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Luxury meets high street

Luxury meets high street
OK, I think we have a question up at the back. How do you consider the High Street brand as the luxury brand of collaboration? And it seems that this collaboration is very popular in these times. So collaboration between High Street brand– the H&M and luxury brands– designers and that kind of stuff. Peter, let’s start with you. It gives people who aspire to a luxury brand but not might be able to afford it a chance to buy into that particular brand. The benefit to the other way is perhaps slightly more questionable.
Sometimes some of the high end fashion designers, if they’re suddenly associated with what it essentially a fairly cheap high street brand, there could be a potential there for their luxury image to be damaged. However, it does get them significant exposure. So is this a fad? Or do you think this is a long-term trend? Alfonso? I would think it’s starting to grow. The implications of using it in the future, I believe that there will be closer collaborations between the top-end branding of the signing brands with the ones at High Street. It’s a similar process of mass customisation. Let’s say with technology, their computers, 15 years ago, they were affordable only for well-off managers and very well-paid people or rich people.
With the mass customisation and then transporting the production facilities to Southeast Asia, that makes the process– the labour force– cheaper and more affordable to a larger number of individuals who want these kind of products. Similar fashion, when you can think about our Armani clothes or any of the signing top-end manufacturers of products or services, transporting the production facilities to a less expensive country– normally a developing one– makes more affordable those products to more people. And I think that trade is increasing. To some extent, we don’t know if the labour force will be able to keep up lower prices.
There is a trend that in Southeast Asia the labour force increasingly and increasingly being expensive, so to what extent from the economic point of view that trend can be sustainable. We don’t know yet. But there’s an end towards that happiness. So we may be coming to the end of super cheap clothes and super cheap computers and all the rest of it. Interesting. OK. James, what do you think? For the luxury brands, is this all part of general democratisation in the world? Is it something they can’t ignore? I think it is. It’s something that they can’t ignore. And lots of luxury brands need to spread the scale of their market.
But I think more importantly, it’s key for the future of the High Street. So what’s clear is that the High Street is no longer about shifting units. The High Street is about personifying the brand now. By tapping into some of the glamour and some of the kudos that comes from these luxury brands, High Street stores are trying to make themselves into a destination for customers. And that’s very important for the future of the High Street. So this phenomenon is really key to the future both of the High Street and of the luxury brands? I think that’s right. Yeah. OK.

This is a ‘question time’ film, in which students on the brand leadership masters course at UEA ask questions to a panel of academic experts: Dr Alfonso Avila-Merino, James Cornford and Peter Schmidt-Hansen.

In this film, the experts debate a current phenomenon in the management of multiple brands: why luxury brands are making friends with high street brands. How would you answer the question?

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