5 Proven Ideas That Will Help You Make Money With Couture Fashion

Hello Fashion Designers, 

Haute Couture fashion week is about to start end of this week. For a few days, magnificent Couture gowns are going to waltz into our lives and enchant our eyes again. Yes, Couture is magical and mesmerizing. 

Before we start, let’s clarify one thing though: don’t mix Haute Couture with Couture. Haute Couture is a protected label granted by a French authority. I did a detailed article on that topic, in which you can find all the details about the Haute Couture label. Bottom line is learn the Haute Couture definition and don’t call yourself a Haute Couture brand unless you were officially appointed. If you just want to designate the fact that you design superb gowns, the term Couture will probably be more suitable for you. 

Now that it’s out of the way comes the question all Couture designers ask me: how can I make money with Couture? 

As you have probably experienced, making money with couture can be tricky. The gowns may look fabulous but your customers might find them a little pricey. 

So how can you make a living with couture? How can you attract the kind of people who love your design and are able to buy your design? 

1 – Know exactly who you are as a designer

If you are a Fashion FXF regular, you know by now that you absolutely need to present a strong brand identity. 

Especially if you sell couture design. 

There should be a strong concept firstly behind your fashion brand and secondly behind each collection you present.

Nothing looks less unprofessional and messy than a brand with random looks that do not fit in a perceptible style. Create a harmony within your brand. Your brand should tell a story.

People love being told beautiful stories and your design should reflect that.  

Make it coherent and powerful!

2 – Live by the luxury code

Let’s be clear about this: you’re designing couture dresses. Therefore all your marketing efforts should upgraded accordingly. 

Couture belongs to the luxury segment. So everything you do for your Couture brand should be aligned to convey that feeling: your finishing, your packaging, your models, your photos, your visuals, your online shop, the tone and content you use on social media, your store if you have one, the fashion events you participate in, the district where you show the brand, the magazines you appear in, the partnerships you seal.

Should any of this elements listed not be upscale, you have to find a way to make the Couture labeling still plausible.

For example one of my clients sold couture dresses in her boutique in  a very poor district of Paris. She made it plausible because she recycled blue overalls out of which she made gorgeous evening dresses. She used what made her district famous (the workers’ district) to transform it into eye catching dresses.

3 – Use couture as a display for a more accessible line

Consider your Couture Line as your investment to sell a more affordable clothing line. 

You won’t necessarily live of your Couture line. However it can be a very effective way to make publicity and attract customers for your affordable fashion line. 

So just make a capsule collection with your Couture line. 

Then use the inspiration of your couture Line to develop the affordable line where you can make more quantities. 

Of course, as said in #1, the whole should look coherent.

4 – Reach higher volumes with an accessory line

To leverage the power of your Couture Line, you can develop an accessory line as well.

Just think: people who won’t be able to buy your line (either the Couture one or the affordable one) will be at least be able to buy themselves a piece of the dream you offer.

It can be scarves, bags, glasses. Whichever you think can complement your look.

What matters is that it keeps conveying the same identity as your Couture line. Otherwise it will be very difficult to use your Couture line as a way to advertize for the rest of your brand.

5 – Partner with other brands

The perks of selling luxury Couture are the upscale image you can give yourself – as long as you follow the luxury code. 

Maybe you can use co-branding as a way to reach a new clientele. It can be with a brand in another industry. If for example an automotive or a champagne company shows some interest in doing an event together, you can expose your brand to new potential customers.

Again when you do this, make sure to stay in line with your customer target. Don’t reach out to brands that do not have a similar audience. For such a partnership to convert properly, you’ll need to stay loyal to the aesthetics and lifestyle of your brand. 

As mentioned before: the more coherent the better. 

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MARKETING: Criteria To Check Before Calling Yourself A Haute Couture Brand

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Hi guys,

today we are going to address a rather sensitive area. Nothing makes me loose interest faster in a brand than when I read its description self-labelling itself as a Haute Couture brand.
I know how tricky it is to find your own brand segment. But you should be careful with the Haute Couture label and here’s why.
1. Haute Couture is a highly protected and strictly regulated label
The Haute Couture label is protected by law. The label is regulated by the chambre syndicale de la haute couture. Each year, it determines which fashion houses are eligible to be true haute couture houses. Their rules state that only those companies mentioned on the list drawn up each year by a commission domiciled at the Ministry for Industry are entitled to avail themselves of the label haute couture.
Then they invite guests to showcase their designs. Those are designated as Couture houses.

So if you have not been officially granted the Haute Couture label for the ongoing year, you cannot use the Haute Couture to label your designs.
2. In practice, several criteria and signs enable to recognize a Haute Couture label
Naturally, Haute Couture is not just an empty label. There are actual features like uniqueness, rarity, exclusive quality just to name a few.
In her book called “Couture Sewing Techniques”, Claire B. Shaeffer listed a few signs that differentiate Haute Couture from for example high-end ready-to-wear.


Photo credit: shakko – Eigenes WerkCC BY-SA 3.0


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