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French Contemporary Brands arriving to Prague
Walking through the high-end shopping streets of Paris, Milan, London, and New York, alongside the well-established and familiar luxury names, you will see new brands that resemble luxury boutiques. Their quality is the same, but their goods sell for somewhat less than the next-door luxury. These are the bridge brands.
The definition of 'bridge-to-luxury' or 'accessible luxury' is a relatively new category, “The bridge brands seek to create a niche and an accessible luxury price point between mass & mid-market retail brands and high-end retail luxury brands such as Gucci, Prada, and Burberry.”
These bridge brands have been increasingly popular and successful in the past few years as the millennial generation of consumers seek luxury products at a more reasonable cost. Are they known in the Czech capital? To some degree!
Where will the 'Bridge-to-luxury' brands settle in Prague?
Typically, all around the world, these contemporary bridge brands are located among the luxury brands in prime High street locations. However, finding a location on Parizska street of the right size & rent is close to impossible.
Therefore, we had to look outside of the box and seek the right space with potential, that could become home to brands like The Kooples, Zadig & Voltaire, Sandro, Maje, and the other High Street brands of this segment of Fashion, off of the mainstream / mass-market locations.
What are the other options in the capital? A few years back, U Prasne brany street seemed like a potential location for contemporary brands, since U Prasne brany has been historically the very first High-end Street in Prague (Versace, Ermenegildo Zegna). Nevertheless, due to the Covid pandemics and the lack of direct brand expansion, the smart local retailers (Vermont, Murizari) have used the opportunity and have expanded their brands on this prestigious street.
More about these missing brands. What are these brands about?
“Many of these bridge brands are adopting the contemporary design,” explains Marjan. “Their clothing is for fashion lovers who like to stand out and make a statement. Brands that nail contemporary fashion often sit very close at the luxury price point. The designers are filled with creativity and know no boundaries.
“So, naturally, in all the major cities, it is not strange to see brands such as the iconic Isabel Marant, a French contemporary designer with the most ‘cool’, Zadig & Voltaire, another shining luxe brand or Sandro and Maje located next to Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Balenciaga, and other established luxury names,” says Marjan.
These brands may lack the heritage that the luxury ready-to-wear brands have, but there aren’t any major differences in terms of the store fit-out, a boutique location, as well as the quality of the goods.
The 'accessible luxury' is a relatively new category in fashion, only because many of these brands are very young per se. Most of the contemporary lux brands were founded in the nineties and at the beginning of the new millennium by great visionaries or young designers.
MSGM, from Milan, Started in 2008 by DJ-turned-designer Massimo Giorgetti
Sandro, from Paris Started by Moroccan-born Evelyne Chétrite and her husband Didier in the heart of the Marais in 1984.
Maje, from Paris, started in 1998. The name chosen by its founder, Judith Milgrom, is a combination of the initials of the first names of her loved ones.
The Kooples was founded in Paris in 2008 by three French brothers, Alexandre, Laurent, and Raphael Elicha
Zadig and Voltaire is a French ready-to-wear clothing brand that opened its first store in Paris in 1997.
IRO is a luxe brand founded in 2005 by two brothers: Arik and Laurent Bitton
N°21 was founded in Milan in 2010 by its designer Alessandro dell'Acqua.
The very first brand of this segment of French affordable luxury to open in Prague was American Vintage choosing a location in Slovansky Dum.
American Vintage, which is ironically the creation of Parisian designer Mickael Azoulay, is renowned for its luxurious basics and wardrobe staples. Since its launching, the label has found its way into the wardrobes of the world’s savviest fashion followers by offering the ultimate „off-duty cool“, meaning the pieces are as cool on the street as they are at the runway shows.
The brand, founded by Azoulay in 2005, became synonymous with everyday luxury clothing.
Prague High Street is considered a mature market for Fashion Brands, The partner for Sando in the region has confirmed their soon arrival to Prague and hopefully, the other brands of this segment of affordable Luxury will soon follow.
Head | Director of Retail agency
Colliers Czech Republic