Every item of clothing has a label. Whether that label is Gap or Gucci, it still has a name and, therefore, a general reputation. Reputations keep the brand in line and on track of their image; they keep them consistent. When a costumer has an expectation for a certain look or quality, it's part of the brand's responsibility to deliver that. If they fail that responsibility, they loose their reputation; it's simple. The reputation is what they, the brand, make of it. They can choose to build a strong brand with character and quality and make their name powerful. But this includes sticking to one look or idea, part of the reliability bit. For example, a Ralph Lauren show is expected to be luxury, a Dolce stereotypically Italian, Jil Sander is always minimalistic. As I wrote about more in this post, this could be beneficial or limiting to the brand and designer. But I'm not going to restate all those ideas in today's post. Today, I'm specifically writing about the weight of the name.
People generally expect more style and quality from high fashion brands than everyday brands. This is because of the history of the brand. Naturally, high fashion brands should have better quality and aesthetic because of the price and the name. The name is the price and aesthetic and quality, but recently it's been becoming more about the name and less about all those other components that are so much more important. Fashion has always been about the label, but only because the label means something. It represents something special and unique to that brand. When brands start resting on their laurels, it starts being about the label, and just the label, and that's when the trouble begins. So obviously, it's going to take a bit of effort to get today's industry out of the trouble.
This is a look from Thom Browne Pre-Fall 2015. This look can be copied very easily, but by no means is Thom Browne resting on his laurels (as you would know right away if you saw the rest of the collection). There is a difference between relying on a name and creating wearable clothes. Designers need to find the balance between fresh & new and reliable & familiar.