Understand the high fashion industry

When it comes to high fashion industry, before anything elses, my first thought was about the flashy images of the world full of clothes and colors like in the movie The devil wears Prada. High fashion industry is a place where skinny models wears designs from famous designers and walk around the room for checking or on the runways. They are surrounded by editors, huge paychecks, thousands to millions dollar dresses and they only eat tiny salads. However, when I delved deeper into the couture industry, I realize there were may more.

What is Haute Couture and Ready-to-wear?

Haute Couture: Haute Couture translates to “high sewing” and relates to the extreme attention to detail sewn within a garment and reserved only for truly one-of-a-kind pieces. The name originated from Fédération Française de la Couture, which is the governing body for the French fashion industry, and started as the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in 1868 by Charles Frederick Worth. Haute couture was then became a special title established by the French government to the tailors who meet certain standards. However, even people in the haute couture industry mistaken the word Couture has the same meaning, while Couture is a term used only to refer to unique and handcrafted clothing. Clients who want to by a piece from Haute Couture, they will have to contact them directly or have connections/high social positions. Then the Haute Couture will decide to make it or not. Finally, fashion houses from Haute Couture must present 2 collections per year, the Spring – Summer collection in January and Fall – Winter in July in the fashion capital Paris.

Ready-to-wear: Designer Gaby Aghion, the founder of the Chloé, is said to be the first to create the phrase Prêt-à-porter (Ready-to-wear) for ready-to-wear. Ready-to-wear puts convenience first while ensuring quality and fashion. Besides, they are also more accessible, often sell in retail stores with many different sizes and prices. Some Ready-to-wear designs are only available in standard sizes and you’ll have to hunt for an outfit that fits at a relatively hefty price tag. Similar to Haute Couture, the Ready-to-wear collection is presented twice a year in February for Spring – Summer and September for Autumn – Winter designs.

How about their marketing strategies?

For the high fashion world, the people who impose the trend are the fashion houses and they will discuss with each other to boost brand sales. For example, when designers want to promote winter denim, fashion brands will catch up with the trend and launch appropriate collections.

Each brand has their own values, marketing strategies and markets. For example, Gucci found their way into the fashion market in China, a billion-people country, they success and expand to neighboring countries. Saint Laurent and Burberry put their items on sale twice a year, Chanel/Louis Vuitton/Celine/Dior choose to keep their values by not putting the item on sale but use KOLs effectively. However, the one marketing strategy of all luxury brands used is KOLs. They focus on bringing their items to as many people as they can and raise their reputation.


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