J. Crew And Ralph Lauren: The Hard Lessons Consumers Are Teaching The Fashion Industry

by MR Magazine Staff

The recent management upheaval at J. Crew bears many similarities to those at Ralph Lauren Corporation, besides the obvious difference that as a public company, Ralph Lauren’s struggles are more transparent. Both companies have been led by fashion industry visionaries, who for years had the golden touch bringing to market clothing that American consumers, especially the economically well-endowed affluents, favored. Both filled their stores with iconic “preppy” looks and year-after-year, season-after-season, went back to the same well to reup the line with little tweaks here and there. And both kept pushing the envelope of price, testing how far their customers’ wallets would stretch. Success bred success and more stores were opened as they sought to bring their fashion “worlds” to a wider market. Along the way, they also decided that more customers with less spending power aspired to their brands, so they spun off lower-priced lines and opened factory outlet stores where even the hoi polloi could indulge. Read more at Forbes.