Polo Challenge to Abercrombie?

High end fashion brands, when coming to the United States, go for–understandably– the big cities. The US market is huge, and, the question is who will capture the hearts and minds of those outside of New York, et all?

The battle, in pure business terms, is between Abercrombie, Hollister, and American Eagle; at least for where the youth choose to spend their money. They have taken the idea of the lifestyle brand, but none so effectivley or completely as Abercrombie.

Abercrombie has taken the lifestyle model set for Ralph Lauren and has perfected it, arguably utilizing undertones of socio-economic and racial perceptions to promote a certain brand image. “Humor tees,” help solidify their market share and galvanize the base.

Abercrombie is, for the average person, a more expensive brand. In order to try and reach into the market of Lacoste and Ralph Lauren polo wearing demographics, Abercrombie created Ruehl. It seems that either that Ruehl is actually growing, or that Abercrombie is now cutting into Ralph Lauren’s blue label market share.

In short, Ralph Lauren has decided to reply to Abercrombie, with a brand they started as an experiment near notoriously preppy universities called Rugby. Since 2004, Rugby has grown, their website is now featured directly from Ralph Lauren’s flagship site [check it out here]. Ruehl seems to be a simple carnation of Abercrombie, and Rugby is similar to Ralph Lauren, but it seems more experimental, and with its own identity.

Long story short, Ralph Lauren is making a brand for college kids, directly. Are other higher end brands going to follow suit? Will we see Burberry, Prada, or Dolce versions for college kids? Thoughts?

By: !


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