Stories in both the Telegraph and Herald today on a topic that has been reported on since last year - high end fashion stores on Oxford St closing down due to ongoing dwindling sales. I have little sympathy for these retailers. Don't get me wrong - I worry for the general retailers and traders who have been hit hard since the GFC, and know first hand the worry that fluctuating sales bring to small businesses.
But these haute couture designers? Pfft. Not worried for them. Two issues at play here - the oft cited problem of these designers not catering to women in sizes higher than 12 - that's a big issue, and I would also argue that they are catering to a limited age group as well. But the other issue I see here is the ridiculous prices these designers put on these little sprays of fabric, so flimsy they are barely more than 2 metres of fabric - $5.99 at Spotlight...if only we could all sew!
Okay, okay - I know that the fabric on these designer pieces may be imported. I know that there is labour time for the tailors. I know some have some intricate sewing detail. But most DO NOT. I know the Oxford St precinct well, and I appreciate finely made clothes. But I saw a shift dress in the window of a store last year, just plain fabric with no detail, a very simple summer dress in cotton. $999. One dollar short of a thousand bucks. For a COTTON DRESS!
Some advice for those designers who want to stay afloat. 1: Design for women of all sizes and ages. 2: Bring down your price a teensy tiny bit...
Because you know how you've been hit hard by the current econimic climate? We all have.