During the last decade luxury fashion prices have rocketed and what was once the upper end is now standard fare – a particularly embellished dress or jacket can cost €10000 and upwards. It’s prêt-à-porter with couture prices.
The Swedish market sees very little of this. There has been some Balmain sold in Stockholm, but should we look at Swedish brands they have almost in unison decided to occupy the middle ground. The Swedish fashion consumer is demanding in her own peculiar way. She wants trendy, fashionable clothes, but without having to pay premium prices. It is a winning formula internationally too – the mid price section is where all the action is at the moment in the fashion world and in a way it is an extension of the democratic vision of budget high street fashion, with the addition that these customers are more informed, more fashion-forward and a bit more willing to part with their hard-earned cash.
At the same time, many of the Swedish brands have realised they have to raise their price level abroad. What is mid price in Sweden comes across as budget on other markets – and not in a good way.
For many years there has been a discussion (in Sweden) about what Swedish fashion should be. I think the answer is pretty clear. While London is about talent and experimentation, Milan about luxury and Paris about creativity, Stockholm’s fashion week – officially called Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Stockholm – is about accessibility.
Personally, I believe the Swedish price points are just right for what anyone who isn’t extremely affluent should pay for good fashion, and sometimes I find that even Swedish mid price equals “overpriced”. But in general, you get a lot of fashion for the money. It comes across as honest and, especially now that luxury pricing is out of control, there is certainly a need for honest pricing.
After all, looking good shouldn’t be all about money.