Why Luxury Needs Independent Designers to Last


What people consider as a “luxury” good today is vastly different from what people expected from luxury several decades ago. Instead of pushing stiff oxford shoes and brand-name tuxedos, luxury consumers are seeking out casual styles of men’s designer shoes, like limited-edition designer high tops. The main cause of this change isn’t only due to fluctuations in fashion taste – an inevitable change. It’s also a result of how today’s consumers are shopping for fashion and conceive brand image.

The demographics with the most influence on today’s luxury market are actually millennials and Gen Z. Being surrounded by the Internet and social media has greatly impacted the future of luxury brands from fine jewelry to men’s fashion shoes. These groups of young consumers aren’t easily swayed by the glitz and glam of celebrities posing in fabricated advertisements. They’re smart shoppers with a sense of identity that they’re proud to create on their own, which is what makes independent designers more appealing to them than well-known brands.

Brand loyalty is diminishing
Social media is just a normal part of our everyday lives, which is why millennials and Gen Z aren’t as easily influenced by ads like consumers in the past. They’re aware that these famous models and influencers are being paid to participate in these marketing campaigns. As a result, today’s fashion is becoming less about what brand of men’s designer shoes you’re wearing and more about what style you’re creating with those fashion shoes for men.

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Instead of being defined by a brand, they’re using the brand as an extension of their identity. Independent designers already carry that uniqueness factor by simply being labeled as “independent.” With more importance on individuality, consumers can easily find one-of-a-kind statement pieces by seeking out independent brands, such as those found on online trendy menswear store Differio.

Consumers are seeking affordable luxury
There’s a new type of luxury that’s being preferred by millennials and Gen Z consumers known as “affordable luxury.” Although it sounds contradictory, today’s young consumers don’t want to pay full price on clothing anymore, but still want luxury quality. Between online multi-retailers and consignment shops, it’s easier for Gen Z to find the same pair of mens designer shoes on a different website for a lower price.

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This is why fashion brands – luxury to fast fashion – are finding collaborations with independent designers to be much more profitable. Depending on the brand collab, it can lower the price point or simply make the item more desirable for its exclusivity. There are even marketing tools that businesses can utilize like Collabosaurus specifically designed to helped companies gain exposure through the same marketing campaign to appear more affordable.

Expectations of luxury brands are shifting
There was a time when brands could get away with selling cheap items by simply producing over-the-top advertising. However, today’s young consumers are more impressed with a high-quality product over the illusion of quality. In addition, Gen Z and millennials gravitate towards luxury brands that incorporate ethics into their brand image.

The face of luxury is developing into one that’s more open-minded much like the minds of Gen Z. Today’s consumers appreciate the fact that luxury brands are taking a stand against using genuine leather for mens designer shoes and real fur for mens coats. Ultimately, independent designers have the power to implement a fresh-faced image into even a veteran luxury brand.