The “Luxury” Fit

What do brands like Armani, Dior, Canali and Gucci have in common? Menswear, of course. They creatively deliver contemporary, classic and formal (RTW) men’s suits.

What else? Quality. These brands offer exacting structural quality and cloth from world renowned mills. That’s a beautiful thing.

Yet, there’s another commonality on the radar that inspires our inquiry.

Pattern. The RTW suit patterns of these popular luxury houses are all quite similar and seem to be built for a specific type of consumer. Of course, we want to know who that consumer is, but first comes the question of how these brands choose their consumer.

We’re talking suits that cost upwards of $3K, and based on trends, the customer who can afford this suit makes $100k (or more) annually. Great. So, let’s identify the customer. Stats from the 2013 US Census update show the demographic for that income range skews mostly towards of European background.

Now that we’ve got a starting place for who these brands are selling to, their RTW patterns, which tend to be fitted for tall and extremely slender builds, make perfect sense. In itself, this information is neutral. The hindrance here is that these patterns don’t fit the amalgam of modern American men.

This customer focus has undoubtedly worked well for these brands, but it’s unsustainable. The tides are changing, and the money makers are diversifying. The Selig Center’s 2013 Multicultural Economy report tells us that Black, Asian and Native Americans carry nearly $2 trillion in spending power annually, 57% of which is attributed to African Americans.

The reality is that these groups are not being spoken to. It’s no wonder they’re disengaged. Does the language of luxury, starting with the fit, leave them out by design?

The time to talk is long overdue and ETT is one among many working to fill the gaps, starting with an array of products particularly designed to address a diversified customer base. Who we’re talking to comes first — how much is in their wallets comes after. A small step, no doubt, but the whole trail is a collection of many small steps. Let’s get to steppin’.

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