The Business of Fashion: Uncovering the Market Segments of the Apparel Industry

The fashion industry does seem very small and saturated but that it is like an alternate universe when you get in. There are so many market segments to uncover and since there is the need to be clothed and the need to feel good when clothed, it keeps on becoming a thriving business to the rest of the world. If you are starting out a new label, knowing the industry and where you want to position the label are the crucial points to uncover to set your business as well as your products on the right direction. Let us start by identifying the unique market segments and what makes these segments unique and why you should put your business at that level.

As of the moment, there are around 5 market segments that are within the fashion industry. They are normally distinguished by levels, pricing and procedural nuances. These segments are haute couture, ready to wear, mass market, Eco fashion and niche fashions

Haute Couture

A label that is exclusive to fashions that are completely handmade or most of the procedures done by hand; of materials made of the most luxurious and laboriously concocted patterns and fabrics and presentations that are well beyond magical, Haute couture is the pinnacle of market segments selling to the richest women. The term is carelessly used by others when they are indeed made to measure companies. Haute couture is a label controlled strictly by Chambre Syndicale in Paris and only a select few houses are labeled as haute couture houses. The likes of Christian Dior, Chanel, Givenchy and Elie Saab have the rights to be called haute couture houses. The market can be called niche since it only caters to a very small, privileged people who can spend $20,000 on a suit to over $150,000 or more for an elaborate dress with embroidery. It requires an audience with the Chambre Syndicale so if you want to be a full blown couture house, you need to establish your brand and show point of view that can be refreshingly couture.

Ready to Wear

This started out in the 1960s as an alternative to haute couture. These are ready to purchase items that come in standard sizes. This is one of the biggest money makers of fashion companies and where they also put much of their efforts adverting and presenting. If couture is held twice a year, ready to wear can have several runs ranging from the conventional spring and summer fashions, pre-fall and resort plus other specialty lines for kids and even pets. It is a massive industry. Ready to wear comes in several sub sections including luxury ready to wear. Most couture houses have their own ready to wear lines that are less expensive than haute couture by a mile but still are very expensive. Then there is the diffusion line that is catered to a more hip audience but still range similarly in price. High street lines are often less costly.

Mass Market

This is where most people buy their products. If you are starting out, it would be great to begin here and then head up, or diversify. Mass market normally is sold at very convenient prices but can vary in influence like the more posh labels to department store clothing. Boutiques normally offer a broad range of fashions from working class, leisure, daily and glamour/evening looks. Young companies can either begin here or at ready to wear label, the latter is ideal for those who want to create a stronger commercial impression.

Eco fashion

This is a unique market that focuses mainly on environmentally conscious materials and processes. It takes a lot more creativity to transform the fashions and make them rally stylish but it pays off very well since there is an emerging market for people who like Eco friendly options especially for accessories.

Niche fashion

This is focused on a specific area such as undergarment, jewelry, hats or shoes. This is another great option and it is easier to sell or market to boutiques or set up online compared to pieces of clothing.

By understanding the aspects of fashion and its different segments, one can easily make a decision about the best options and ultimately plan the business and the future strategies.