Here's an interesting article from CNN Money about how the apparel company VF has stayed fresh by focusing on lifestyle brands, thereby giving customers products to flirt with. There's an interesting discussion about the brand “Northface,” a brand I imagine many of us on the US west coast are familiar with and flirt with often at out local sporting goods store or REI.
On a side note, interestingly in this time of recession, apparel companies like Gap and Ann Taylor have launched luxury lines. I heard a report this morning that they are charging ~40% premium for items in these lines. I'm am familiar with the new BR line from the Banana Republic and, if the website is a reflection of reality, then this strategy is working well despite the recession because items in the line are sold out in the most common sizes. There is definitely a difference in the apparance of these high-end duds in the BR line. What distinguishes them from the other products are rich cloth patterns and style details that are unique and say, “$$$.” I'll try to find something about this trend to post. Regardless, it's an interesting move to make in such a tough economy.