Designer Clustering = When homogeneous brands naturally group together in similar locations.
The hierarchy of fashion is a very complex aspect of the industry. It goes without saying that certain brands are considered superior in comparison to others. One way that this ‘hierarchy’ becomes clear to the consumer, is through the occurrence of ‘designer clustering’, which defines the act of when specific brands all appear in the same location, however would never be seen in close quarters with other brands which attract different consumers. The brands that often always appear together in similar areas do so because they are marketed towards a connected customer. This relationship is beneficial, as it means that customers that are visiting a certain store, may
In this post I have decided to analyse the designer clustering in specific locations around London.
Covent Garden, previously a small open-air fruit and vegetable market, is now one of the biggest tourist and shopping destinations in London. More specifically, the centre of Covent Garden is known as the Covent Garden Piazza, which was a square designed in 1630. The shops in this area, are associated with clientele who have a high disposable income. With designer brands such as Chanel, Burberry, NARS e.t.c, it is clear that these brands begin to group together as they all have a similar customer and therefore naturally sell in related areas as it is beneficial to them as a retailer.
But why did designer brands begin to gravitate towards the Covent Garden area? It wasn’t always a designer shopping destination, with it becoming known as a red-light district in the 18th Century, what sparked this change?
Before the 1980s the square deteriorated, however began re-development whilst maintaining the beauty of the historical buildings, with the council drawing up an action plan in 2004. However Covent Garden has become what it is today after being bought by company CapCo for £421 million in 2006. The area has since flourished, with the biggest Apple store in the world opening up in the area in 2010.
The iconic department store Liberty, which was founded in 1875, is a significant part of the historical landmarks and destinations in London. Liberty is known for stocking luxury goods and designer brands, but why are these types of retailers choosing Liberty, or rather, why is Liberty choosing them?
Brands such as Aesop, Alexander McQueen, Dior, Proenza Schouler, all give a clear reference to the clientele that Liberty attracts and expects, and illustrates a clear example of ‘designer clustering’.
Why does this ‘clustering’ appear in Liberty? Quite simply the department store’s ethos has always been to sell and provide customers with luxury, quality goods. Therefore, the store’s management team only selects brands that fit with the ‘Liberty image’ and lifestyle. Therefore this is an example of a more controlled and artificial occurrence of designer clustering.
I felt Selfridges would be a very interesting example of designer clustering to use, to understand why, a brief history of the brand is necessary.
This chain of department stores in the UK are known for stocking high-end products, with everything from home wear and stationery, to fashion. Founded in 1908 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the retailer has always been renowned for innovative marketing, allowing it to remain successful for the past (over) 100 years.
The types of brands which are situated in Selfridges include Alexander Wang, Anya Hindmarch, Stella McCartney and the list of star-studded designers go on. Contrastingly however, is the fact that Selfridges also stocks MissGuided an extremely affordable clothing line specifically aimed at younger customers looking for clothing to wear when ‘going out’. Previously the department store has also featured a Primark pop-up in a section of their store, both of the brands I have mentioned are cheap and don’t seem to fit at all in with the image that the other brands seem to portray. However, Selfridges have featured these brands in their store for a good reason, to attract a younger consumer. This may seem futile, however the hope is that through that experience to young client forms a connection with the department store, which they would not have had otherwise, and may shop there in the future when they have a higher disposable income.
Therefore this example shows that brands don’t always cluster together because they are similar in client, occasionally we have an anomaly where two polar-opposite brands appear next to each other, whether it’s a mutually beneficial relationship however, is another question.
Have you ever noticed designer clustering before? Let me know in the comments below!