The contemporary brands
fashion market is clearly brimming with a high
level of competition. The up-and-coming
contemporary designers are forced to
continuously compete with older, established
luxury brands in the targeting of the younger
generation of consumers.
The contemporary market began out of consumers’
need and want to own versatile clothing that
could be worn on a daily basis. Stylish
consumers were hungry for locating a head-to-toe
outfit that luxury brands create, but could be
sold at a more reasonable
The luxury industry makes clothing for occasions
that are special, not for a woman’s everyday
life. Designer collections and Haute
Couture lines are great, but trendy women with a
little less money to burn needed an alternative.
apparel is clothing that is accessible, in price
and in terms of the way people wear it.
The contemporary category
often contains more modern-style clothes
compared to the higher end luxury market.
The voice of the contemporary industry is a bit
more modern and a tad younger (not always, but
So what do the brands in
this category all have in common? It’s all
about quality. Even the most basic item feels
luxurious and are finely crafted. Many labels
offer a strong brand aesthetic and, in some
cases, are almost contenders to leading luxury
brands. Contemporary brands need to go
beyond simply offering trendy fashion items.
Quality fabrics and trimming on all products are
important for the brand.
In today’s world many
consumers are shopping across categories. The
contemporary shopper and the luxury shopper may
actually be the same person. Affluent
consumers are shopping across categories, and
less affluent consumers are shopping up levels
as far as they can comfortably reach. As
the turnaround of catwalk trends on the high
street becomes even quicker, with new items
dropping in-store every week, people are turning
to these labels for individuality.
Due to the fact that
contemporary brands appeal to several groups of
consumers, this industry will continue to see
Fashion editors and
industry insiders agree that contemporary brands
have stolen the limelight and are helping to
bridge the gap between luxury brands and main
Contemporary brands appeal to both the luxury
shopper and the new breed of aspirational
shopper. This tier has become a go-to for
women who can no longer justify shelling out
huge amounts of cash on designer garb. It
is also appealing to people bored of
are prepared to spend that little bit extra for
something that will last.
want to feel like they own something special and
unique. They want exclusive quality labels that
are not mass produced, yet are still affordable.
It is important to keep in mind that this
category is less expensive then higher tiers
such as Haute Couture, but the prices are
clearly higher than budget collections.
A great contemporary
brand is one with a unique look and feel.
Garments and accessories will have interesting
construction details and a good-quality finish.
The collections are in line with seasonal
trends but also incorporate signature items that
consumers immediately recognize and associate
with the designer brand.
Here are a few more
brands to consider in this category:
The British designer and
Central Saint Martins alumnus is best known for
his ultra-desirable, pared-back clothes and
extreme attention to detail. But don’t be
fooled; his clothes are far from simple. Each
season, he updates wardrobe classics by playing
with textures and interesting fabrics such as
bonded velvet, pony skin and quilted leather.
If you’re a fan of masculine tailoring, Neil
may be your go to man.
Launched by husband-and-wife duo Didier and
Evelyne Chétrite, Sandro is a well-known and
popular brand in the contemporary market. Since
its launch in 1984 (in the Marais district of
label has gathered a cult following with women
charmed by its insouciant, season less separates
and rock’n’roll aesthetic. Sandro has stores
worldwide in places such as New York and Japan,
and a flagship store based in Covent Garden,
While you can expect to see the odd trend-led
piece such as a pink coat or monochrome checks,
label Maryling aims to provide the perfect
capsule wardrobe for work and leisure.
Accessories fans are well catered for with an
extensive range of bags, footwear, jewelry and
other fine accessories.
Founded by Maia Norman,
the label fuses sportswear-inspired pieces with
luxury fabrics to create bold, eclectic work.
Heavily influenced by Norman’s strong
connection with the art world, the label
collaborates with an acclaimed artist each
season, with head designer Amy Powney cleverly
incorporating their work into prints within the
collections. An avid sportswoman and
fashion enthusiast, Founder Maia Norman’s
lifestyle and surroundings have heavily
influenced the brand ethos and direction of
Mother of Pearl.
More of a fashion-forward
look, than just a specific price point, the
contemporary classification is often aimed at
women in their '20s and early '30s who are
looking for trendy apparel, but at an affordable
(at least compared to designer) price.
and the rise of contemporary brands. To stay in
the game, luxury fashion marketers must compete
on a global scale.
Mother of Pearl, Calla,
Richard Nicoll, BCBG, Betsey Johnson and
Many other designers have
entered this collection classification. You
are welcome to discuss your favorite
collections in the discussion area below.
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