Louis Vuitton catwalk Autumn/Winter 2013-14
As the fashion world prepares for Spring/Summer 2014, the rest of us get ready to snap up the new Autumn/Winter 2013-14 collections hitting the shops! As the season changes, the stores are filling up with exciting new styles, colours, hemlines and materials – what better time to restock your wardrobe?
But the question is, where should you be spending your hard-earned money? Whilst designer brands still lead the fashion pack, high street brands are following and adapting faster than ever, and at much more affordable prices. Couture designs and trends have always trickled through from the catwalk to the side walk, but this slow and steady trickle has become a flood. You can find copies and imitations of all the high fashion clothes in many of the leading high street brands, as the shops quickly respond to our every fashion need.
High street takes on high fashion
Let’s take a look at two of the main brands in each sector: Louis Vuitton – a name known across the globe and a name associated with some of the most beautiful and expensive handbags in the world – and Zara – a high street brand often spotted at Fashion Weeks around the world, proudly worn by fashion editors and celebrities alike.
Zara vs. Louis Vuitton
The famous French fashion house Louis Vuitton was founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton. His first ever store was in Paris, but his brand now has 456 boutiques around the world and pulled in a hefty profit of RM 23.3 billion in 2012. In comparison, Zara seems like the newcomer on the fashion block, founded in 1975 – over 100 years after Louis Vuitton. The Spanish retail giant has gained a reputation as a “fashion imitator”, with claims that the high street chain needs only two weeks to design and distribute a new item of clothing to its 1763 stores.
What does it take to create a new season collection?
While Louis Vuitton focuses on exclusivity, high quality and small quantities, Zara attempts to focus on both, with teams of designers carefully watching sales figures and responding by producing more varieties of the top-selling pieces, each with a twist to appeal to different tastes. It’s a method that seems to be paying off – the Spanish clothing and accessories retailer pulled in RM 10.4 billion of profit in 2012.
Where are my clothes made?
As you probably expect, all of Louis Vuitton’s ready-to-wear, or prêt-à-porter, pieces are produced either in Europe or in the US. The company produces 70% of all of its collections in its home country, France. Another 18% is manufactured in Spain, with the rest being put together in America. Only items such as zips are produced elsewhere.
However, the vast majority of Zara’s clothes also start life in Europe. Although you might expect Asia’s overworked and underpaid garment workers to pay the price for the store’s affordable prices, the store in fact produces 50% of its stock in Spain, with another 28% produced elsewhere in Europe. Less than a quarter of Zara’s clothes and accessories are manufactured in Asia and the rest of the world and, as many of its stores are in Europe, this allows the company to respond even more quickly to European demand.
Are designer clothes worth it?
Designer addicts often argue that their designer clothes last decades, as opposed to the poor quality pieces found on the high street – and they never go out of style either. But is that really true? Well, not always…
Do designer clothes really last longer?
While pieces produced by high fashion houses should be higher quality in theory, this isn’t always the case. Designer doesn’t necessarily mean handmade, and many of the methods used to produce your high street clothes may also be used to manufacture your couture pieces. In fact, Louis Vuitton was even forced by the British Advertising Agency to withdraw some of its adverts because they made it appear as if some of its factory-made handbags were in fact hand sewn. So those “handmade” designer clothes may not actually be as high quality as the high fashion labels would like you to think.
Are designer clothes an investment?
Let’s get this out there once and for all. Designer pieces do go out of fashion. Of course they do. Some styles will date while others come back in fashion time and time again. But this being said, designer pieces will often hold their value much more than high street pieces. A high street shirt which has been mass-produced and sold all over the world will be worth next-to-nothing once you’ve worn it a few times, whereas a couture dress is much rarer and more valuable.
Your little piece of fashion history won’t hold its value as well once you start wearing it though, and we all know you’re going to wear it – why else did you buy it? While vintage clothes can still be worth a considerable sum, it’s important that they are in great condition so make sure you’re careful what you eat when you’re wearing that white Chanel dress!
Celebrities wear high street too
More and more celebrities and fashionistas are flocking to the high street to snap up a gorgeous bargain. Although they can afford to fill their wardrobes with Gucci handbags, Prada sunglasses and Chanel dresses, they choose to make space for high street brands including Topshop, French Connection, Warehouse… and Zara, of course.
Beady-eyed fashion bloggers and magazines love to tell us when our favorite Hollywood starlet is seen sporting high street fashion. In fact, Fashionbase has an entire gallery devoted to famous faces rocking Zara clothes and accessories. From Kate Middleton and Taylor Swift to Eva Longoria and Dita Von Teese, it seems that Zara clothes are not only fit for a princess, but also A-list actresses and singers too.
