Do New Versace Products Mark the End of Fashion?

by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

October 8, 2007

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Versace, the former haute couture fashion design house and fashionistas brand of choice, is gradually scaling back its clothing design business as it expands its lifestyle product line. Could this mark the beginning of the end of fashion?

Fashion Empire Turns Pedestrian?
Few fashion designers could have predicted that Gianni Versace's clothing empire would turn into an accessories company that produces luxury interiors for cars, homes, and personal jets. Fewer would have guessed the company would become more closely associated with luggage bearing the brand's signature Greek motif than colorful silk dresses, low cut silk shirts and close fitting pants.

Discount Fashion Design Holds the Reins
But such is the latest business development in the Versace saga since the death of the clothing designer, Gianni Versace, who founded the company decades ago. In order to boost sagging profits, the company is increasingly focusing on lifestyle products like home furnishings, belts, purses, and aircraft interiors.

Though this development is significant, it probably doesn't mark the end of fashion. As higher-end brands are scaling back their investment in couture, lower-priced lines are making a heavy investment in fashion, such as Vera Wang's collection that will soon debut at Kohl's discount department store.

Advice for the Fashion School-Bound
If you're planning to attend fashion school, you can benefit from paying attention to these trends. As a fashion designer for a large brand company, you could have the opportunity to weigh in on design decisions about products other than apparel.

It may also be helpful to understand how this trend affects the clothing design industry as a whole, and how expanding into lifestyle products can create a strong brand, as Ralph Lauren has done with Polo by offering home accessories, mainstream clothing, and luxury fashion.

About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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