Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Is Rock & Republic In Hot Water?

The buzz about Sundance this past week has been about the state of some popular contemporary denim brands. I'm not even remotely a fan of True Religion, one of the sponsors of a swag suite at the festival, but the brand has generally been successfully in selling their core product - upscale denim with new, on-trend variations every six months or so. The gossip around Sundance has been focused on how Rock & Republic has been faring. While their core product is also upscale, on-trend denim, they have been trying to expand into areas with limited success that has allegedly cut dramatically into their cash flow. With handbag prices reaching $950 and shoes reaching $395, and sunglasses like those pictured above for $350, Rock & Republic is pricing the brand much higher than others in the same contemporary market, including L.A.M.B. and Botkier, among others. The problem is that the brand expanded into apparel and accessories far too quickly. Instead of capitalizing on a growing brand cachet, Rock & Republic instead found themselves with numerous overpriced products with very little consumer awareness. Just as they were experimenting with several new back pocket logos, they also launched their handbag and footwear line. The new logos varied from a popular, lightning-like, angular variation of their classic double-Rs, to a more confusing tri-colored, triple-stitched version of the logo they introduced on their accessories. Too many variations of the brand's logo can prove confusing for the customer, working against the rather unsubtle, nearly garish effect of their bestselling, original double-Rs. While this gossip may just have been propagated especially strongly because of True Religion's dominance at Sundance, Rock & Republic's clearly uncontrolled brand expansion is certainly something to watch out for.

3 comments:

Cameron Newland said...

Good call on R&R's overexpansion...it should be a textbook example of how NOT to branch off of a successful denim line.

What should R&R have done, though? Focused on the premium denim market, and slowly experimented with accessories by seeing if they could float superior product outside their proven niche?

It's a tough road, but I wonder who will be the first jeans designer in the post-Seven world to successfully branch out into a full -fledged design house.

Fashion said...

I agree with your thoughts about Rock and Republics expansions... I believe they need to focus on their core products and build slowly... they are trying to be too much... they do not have the experience and expertise to handle the expansion pace and are damaging the brands presence with their existing clients by offering products that do not meet their comparable standards in denim or deliverables.

On a positive note I have seen an increase in their denim products at retail level and on consumers.

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