I’ve chosen a few brands that I think are either really good, or doing a great job in terms of marketing, but in reality are not that great. I tried to choose some of the most well known, hopefully you will know them all.
I’ve been following Nasty Gal and Sophia Amoruso (founder of) for quite a while. This brand for me portraits a woman that is very sure of herself, she will go against the rules if she has to. You wouldn’t call her classy, but she can play elegant and she’s definitely smart. A Nasty Gal is a girl that likes pushing the boundaries, she doesn’t take a no for an answer. Because I follow both brand and founder so much, I see the brand as a huge reflection of Sophia’s personality. As the brand grew, It became a bit more generic and commercial, probably because so many brands started to copy their style. Today is not as easy to have an alternative style by wearing the brand, however you are still the coolest girl. Nasty Gal is highly addictive not only in terms of shopping but also just by following online for being so innovative and refreshing.
It took me a while to understand Urban Outfitters, and it didn’t help seeing so many people hating it. To be honest I used to go there just for the books and non-clothing items. I figured that depending on the store it can be too hipster and teen-like. There’s 2 UO in Oxford Street and the one in Oxford Circus, in my opinion, is far better than the one near Marble Arch. I started going to this one a couple of months ago and since then my opinion on UO has changed. You can get really cool stuff there, including designer clothing. If you like dressing sporty and street, this one is the place to go. It is known for being stupidly overpriced for its quality which I might agree with sometimes. High-street stores in UK tend to take advantage of the purchasing power and knowing that they can raise their value by having high prices, they do so. Another example is River Island which its quality is inferior to Zara yet their prices can go way higher.
This is a brand that I don’t need to say much about. I would easily compare Nike to Apple. They are innovative and they value design and marketing. They are always a few steps ahead. The fact that they care about your type of foot for example is fantastic. Today you can wear specific shoes for your type of foot (wether you're a pronator, neutral or supinator) and look cool at the same time. It’s great when you pay and get the real value, £150 for a pair of trainers that bring a extra coolness and with an orthopaedic touch is no doubt great. This is something every brand should look for, innovation, good design and good marketing. If the marketing is good the person feels good, a normal pair of trainers wouldn’t give you the same feeling. Even the queen would choose Nike.
That love-hate kind of moment. In one side you have modern, cool and trendy, on the other you have black culture and when you like one you usually don’t like the other. So I am not sure what are people portraying when they wear this brand. You feel cool, but if it’s the wrong side of adidas for you, not as much. Having two kinds of one thing is great for the brand since you get a bigger niche, but it can confuse the costumer, mostly the one who hasn’t purchased anything yet. That being said, they have beed doing pretty well recently with the Stan Smith that became a trend since Céline Creative Director Phoebe Philo unofficially endorsed the shoe, wearing them at her own runway show back in 2010.
I had to mention Starbucks since I am drinking some of their coffee in the pictures above. I used to love Startbucks a lot! Later I found that I liked it not because the coffee was good but for the meaning of it and maybe the experience. Once everyplace in UK serves coffee pretty much the same way, experience is gone. And once the meaning got attenuated all I got was a lousy coffee. If you love real coffee you probably don’t like Starbucks that much. Instant coffee from Nescafe is gold when compared. It’s good when brands make us feel cool, but at this point Starbucks drinker is a person that is too mainstream and a follower - follows what is said as cool but hasn’t stopped to really understand it. That being said, you can drink Starbucks because it is handy since there’s one in every corner, and in that case you’re not necessarily one of the above. Another thing to have in mind is the average quality of the coffee in your country. Since there is a Starbucks in most countries, if the place you live the standard is low, in that case Starbucks is super good there. But if you live in Italy or Portugal for instance, getting Starbucks instead of Illy, Lavazza, Delta or Nicola is not a smart move.
P.S. This opinion is based on a coffee lover that doesn’t look for extra toppings, milk or caramel. I usually drink a medium black coffee with no sugar.
I always had something Zara in my closet since I can remember. At the beginning it was trendy clothes and basics for a good quality/value. Since then, it grew and became one of the world’s most valuable brands (ranked by Forbes) due to its renowned ability to develop a new product and get it to stores within two weeks, while other retailers take six months. Today I see Zara as an easy place to shop, they have all the trends super fast and although the prices have been slightly raised, the products that got more expensive have better quality and fit better so you’re most likely to be happy with it. It’s a bit like H&M, you have the cheaper side, and you have the good quality one, and you as costumer have to make choices depending what you are looking for. The only problem I find is that when you shop for the better stuff in these stores, the meaning of the brand doesn’t meet the standard of the product you got. So when you wear it, inevitably you don’t give it the total value because the meaning of the brand is lower.
This is one of those cases I can say, I liked Michael Kors before it was mainstream. Since he decided to lower the prices so that every women could have a bit of luxury in their closet, I felt that everything I had from the brand lost value, and I am surely not the only one. Having the marketing related to Jet Set lifestyle is great, but when the reality is miles apart from the pictures, you get people confused. For me it has become a walk by the docks and coffee at a nice seafront, that’s why I love it. However going into the streets (at least in London) and seeing how mainstream it has become, I can easily relate this situation with the Burberry case when they had to rebrand because it became popular among the “chavs” (in America called rednecks). Being a truly Michael Kors lover that doesn’t look just at the handbags, and knows how good their dresses fit and how nice the shoes are, I wish they repositioned themselves in the market and recover the true meaning of wearing the brand.
This is my opinion, don’t forget to leave yours, it’s always nice to have different points of view. If you would like me to talk about any other brands, let me know which and I might repeat something similar in the future.