News and Publications

Fashion, luxury and lifestyle news aggregator - May 2024

Posted: 30/05/2024

The art of luxury – the strategic fusion of fashion and art

Luxury brands are capitalising on artistic strategies to increase sales. Recently, Gucci presented its Cruise 2025 collection at London's Tate Modern, marking the shared history between the fashion house and the capital. Their collaboration has extended to Gucci supporting the Tate's upcoming ‘Electric Dreams’ exhibition and a three-year partnership to foster the Tate’s work with young creatives.

Similarly, Tiffany and Co’s ‘Vision & Virtuosity’ exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery features over 400 creations from its archives, and Chanel’s recent show at the V&A museum, ‘Gabrielle Chanel Fashion Manifesto’, displayed the evolution of the designer’s iconic styles. Brands are also collaborating directly with artists, such as Louis Vuitton and renowned Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.

These alliances show a trend of luxury fashion brands, including Burberry and Tod's, associating with prestigious artists and events such as the Venice Biennale, Frieze and Art Basel. This strategy enables luxury brands to enhance their cultural credibility and connect with a broader audience of affluent consumers. The mutual interest is evident, as the Tate has increasingly engaged with the fashion industry, hosting shows for designers such as Roksanda, David Koma, and Harris Reed during London Fashion Week in February.

Met Gala – green glamour and digital doppelgängers

One of the jewels in the fashion calendar, the Met Gala, has faced criticism this year that it was not sustainable enough and that the event missed what should have been an important message regarding the role that sustainable fashion plays in protecting the planet. Ironic perhaps, considering this years theme, ‘The Garden of Time’, was a story of the ‘endless cycle of creation and destruction’ (indeed, the red carpet was actually green).

However, some attendees were celebrated for prioritising sustainable fabrics, including Penelope Cruz, whose gown was stitched together from three Chanel dresses from across different decades, and actress Amanda Seyfried, whose Prada gown was made from leftover deadstock fabric.

Beyond the fashion, some famous faces that didn’t attend the event were victims of deepfakes. Katy Perry and Rihanna were supposedly ‘photographed’ at the Met Gala thanks to AI technology creating realistic photos and outfits befitting the event’s theme, and managing to trick many into believing they were real. Whilst clearly an ethical conundrum, it is also another example of how AI and other technological advancements are changing the fashion industry. Indeed, it is predicted that in the next five years, generative AI could add between $150 to $275 billion to the apparel, fashion and luxury sectors’ profits.

Pre-loved popularity

Europe’s largest online marketplace for second-hand clothing, Vinted, has reported its first annual profit. The fashion site made a net profit of €18 million in 2023, compared to a loss of €20 million in 2022, with sales increasing by 61% to €596 million.

The Lithuanian start-up attributes its growth to ‘multiple vectors’, including international expansion (into Denmark, Finland and Romania) and continued development in re-selling luxury fashion. For instance, in 2022, Vinted acquired Rebelle, integrating its item verification functionalities and allowing members to trade designer and high-value fashion items with increased safety, with its dedicated team of experts carefully examining eligible items purchased on the marketplace.

Other players in the pre-loved space have also recently reached milestones. Online platform The RealReal reported positive free cash flow for the first time since going public in 2019, and a narrowed loss gap compared to last year. Fashion rental platform Hurr, which powers rental platforms for John Lewis, Flannels and Selfridges, also reported a 230% rise in demand for long-term rentals after the launch of its 30-day rental period last year.

Pre-loved fashion is increasing in its popularity, particularly with impact-conscious younger generations – on average, half of shoppers bought a pre-worn item in 2023. Last year, the second-hand luxury goods market rose to €45 billion and global sales of pre-owned clothes are forecast to take 10% of global fashion sales, and reach $350 billion in 2028. Against this backdrop, there is stiff competition amongst second-hand marketplaces. eBay recently announced that it had scrapped selling fees for pre-owned clothing in what it claimed was a move to reduce waste, but perhaps represents a push for listings in a bid to keep up with the likes of Vinted and Depop.

April showers dampen sales but May brings a ray of hope

Data released this month revealed that retail sales fell by 2.3% in April as wet and dreary weather reduced footfall. The results represent the sector’s first decline since September 2022.

That said, there may be hope on the horizon, particularly with consumer confidence said to be heating up for May, and selling price inflation continuing to decrease. UK retail sales were up 0.3% this month, boosted by a trio of bank holidays and warmer weather.

Despite this, it appears that luxury’s slowdown has continued into the first quarter of the year. Three of the major luxury groups – Hermès, Gucci and LVMH – saw limited growth. Some brands, including Gucci, Saint Laurent and Kering were in negative territory. Others managed to buck the trend, such as Miu Miu, which grew by another 89% in Q1. With the sector polarised in terms of growth, it remains to be seen how luxury retailers will fare against each other in the upcoming quarters.

Arrow GIFReturn to news headlines

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP