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Lauren's High-End Image Drives Mass Market Profits

Ralph Lauren has defied conventional wisdom by building a luxury-goods empire with a major portion of sales from moderately priced brands. His ability to juggle so many brands in so many price categories and retail channels without tainting his luxury image is a model the rest of the fashion industry hopes to emulate.

Lauren's high-low straddle has succeeded largely because of a meticulous focus on his high-end image. All of the labels--including Lauren by Ralph Lauren, RRL, RLX, Polo Sport, Rugby and even Chaps--bask in the halo of Polo's vaunted "Black Label" collections, which are shown on New York runways twice a year, featuring $250 shirts and $3,000 suede jackets.

At the mass-market end, the designer has kept both "Polo" and "Ralph Lauren" off the brand names. But many consumers know that Polo designs Chaps, for instance, so the company still benefits from the association.



Read the whole story at The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) »

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