Fashion goes in cycles, and it looks like a flashy one is coming back into vogue: showing off brand logos.
Upscale handbag label Coach is one telling example. Its Signature logo C line, which at its peak accounted for 70% of its global retail sales before crashing in popularity and being retired, is about to be relaunched in March.
“What we are seeing there is a part of global movement in luxury brands toward a higher penetration of logo product,” Josh Schulman, CEO and brand president of the Coach brand, said on a conference call Tuesday, when Coach parent Tapestry, which also owns Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman fashion labels, reported better-than-expected second quarter results.
However, Schulman is not oblivious to the brand’s painful logo lesson: When the C logo line became ubiquitous, it lost its aura of exclusivity and ended up hurting Coach’s brand image and sales. The company embarked on a turnaround that included the 2013 hiring of British fashion designer Stuart Vevers as its executive creative director and the 2016 signing of pop star Selena Gomez as brand ambassador. The logo collection all but disappeared from Coach’s retail assortment and marketing campaigns, Schulman has said.
“We want to be very clear though that we’re going to take a very measured and disciplined approach in how we reintroduce this into retail,” he said on the call Tuesday, adding responses to the new collection from both the fashion press and its wholesale customers including Neiman Marcus have been “terrific.”
Industrywide, global growth in the $40 billion premium handbag and accessories market has been “driven by the strength of luxury logo products,” Tapestry CEO Victor Luis said in November when the company reported its first quarter results. That proves “that brands absolutely still matter,” Luis said, describing it as a “logo trend sweeping the market.”
Under Vevers, Coach’s new Signature line includes what Schulman has described as “fresh take” including “re-colored” logo or designs trimmed with burnished leather. Gomez also will play a part in driving buzz for the re-launched line.