Consumers are taking a mix-and-match approach to fashion, gleefully mixing luxury products with fast fashion pieces and niche brands to create their own unique style. How does it impact the retail industry?

The more the merrier

Consumers are exposed to a wide range of brands and products, and as a result they no longer buy wholly from a few brands – their tastes are increasingly eclectic. However much a shopper loves a luxury brand, if another brand does basics, sneakers or denim better, they’re more likely to go to a specialist brand than the luxury version of that product.

Research by BCG finds that 55% of millennials mix and match luxury products with mid-range and fast fashion brands, trading down on a wide range of products such as handbags, sneakers and T-shirts. The trend is being driven by individualist younger consumers who want to show their style savvy by curating their own outfits, rather than dressing top-to-toe in clothing by one brand or designer.

As well as designer and luxury brands, they’re looking for under-the-radar brands, vintage brands and fast fashion finds to give their style a new edge. Celebrities, social media influencers and street style are encouraging this carefree and experimental attitude, from London Fashion Week style that mixes high and low brands, to high-profile celebrities such as Cardi B and Gigi Hadid proudly mixing designer pieces with fast fashion and sportswear. Even the new Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, attracts headlines for regularly mixing affordable brands with couture pieces.

55% of millennials mix and match luxury products with mid-range and fast fashion brands

Mix-and-match competitors?

Dover Street Market’s global stores have made a mix-and-match approach to retail part of their appeal, combining niche brands and exclusive designer pieces with T-shirt brands and sportswear.

At the rejuvenated menswear department in London’s Selfridges, designer labels sit alongside mid-range and streetwear brands, reflecting the way that people shop now. Meanwhile, the store hosted a pop-up with sports brand Champion in its women’s Designer Studio area.

EY Parthenon’s recent report on the luxury market projects that entry-level (or premium) brands will drive growth in the luxury industry through to 2020, as a result of consumers’ mix-and-match attitudes, especially among Millennials and young consumers who are happy to wear a Prada bag with Nike trainers. This shift could benefit brands such as Diesel, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, and Calvin Klein, as well as the emerging premium brands such as Staud.

The result of this shift is that the competitors for a luxury brand may not be from their own sector – they could be sportwear brands, fashion start-ups, mid-range retailers or fast fashion brands.