Growing up, I thrived and survived for fashion. At the ripe and innocent age of 7, I scraped my leftover Christmas and Birthday money to buy the latest issues of Vogue, Allure and the like. I was the real-life characterization of Thirteen Going On Thirty. Only it was more Seven Going On Twenty-Seven, I guess. When E! used to show behind-the-scenes footage of Fashion Week and fashion shows, my eyes were glued to the screen as if I was tuning in to happenings of a natural disaster.
Although I have veered more towards the technology and marketing spaces within retail, I still live for luxury and all things fashion. From Marc Jacobs and Chanel, to Betsey Johnson and Christian Louboutin, I get so much joy out of seeing creative minds provide art for the human form. This past week, one of my childhood dreams came true: I got to attend New York Fashion Week.
Granted, it was not the typical situation: American Express Business Insights unveiled compelling research on the luxury market and I had the opportunity to hear Ed Jay, the company’s Senior VP, speak on the subject.
Not much to my surprise, the market is thriving. In fact, luxury was the fastest retail category to bounce back from the recession, according to Jay. I shared a majority of the key findings in a recent article for Retail TouchPoints.
Results revealed that despite an insecure job market and turbulent economy, Generation Y consumers ramped up their spending on luxury goods, increasing purchases on premium luxury fashion by 33% in 2011 over 2010. This is a positive bounce-back after the stagnant results from the recession, Jay explained.
Jay also touched on the more eclectic, younger consumer. As a young, modern shopper, I appreciate classic brands that are higher-priced. Overall, I have no problem spending money if I know the quality is good. With that in mind, I also enjoy buying fun, outrageous accessories and graphic tees from Forever 21, H&M and Threadless. There are no rules today. For boring retailers, this is a giant obstacle. However, this new evolution has allowed cutting-edge, “no rules” brands and designers to stand out.
Jay noted: “Unlike older generations, Gen Y is less brand loyal and willing to experiment with luxury brands, providing an excellent opportunity for luxury marketers,” he said.
Indeed. And experimentation is key: for fashion and marketing. With the powers of social media and mobile, retailers must be fearless and have fun!
After the conference, I got to catch the Concept Korea showing. Lush, purple furs, metallic, goddess-inspired tops and sequin minis were among the flock. However, the showing also displayed more retro, earthy-toned looks, including graphic knit skirts and bold sweaters with blocks of colors. It was such an amazing experience to see these looks in the flesh, and observe how ideas turned into real-life items and works of art.