What is the fashion pyramid of brands?

The fashion pyramid of brands is a market segmentation pyramid that segregates fashion brands based on price, quality, and other attributes. The higher a brand is on the segmentation level, the higher the characteristics are for the brand.

Most fashion retailers define their marketing strategy from their key positioning levels to stand out from the competition. It’s a key part of their business model. 

You’ll find the most expensive brands on top and the most wallet-friendly brands at the bottom. High price typically corresponds to high-quality fabrics, customer service, and tailored garments, among other factors. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the fashion pyramid of brands.

Brand Positioning on the Pyramid

Anyone who’s into fashion probably already has a vague idea (or very good idea!) which brands go where on the fashion brand pyramid. It’s pretty obvious that Hermes and H&M don’t share the same segment. However, it’s worth knowing what determines a brand’s positioning on the pyramid. Here are the following factors that determine a brand’s placement on the fashion pyramid of brands.

Quality of fabrics

Supreme luxury and aspirational luxury use higher quality fabrics than mass market. For that reason, their products tend to last much longer and remain looking better for a longer period of time.

Craftsmanship

Supreme luxury brands rely on expert craftsmanship to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Some pieces are also handmade. 

Customer service and experience

When you visit a Prada or Louis Vuitton store, you will get only the best customer service you can imagine. While good customer service exists in mass market brands, you won’t get that one-on-one attention you get with luxury brands.

Advertising

All fashion brands spend a lot on advertising, but the supreme luxury brands spend significantly more than mass market brands. 

Social media coverage

How often are brands appearing in social media posts? These days, brands pay a lot of money for influencers and celebrities to promote their products on Instagram and other social media platforms. The more social media coverage a brand has, the higher they’ll sit on the pyramid.

The Fashion Pyramid - Fashion Show

The Different Fashion Levels

When it comes to the fashion pyramid of brands, there are four different levels that distinguish each brand and its position on the pyramid. Here are the four main levels you should be aware of – and the brands that are on there. 

Haute Couture Fashion Brands

This category describes exclusive, made-to-measure pieces characterized by meticulous attention to detail and excellent craftsmanship. They are addressing a select few clients – much like grand pieces of art. Typically, these brands appeal to the wealthy such as celebrities, entrepreneurs, and other high-profile people. 

This is the supreme luxury segment. 

Brands usually found in this segment include Chanel, Hermes, Dior, Prada, Bvlgari, Ralph Lauren, and Dolce & Gabbana. 

Ready to Wear Fashion Brands

Accessible luxury pieces usually come in standardized sizes as opposed to made-to-measure garments from supreme luxury. While they are still of high quality and high price tags, accessible luxury is as its name suggests: accessible for people wanting to purchase luxury clothing. It’s about giving customers a gateway to high quality clothing without the high expense. 

This is also known as the aspirational luxury segment.

Brands usually found in this segment include Versace, Donna Karan, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, YSL, and Fendi.

Diffusion Fashion Brands

Inspired by ready-to-wear (RTW) and has wider volumes of production. It is more casual with a wider audience than RTW, the audience can also be younger. Has more retail availability, and is usually used to expand the designers target audience.

This is also known as the accessible luxury fashion segment.

Brands usually found in this segment include Paul Smith, Stella McCartney, Dsquared2 and Ralph Lauren.

Bridge Fashion Brands

Premium fashion essentially bridges the gap between high end and mass market. They target people who are prepared to pay more for the right level of quality. 

This is also known as the premium fashion segment and is considered to be just Luxury but above High Street, and they have been created to bridge the gap between the two.

Brands usually found in this segment include Guess, Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, Diesel, DKNY, and Michael Kors.

Mass Market Fashion Brands

Mass market is the segment right at the bottom of the fashion pyramid. This sector aims to reach as many people as possible by providing fashion at affordable prices. Most of the time, mass market brands draw inspiration from luxury brands but make garments that are more cost-effective for the average consumer. 

Ultimately, it enables people to stay on trend without paying high prices. The only downside is that mass market products generally aren’t of the highest quality. They also aren’t made-to-measure, which means consumers won’t get the exact size.

This segment is a combination of high street and fast fashion.

Brands usually found in this segment include Zara, H&M, Forever21, GAP, American Eagle, Mango, Bershka, and Stradivarius.

The Fashion Market Segmentation Pyramid

In order to thrive in this highly competitive environment, brands must focus on a specific line of products or categories. For instance, one needs to out-do another brand with their eyewear or perfume, for example. They need to show themselves as the best and the easiest way to do that is by claiming a category.

Often, feelings about brands evolve too over time. For instance, Michael Kors was once a high-end fashion brand loved by the wealthy. Over the years, it has lost its credibility as a luxury brand after expanding across departmental stores. The same situation occurred with Tiffany and Co. when it began selling silver jewelry instead of solely gold and diamonds. 

Louis Vuitton is another good example. What once used to be a supreme luxury brand is now accessible luxury. This is solely down to reputation. In the end, Louis Vuitton pieces were seen everywhere, making it less unique to consumers and thereby denting its reputation as a supreme luxury brand. 

Numerous factors can affect a brand’s placing on the pyramid, which is why it is important for brands to maintain their quality, customer service, and all the other important elements. Of course, for some brands, altering their strategy is intentional for the purpose of increasing sales. 

When all is said and done, there is no right or wrong place to be on the fashion pyramid of brands. Right at the top, you’ve got supreme luxury, which is perfect for wealthy consumers looking for unique, made-to-measure pieces. In order to create such pieces, it costs a lot of money, but targeted consumers are more than happy to foot the bill for something unique.

In the middle, you’ve got premium fashion and accessible luxury, which gives customers a taste of high-quality, luxury pieces without the extravagant prices. And at the bottom, there’s the mass market – which is made for everyone. Anyone anywhere can enjoy staying in style while paying low prices for products. 

There’s a segment for each and every fashion-loving consumer out there.

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