From decade to decade, season to season, and sometimes every other week, the fashion scene is on a constant path to progression. New brands and designers, as well as some classic brands rediscovered, are rivaling the most coveted fashion houses at a pace faster than ever before. On the other hand, many devalued American designer labels need to regroup and fall back in love with their audience before it’s too late.
Here’s a deep dive into the seven fastest-growing and declining luxury brands in fashion.
Fashion Luxury Brands Losing Their Status and Relevance
The following fashion brands previously enjoyed a steady rise in popularity thanks to their trendy pieces and high-profile celebrity endorsers. However, growth has been slowing recently, and the companies have lost their appeal to the masses.
- Downfall of Michael Kors: “Unoriginal and inundated”
Michael Kors was the “it” brand for almost a decade, having millions of consumers buying their mid-range handbags, shoes, and accessories. Because of oversaturation on the market and the brand’s safe approach to fashion (Kors usually shies away from bold designs), Micheal Kors has lost many of its consumers in recent years. In 2017, Business Insider reported that the company would shut down 100 to 125 retail locations worldwide due to catastrophic sales.
- Demise of Coach: “Losing its luxury prestige”
Not long ago, luxury brand Coach dominated handbag sales worldwide. The company, which the late Miles Cahn founded in Manhattan in the 1960s, had a considerably good start. By the 1980s, Coach was selling $20 million worth of iconic bags. Fast forward to 2012, net sales peaked at $4 billion. However, though considered a classic brand with a reputation that guaranteed longevity, sales began to plummet in recent years. Companies offering handbags with the same mid-range price point, such as those from Michael Kors and Tory Burch, have made the industry more diverse and competitive for Coach to stand out.
The good news is that there may be hope for Coach to redeem itself. In 2018, Coach and Selena Gomez collaborated on a line complete with limited edition purses, wallets, clothing pieces, and more. Coach received high praise and recognition for working with the singer-actress, who also wore their elegant custom dresses at the 2017 and 2018 Met Galas.
In 2022, the brand revamped itself once again by launching a new collection of streetwear and leather goods, deeming the brand “cool again.” Time will tell if Coach will truly bounce back or continue losing its relevance in the fashion industry.
- Decline of Tommy Hilfiger: “No longer the American dream”
Tommy Hilfiger is one of the most recognized fashion houses in the United States. Established in 1985, Tommy Hilfiger offers lifestyle apparel for adults and children alike, as well as footwear, fragrance, and accessories. The fashion house’s popularity peaked in the 1990s for combining Americana culture and sportswear. Sales in 2017 brought in $7.4 billion, proving the company is still a significant player in fashion, though a bit outdated.
While the brand is showing no signs of slowing down, the products are far from original and no longer pass as high-fashion pieces. In 2013, even Tommy himself joked that he was “sick of fashion.”
- Uncertain Future of Juicy Couture: “Tracksuits are so 2001”
If you were young and well during the early 2000s, you probably remember seeing everyone from Paris Hilton to Britney Spears, and perhaps even your friends and family, wearing a velour tracksuit from none other than Juicy Couture. Los Angeleans Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor were the designers behind the infamous attire. Founded in 1997, the brand also offers handbags, fragrances, and swimwear.
In 2013, Skaist-Levy and Nash-Taylor sold Juicy Couture to Kate Spade & Co. for $195 million. Unfortunately, a year later, all of their US retail stores closed and the brand went on hiatus. It made a splashy return in 2021, promising to have restructured its vision and products. Time will tell if the brand can keep up with the evolving contemporary fashion market.
Rising Fashion Luxury Brands
These fast-growing brands have made big moves in recent years, including making their runway debuts or introducing a new category in their product lineup, all amid a global pandemic.
- Ralph Lauren: “Learning and growing from past mistakes”
Ralph Lauren is another American luxury brand that lost its status through the years by providing its consumers with too many special deals and discounted prices. Offering constant sales led to an increase in revenue temporarily, but the long-term effect was disastrous, to say the least. During the fourth quarter of 2017, the company reported revenue dips of over 16 percent, as selling discounted items in outlets and department stores devalued the brand.
However, current CEO, Patrice Louvet, worked overtime to revive the brand’s reputation. In 2022, Ralph Lauren’s annual sales skyrocketed to an impressive 41 percent. Beating analytics expectations and breaking through our list, Ralph Lauren’s mission to recapture the interest of high-end luxury consumers, plus modifying its marketing strategies to prioritize higher-end retailers, helped the classic label return to growth in the United States after years of declining sales in the region.
- Burberry: “Rising from the ashes”
Burberry has faced one controversy after another in recent years. The iconic Burberry check, for example, became one of the most copied designs in fashion during the 1980s and 1990s. To drive sales, Burberry pursued an extensive licensing program, but it only added fuel to the fire. In 2019, the British luxury fashion brand received backlash for creating a hoodie with a hangman’s knot around the neck. Despite those challenges, Burberry is determined to claim its throne as one of the top luxury brands in the world.
In 2022, for the first time in five years, Burberry reported its annual rise in revenue. Continuing to rebuild as a brand, Burberry is set to roll out its new store concept and have tighter control over inventory to increase prices. Newly appointed CEO Jonathan Akeroyd said he intends to build on the company’s strong foundation and predicts a 35 percent rise in annual sales.
- Celine: “Dressing some of the biggest international artists”
High-end consumers credit Hedi Slimane’s onboarding as Creative, Artistic, and Image Director for the growth of French luxury brand Celine. Slimane has reinvented the brand by adopting a whole new aesthetic and implementing marketing strategies that previous artistic directors have never done before. An example of Slimane’s assertive approach is focusing the brand’s attention on artists dominating the K-pop scene. Slimane handpicked Blackpink’s Lisa to be the label’s first official global ambassador. The members of NCT 127 and Kim Taehyung of BTS are also some of the many Korean celebrities seen sporting garments, bags, and accessories from the rising luxury brand.
Loewe, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, and Givenchy are also improving margins significantly, reaching profitability that is satisfactory and commensurate, which was not the case in the past, according to parent company LVMH.
Ask an average consumer what luxury fashion is and they will likely respond with Gucci, Prada, Balenciaga, and other well-known brand names. For other companies at the middle or bottom of the tier, such as those in this list, the goal is to climb the ranks. For the love of fashion, hopefully, they do.
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