To many the term ‘designer clothing’ relates to outlandish, often absurd clothing which carries a hefty price tag. However the term actually relates to branded clothing with is designed by, for or licensed for a particular company. In other words, it is not designed and mass produced for wholesale and then branded based on buyers. The brand will usually employ the designers to create pieces just for them, they will have dedicated manufacturing contracts to ensure the garments are produced exclusively for them and will then have a rigid retail infrastructure to ensure that sales are under their own brand.
Although many people think that designer clothing is a reasonably modern phenomenon, this is not the case at all. Designer clothing dates back to the 15th century when the upper classes started to take an interest in fashion. Initially it was hairstyles that were the primary focus but this focus later altered to be on clothing. The problem faced by many of the upper class however was that the lower classes began to copy their designs and fashions in order to gain social status. This was unacceptable to the elite as their aim was to differentiate themselves from others. They therefore stated to frequently change their fashion in order to stay ‘one step ahead’. By the 17th century, fashion was in full swing with a number of highly sought after designers being commissioned to produce new styles whenever the weather altered. This is reflected in the seasonal collections we see from fashion designers today.
There are a number of different designer brands on the market, these range from the haute couture names such as Christian Dior, Versace, Armani and Gucci to the more affordable names such as Duck & Cover, Jack Jones, Beck & Hersey and Firetrap.
Designer clothing buyers can generally be split into two distinct categories. The first are those that are loyal to their brand and have single label wardrobes. This type of buyer finds a core theme they like and then stick with that designer. They are likely to buy several items from that designer each season in order to keep their wardrobe up to date. The other type of designer clothing buyer is not loyal to any particular brand and have multi-label wardrobes. These people tend to gravitate towards individual items they like as opposed to the designer it’s from. They don’t tend to work on a seasonal basis and just buy clothes as they come across ones they like.
Take the Duck and Cover brand as an example. Their overall philosophy is to take an ordinary garment and turn it into something that is quirky, unusual and distinct. The talented Duck and Cover jeans designers take a conventional pair of jeans and redesign the pockets and fit, plus add a host of embellishments to turn them into something completely different. They combine a range of different fashion themes from military to industrial, retro to utility to create clothing collections that wow the fashion arena season after season. This constant evolving of styles means that they can cater for both types of buyer. They have a core group of Duck and Cover loyal buyers who buy new pieces when they are launched. But then they also have a following of different people who like the constantly changing designs.
The beauty of designer clothing is that it is often of a very high quality and is designed to last for multiple seasons. It offers excellent value for money and as there are some people who simply don’t buy it, it allows differentiation of style.


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