VALENTINO VS RED VALENTINO- Diffusion Lines and Massification…Is it Worth It?

8 Apr

Valentino blouse

Valentino blouse $3690

We have all heard of the fashion house Valentino. Founded by Valentino Garavani in 1960, this brand has become a household name even among those who do not love luxury. You just know the brand… the beautiful dresses, the bags and the shoes! The freaking rock studs!

You may or may NOT have heard of RED Valentino. If you have, you may have found yourself a bit confused. Is it a different brand? A different Valentino? Is it a special heart disease awareness collection? (that was what I first thought when I learnt of it)

It is none of those things. It is a sister line to Valentino. That means it is made by the same company that makes your rock stud pumps, flats and sliders. However, you won’t find the exact designs that you do from House of Valentino and you won’t pay as much for the items. This is called a diffusion line or brand and it achieves a process called Massification.

Let’s get some definitions out of the way:

Diffusion Line: A diffusion line is a secondary line of merchandise created by a high-end fashion house or designer that retails at a lower price. These ranges are separate from a fashion house’s “signature line” that typically retails at much higher prices.”

Massification: Massification is a strategy that some luxury companies use to attain growth in the sales of product. Some luxury brands have taken and used the concept of massification to allow their brands to grow to accommodate a broader market. As a method of implementing massification, companies have created diffusion lines.

Valentino is hardly the only fashion house to do this. Other examples include but are not limited to:

Armani Exchange by Armani

DKNY by Donna Karan

Hugo by Boss

Marc by Marc Jacobs

Simply Vera by Vera Wang

Victoria by Victoria Beckham

So what does this all mean?

What it means for the fashion houses is a way to increase profits. Remember, fashion houses are businesses and the goal of all businesses is to make profits. By creating a line that is more affordable and present in many department stores and outlet malls it becomes far more accessible to the masses. People who may never have heard of a particular designer because they do not follow luxury fashion may suddenly own multiple pieces due to the exposure.

This method also allows the fashion house to maintain its exclusivity surrounding its principle line. That means they keep their high-end clients and gain more mid-level clientele.

What diffusion lines and massification mean for the consumer is a chance to experience a fashion house at a lower cost. It can be a way for someone to dip their toes in before diving head first into a luxury brand. It is a way for people who enjoy good quality and design but not very high prices to get what they are looking for.

What this means for products and the industry is controversial. There are some people who are staunchly opposed to “the masses” being included in luxury fashion as it takes away some of the ever-important exclusivity that the high prices confer. Some fear that when a fashion house begins to dabble in lower quality items, that it may transcend all their lines thus bringing down the overall quality of that fashion house. Others believe it is potentially detrimental to many of these fashion houses as there are so many mid-level designer brands competing with the same (or better) quality and similar (or lower) prices.

Now diffusion lines are a specific thing. High end brands making a more affordable line. However, there are other methods of massification in existence some of which people believe to be better options.

Outlet Lines: I have a previous post discussing outlets, however some companies, often contemporary brands which already charge mid-level prices create even more affordable and slightly lower quality items to be sold in outlets.

Collaboration Lines: This is when a fashion house or designer produces a collection of number of collections to be sold in more affordable stores such as Target or Walmart. Again, these items tend to be less elaborate with their designs and lower quality.

Brand Extension: A high end fashion house will create a new product, a cheaper one under the same name. For example, a fashion house that only sold haute couture clothing may start an accessories line or a perfume line. This allows more people to become familiar with and purchase from the brand.

So, is it worth it to shop a diffusion line?

Let’s go through some points

A diffusion line is a sister line to a higher end one often more affordable but lower in quality.

Being lower in quality does not equate to poor quality.

Many diffusion lines though less expensive are still high priced.

There are many competing brands with similar or better quality items for similar or lower prices to diffusion lines.

There are other methods companies can use to achieve massification or to reach more average consumers.

Here are my thoughts. Do not simply buy an item because of the name. This is easier said than done. When deciding to make a purchase of any cost but particularly more expensive ones, consider the quality of the item, the design and the cost. Let those factors rather than the brand determine whether you should make the purchase.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!

RED Valentino shirt

RED Valentino blouse $478

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