Our friends at Style Salvage just joined the ongoing conversation about the luxury industry's response to the recession with some wise words. The takeaway? "There is definitely a sense that the industry has lost its way." There's a new kind of customer out there, and firms need to figure out what the new customer wants.
But don't get too nervous; it's nothing a few bloggers can't sort out.
Unlike previous entries, Style Salvage focuses more on demand than supply, asking the question of what people will still want to buy when all the dust has settled. Their answer is "staples with a twist." People will still need white shirts no matter how the Dow's doing, and they'll still pay more for shirts made from a little better cloth and cut with a little more panache.
It seems basic, but it's completely different from the trend model fashion's been working on for the past couple decades. The issue isn't making new kinds of clothes, but learning how to market to consumers that are less swayed by billboards, celebrity endorsements, and September issues. The result may mean a better landscape for tailors than for big name designers.