit. For quite a while now, diffusion has been a way for luxury brands to sell, perhaps, lesser value products with their endorsement. It often leads to the effect of making luxury name brands affordable, appealing to the masses, thus spreading brand awareness.
A few weeks ago, Marc Jacobs closed its doors on its ‘Marc by Marc Jacobs’ range, generating a huge amount of questions and fear in the luxury brand industry. Is this the end of diffusion lines? These lines can actually have a negative impact, as they often try to compete with low fashion rivals, to appeal to different markets. This, in turn, can produce a wide array of products, confusing the customer as to which brand to pick, and most importantly, why.
Many brands have opted for a similar style of lines through splitting their range into sub-brands if you like. These can include Burberry Sport, Burberry London and Burberry itself for example. However, other brands are creating a more immersive range by keeping it all under one brand name and carefully selecting products for their ranges, looking perhaps for celebrity ranges, often seen in the lingerie market.
“Shoppers are happy to keep spending low on reliable basics in order to splash out on extravagant statements.”
The culture of diffusion lines has led to an increase in purchases of kind of expensive products, which don’t really inspire or have the same feel as the high-culture products from the same brands.
This trend may be coming to an end, but crossovers are set to replace it. H&M’s most recent crossover with Alexander Wang has proved that high street fashion retailers can mimic the diffusion effect, but by using a celebrity, a familiar and identifiable face for the younger market of customers. Luxury brands however, often target their customers specifically by age range and have a set persona in mind for their ideal customers.
The moral of the story is that diffusion lines have led to the creation of lower quality, watered down products which may have the brag effect of owning a luxury item, but not the real value of that luxury brand. It’s always best to stick to your luxury brand’s values, quality and most importantly, pricing strategy to ensure that brand remains premium.