March 21, 2019

Since about the turn of the 20th century, elaborate fashion shows have helped some of the most successful style companies build lasting brands. After all, designers aren’t just displaying their wares when they send models down the runway in expensive outfits. By showcasing lines of high-end clothes that not everyone can afford, companies construct brand identities centered around luxury and opulence. So while Ralph Lauren or Michael Kors won’t sell many of their most expensive garments, the sophistication and taste Continue reading

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January 24, 2019

For luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, maintaining an image of elegance and sophistication is essential for success. After all, high-end consumers might not be willing to hand over huge amounts of cash to a company that has fallen out of fashion. In order to remain in control of its image, Louis Vuitton has often been quick to file lawsuits against knockoff businesses that place its signature logo onto poorly made items. Along with targeting bootleggers, however, the company also has Continue reading

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December 6, 2018

Last week, a crowd of Los Angeles fashion influencers and curious shoppers attended the opening of what they thought would be a new luxury shoe retailer. Surrounded by stilettos on pedestals and golden sneakers, the onlookers marveled at the work of an Italian designer named Bruno Palessi. “I would pay $400, $500. People are going to be like, ‘Where did you get those? Those are amazing,’” said a woman as she tried on a pair of leopard print tennis shoes. Continue reading

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November 30, 2018

Way back in 1856, a California dry-goods merchant named Levi Strauss marveled at a new type of garment created by one of his customers. Working as a tailor in Nevada, the customer had developed a pair of rivet-fastened pants that were far more durable than anything else available at the time. The two soon filed a patent on the product and founded Levi Strauss and Company, the world’s first producer of denim jeans. And while the company continues to thrive Continue reading

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June 14, 2018

In last year’s hit “Bodak Yellow,” the rapper Cardi B starts the song off by bragging about wearing expensive “red bottom” shoes. While those unfamiliar with fashion might not understand the lyric, fans of fancy footwear know there’s only one brand she could be talking about: Louboutin. Since the early 1990s the company has made high-priced stilettos that all feature bold red-colored soles. With the most basic pair going for more than $650, Louboutin shoes stand as symbols of luxury Continue reading

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October 12, 2017

jurgen-appeloWhile Amazon has been an online retail powerhouse for years now, in 2017 the company showed the business world what a truly dominant force it could be. Along with buying Whole Foods during the summer, Amazon’s name came up constantly as the media discussed how the online outlet had upended the traditional retail industry. But despite all the talk about Amazon’s growing supremacy, the company still can’t compete in one of retail’s most lucrative sectors: fashion.

That’s not to Continue reading

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February 24, 2017

OakLabsAs e-commerce companies like Amazon become more and more popular, traditional retailers have scrambled to find ways to bring people back into stores. Along with placing scannable QR codes by items, brick and mortar outlets have also tried large internet kiosks that allow customers to browse their online stores. Despite retailers’ best efforts, though, these attempts at modernizing haven’t caught on with consumers. After all, who would walk into a place just to check its online store?

The startup Oak Continue reading

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October 6, 2016

BargainmooseIn the 2000s, clothing brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle and Aeropostale were kings of the mall. These retailers rose to prominence by making preppy clothes with large logos that broadcast a certain prestige to the world. After all, teenage customers wanted to make sure everyone knew that they shopped at cool stores. Companies made this message easy to receive by placing an enormous emphasis on branding, thus making the logo even more important than the design of their Continue reading

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October 20, 2013

For the last year or so, many of the articles about retail featured in this newsletter mentioned the perceived scourge of showrooming. This thoroughly modern phenomenon occurs when shoppers visit a brick-and-mortar business solely to browse before they ultimately buy a product for cheaper online. Fear over showrooming has gripped much of the retail world, leading at least one company to start charging people to look around their stores.

According to a recent Harvard study, however, the threat of showrooming Continue reading

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October 17, 2013

For many of today’s conscientious consumers, it’s not enough for a product to be simply affordable and effective. Environmentally minded diners, for instance, prefer to know as much about the origins of their food as possible. That’s why so many modern restaurants make sure the names of their organic and artisanal suppliers appear as prominently on menus as the dishes. Now the trend is expanding out of the culinary world and into retail as more and more clothing companies use Continue reading

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