All Articles Tagged "urban fashion label"
Polo Ralph Lauren, anchored by its tony, classic-Americana aesthetic, and Louis Vuitton, marked by an unapologetically status-driven image with a touch of bling, are two disparate brands that have held consistent sway with the African American audience.
By contrast, Mark Ecko, the street wear and apparel line, as well as fashion brand Baby Phat, have lost their footing with the Black audience. So why have these two sets of fashion brands garnered different marketing results with African Americans, who, according to Diversity Affluence—a firm that helps brands market to the affluent ethnic audience—hold more than $100 billion in purchasing power?
While there are no easy answers, Polo Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton share a clearly defined style identity, a patina of authenticity and a timeless quality, brand experts say. By contrast, Mark Ecko and Baby Phat have lost their bite, and in some ways, have not evolved with their audience.“Both Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren have done an excellent job creating authentic, long-standing images that attract both high income and aspirational shoppers,” said Wendy Liebmann, chief executive officer and chief shopper of WSL Strategic Retail, a marketing consulting firm that works with manufacturers and retailers. “And I think that works for African American shoppers who are very interested in designer fashion.”
While Mark Ecko and Baby Phat would be defined as urban brands, Louis Vuitton and Ralph Lauren would not—but that doesn’t mean the latter two don’t appeal to a sophisticated, urban audience. Indeed, part of what defines an urban aesthetic is rooted in the richness of African American culture, said Amy Shea, executive vice president and director of brand development for Brand Keys, the brand consultancy. And while it might not seem so on the surface, that sensibility has something in common with luxury fashion brands. African American culture—which is really synonymous with urban culture— has “pushed the boundaries,” Shea said. “If you look at what urban culture really means, it stands for who exists on the edge of fashion, art and music. It’s about pushing against what’s happening now” to usher in the new—“and that’s what couture and luxury brands are all about,” she said.
Tags:african american buying, african american louis vuitton, african american purchasing power, african american shopping habits, african americans ralph lauren, baby phat, Fashion, fashion labels, kimora lee, mark ecko, ralph lauren, Russell Simmons, urban brands, urban fashion, urban fashion label
by R. Asmerom
Design, outsourcing and marketing are key for any entrepreneur looking to get into the seemingly limitless fashion market. Mike “Black” Yussuf, the man behind the men’s fashion label Blac Label Premium figured that out long before he delved into the designer scene. Although he’s always had a strong interest in fashion, working as a financial analyst for Saks Fifth Avenue and Liz Clairborne gave him financial insight into product development and performance.
“All the different divisions had to provide detailed reports as to why their numbers were what they were and I would have to proofread them,” he said. “Those reports would show if tops were doing better, how DKNY Jeans were doing, why our denim sales were slowing down, etc, etc.”
Black left the corporate finance world in 2002 when he got the opportunity to work with Total Sport Inc., a Philadelphia-based retail chain founded by his friend Mike Harris. During his time as general manager, the company grew from 4 locations to 15 stores and 100 employees. The stint proved to be further training for his endeavor in the retail business.
“Total Sport Inc. had stores from New Jersey all the way down to Atlanta, and I got to see the different markets and how different things were operating in those markets,” he said. “I’ve worked in a number of the stores myself and actually got to interact with customers.”
His work with Total Sport Inc. led to consulting gigs with several companies including Headgear Inc, which was then manufacturing Negro league baseball jerseys and jackets and black college apparel, and which now owns retail chain Up Against The Wall.
In 2005, the idea of starting a fashion label was bubbling in his mind and Black knew he had to shift gears and cement his relationship with Headgear. His life-long interest in fashion design came to fruition when he presented the concept of Blac Label Premium and launched the brand under Headgear in 2006.