BN Style Forum is a platform where issues pertaining to the Nigerian & African fashion industry will be discussed weekly. We hope to encourage an open, honest & constructive engagement with stakeholders in the industry.
The 90’s saw to the infiltration of luxury brands in popular culture, luxury goods transitioned from a state of exclusivity to a point of reach; there emerged aspirational luxury goods consumers. With luxury, there is a “promise” of a certain craftsmanship, an inimitable experience which validates its superiority above the mass market. Consumers buy into the idea behind the “promise”.
In my experience as the Style Editor of BellaNaija, I have observed that when I publish a feature on Nigerian luxury brands, comments on how expensive the pieces are, despite readers’ appreciation of the designer’s work, is always a reoccurring cause of concern and becomes discouraging for the consumer. What is seemingly inexistent is the “aspiration” to own these pieces. It is one thing to acknowledge one’s financial constraint in owning an immaculately crafted luxury designer piece and another when one recognizes a disparity between the price of the design and its “immaculate” finish. Our discussion tackles the latter.
Do we as consumers fail to acknowledge the relative exclusivity of luxury designs, which thus, justifies the high price point?, What is the price point border that distinguishes between “high street” and “luxury” brands in an economy where majority of its population do not possess a high disposable income? Or are our expectations of luxury not being fulfilled? Is the “promise” not being relayed or is it not persuasive or aspiration worthy? Or, in a larger scale, is the Nigerian Fashion Industry not responding to the core need of its consumers? If there was a booming mass market, will luxury designer pieces be so often critiqued? Or is the reason as simplistic as the aged argument of Nigerians not appreciating its own?
I acknowledge that I have thrown a lot on the table. However, essentially I am asking, is it an issue with the consumer’s psyche, the luxury label’s branding or the unresponsive Nigerian Fashion Industry?
Would love to read your thoughts.
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Photo Credit: www.fashionavecpassion.com