Mix and match
Why not copy the celebs, and mix and match designer labels with your high street pieces and cute vintage finds? A Topshop dress can look fantastic when paired with some stunning Louboutin heels, or if you can match your Burberry dress with a striking Zara jacket.
How to save money on clothes and still look fabulous
High street clothes are cheaper than couture pieces; it’s a fact of life. With some clever spending, you could even restock your entire wardrobe with high street fashion for the price of one Louis Vuitton handbag.
If you want to make your money go further, read on for our best designer versus high street spending tips!
Splurge on classic statement pieces; save on edgy, high trend fashion
There are some pieces of clothing in your wardrobe that you will wear again and again, year after year. The ones that you always get complimented on, without fail. If you buy designer, then the cost spread out over all those years makes it seem pretty reasonable.
But unless you can predict the future of fashion, be careful what you buy. Invest in classic pieces, like a tailored jacket that flatters your figure perfectly, or handbags in colours that you can match with everything. Steer clear of prints and on-trend cuts and styles – there’s a risk that these will only see you through the season before they go out of style again and are relegated to the back of your wardrobe for the next fifty years!
If you want to buy some edgier, high trend clothes, why not hit the high street? High street labels won’t give your credit card such a beating, but they will always keep you looking modern and stylish!
How to save up for a designer bag
So you’ve made up your mind. You’re going to buy that Louis Vuitton handbag and there’s nothing anyone can say to change your mind. Only problem is… you can’t afford it. Not to worry – here are our top five tips for saving up that designer bag!
- Manage your money. Don’t bury your head in the sand and just stick the bag on your credit card. You might not have to pay now, but you will do at the end of the month. And if you don’t pay it off, you may face late fees and have to pay interest on top of your purchase – making your handbag even more expensive.
- Set a budget. This goes for all of your spending. If you keep track of where all your money goes, you’ll easily be able to spot your financial weakness – be it shoes or jewelry, once you know what your weakness is, you will be able to fight it! To find out more about budgeting, read our blog post here.
- Take advantage of the sales. You could wait to sale season and see if your dream bag is reduced, but it’s a risky strategy – it might be sold out by then! If you don’t feel like taking the risk, you could just use sales shopping to reduce your spending on clothes. And why stop there? You can easily save money by searching for reduced items in the supermarket too! Be careful though, as sales can be dangerous. Make sure you don’t regret your purchases by reading our blog post on how to master the sales in style.
- Get a credit card that rewards you for shopping! We’re not saying that a credit card is the answer to all your problems – but if you manage your finances and pay off what you owe on time and at the end of every month, credit cards can offer some enticing rewards. Click here to compare credit cards and find out what you could be missing out on!
- Get the best phone contract for you. Are you overpaying on your phone bill? Probably. Most of us are on a phone contract which doesn’t correspond to our data usage. Either we pay too much for minutes and texts we never use, or we’re constantly using up our data allowance and paying through the nose for it in fees. Why not use our handy mobile comparison tool to see if you can get yourself a better deal? Less money spent on your phone bill means more money to spend on clothes – what’s not to like?
Are designer clothes and bags cheaper in Europe, America or Dubai?
Fashion tourism seems like the perfect solution to all your problems, right? Why not spend a week in Paris, sight-seeing and shopping on the Champs-Elysées and buy that designer handbag while you’re at it?
Well, it’s true that designer labels may be cheaper in the country where they are produced, and you can usually claim your tax back at the airport on expensive purchases if you’re not a citizen of that country. But the saving may be not be that significant, and once you’ve factored in your flights and accommodation, the whole thing starts to look pretty pricey. Also, don’t forget to think about the exchange rate and how many euros/dollars/dirham you can get for your Ringgit!
Find the brands which suit you best
We can argue about the pros and cons about buying designer versus high street fashion, but ultimately everyone has their personal preference and their own budget. As long as you aren’t blowing your entire budget for the month on one (admittedly gorgeous) pair of designer heels, and you know how much you can afford, then the final decision is up to you.
The most important factor to consider is finding the labels that suit you. There are always some shops which are filled with amazing clothes… but none of them fit you properly or flatter your style. But other brands consistently seem to produce clothes which seem as if they’ve been made just for you. Find the brands that work for you and stick with them. It’ll make your shopping trips much less stressful and much more enjoyable!
To sum it all up, here’s an infographic to show the comparison between high street and designer:
This article is brought to you by CompareHero.my.
CompareHero provides consumers with a website where they can compare between different financial, insurance, broadband and mobile products. In order to show how awesome they are at comparing, they created this infographic focusing on fashion. For more information on CompreHero, click here.