27 Mar 6 Designers at the Vanguard of Luxury Footwear
By Lisa Wang
26 March, 2013
LONDON, United Kingdom — In the economic fallout of the past five years, consumer demand for luxury items has shifted further away from apparel towards accessories. A study by consulting firm Bain & Company points to the fact that in 2012, for the first time, leather goods and shoes have become the largest single piece of the luxury market, comprising 27 percent of total sales. The footwear market alone is expected to have grown by 13 percent over 2012. That’s €12 billion worth of shoes.
Retailers are taking note. Last year, Barneys New York unveiled a new 22,000-square-foot space dedicated to shoes on the fifth floor of the company’s Madison Avenue flagship. “Both established and emerging shoe designers are gaining positive traction” with customers, said Tomoko Ogura, senior fashion director at Barneys. Meanwhile, Bergdorf Goodman recently announced plans to increase the size of its women’s shoe salon, the store’s most frequented destination, by 20 percent.
For consumers, whose wallets have been squeezed by today’s post-recessionary economic climate, shoes also offer more bang for the buck, as they are less affected by seasonal trends, enabling consumers to get more repeat use out of these items than, say, a dress. They can also be a “gateway” purchase for younger, aspirational shoppers, who may find it easier to plunk down their savings on a pair of shoes they can wear with a multitude of different outfits.