The perception of outlet can be seen as « cheap », «unorganized clothing racks », or lack of assistance from the staff, but not at Value Retail group’s luxury outlets which as mentioned in a previous article about La Roca Village owns a collection of nine luxury outlets. Indeed, the group has villages all over Europe such as the well-known La Vallée Village in Paris, Bicester Village in London or Fizenza Village in Milan and Bologna.
Everything is set to provide a luxury experience and to make the client feel privileged with premium services (valet, chauffeur, lounge, buses) and various points of restoration.
Gucci, Prada, Zegna, Hugo Boss you name it! They are all accessible there, and even with the feminization of luxury, both genders are served.
The typical customers are tourists from Europe, but mainly from the Middle East, Russia and of course China.
All these emerging countries have in common their high spending power, they usually nourish the “logo cult” and an ostentatious spending behaviour, they often come to the Villages directly from the airport with special buses and that is why the Villages provide a service to keep their luggage while the guests go shopping.
With the democratization of luxury, individualism, and the rising demand of self-indulgence (generation « treat yourself »), luxury brands have started to create accessible products for the mass market such as premium products or perfume lines, but this is not enough, people want more, they want to be able to wear the clothes they see on the runway shows and on their favorite stars/influencers.
According to the philosopher Gilles Lipovetzky, hyper consumption leads to a permanent frustration, the more we buy the more we want to buy and so on.
This trend was booming in the 90s with the appearance of logos mostly seen in the hip pop culture and music industry, when rappers wanted to show off their success (gold chains, Adidas, Versace), fashion icons (McQueen, Alaïa) and even the concept of « top models / the new muses » used by notorious designers to promote their clothes (Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista or Claudia Schiffer).
If Michelle Obama or Kate Middleton wears a dress today, be sure that by tomorrow those dresses would be out of stock. This is how it works nowadays, we want what we see, we want it fast and we want to be entitled to luxury.
It is the Uberisation of our society, we make our bucket list from Instagram and Pinterest: “I want these shoes from Zanotti and that bag from Chanel”
Being labelled a narcissist or ego-centrist don’t have a pejorative connotation anymore, our social medias accounts are our personal brands. To exist in our modern society, it is almost a duty to be so, the one who doesn’t have a social media account is seen as weird and doesn’t count because he can’t follow up with the trends.
People usually spend or splurge their money in luxury goods in order to gain prestige and social recognition from their peers and where else other than social media to show it off?
Being present in the digital world even for the brands is a must because now we are hybrid consumers, we check online before going to the shops, vice versa or do both.
With hyper consumption comes « hyper waste ».
The solution is to give the stocks a second life in luxury outlets were everything is set to make them desirable and a little bit more affordable.
Fashion is a statement and we don’t wear clothes only to cover and protect our bodies anymore, we dress up to show our status. That is what the people going to a luxury outlet are seeking, it is an attempt to social elevation screaming « I am entitled to wear designer clothes » Plus, once they buy it, no one can guess if they got it from an outlet and I am not sure 100% of them would admit it.
In the Maslow’s pyramid of need it would be the level of self actualization and esteem. They want to access and be part of a world that maybe isn’t theirs, by the way they dress, the brands they possess, to taste a little bit of dream.
Everyone got their reasons to go there: from fashionistas on budget to tourists on a stopover, buying to seek social recognition, status and to show society that they are successful enough to own expensive brands and wear designer clothes, for gifts or just to indulge themselves and make them feel closer to the brand they covet the most at an affordable price.
It is clear that the development and prosperity of luxury outlets will sustain as esteem and prestige needs are human characteristics.