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It’s All About the Accessories

It’s All About the Accessories

Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!  Any stylist or anyone with the least bit of fashion sense knows, “It’s all about the accessories.”  Lately, partly due to the state of the economy, every brand and designer – new or established – is aware of the truth in that statement.

According to The New York Times, in order to profit, you better get into the accessories business.  It’s been officially noted by Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst at NPD Group: “The accessories business is healthier than the apparel business.”

For example, at Michael Kors, accessories and related merchandise accounted for about 75 percent of total revenue in 2012 according to a spokeswoman for the company.  This fact isn’t surprising as almost everyone is sporting a Michael Kors watch from their personal collection of designer wrist candy.

It’s not just watches.  Footwear, handbags, jewelry, and basically any type of non-apparel adornment is keeping the fashion industry afloat and brands would be insane not to give consumers what they want – accessories.

The label lovers still crave Chanel, Fendi, Burberry, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Diane von Furstenberg (the list goes on), but she’s also become much more savvy with her paycheck.  Rather than purchase a top or bottom that may be worn a few times, why not invest in a timeless Chloé or Chanel handbag and put that cost-per-wear to work?

Macy's Footwear Department Rendering - Photo Courtesy of Macy's via WWD

To feed the insatiable footwear frenzy, department stores have answered the call with new and improved, expanded footwear departments.  Just last month, Barney’s launched a shoe floor that offered styles for both men and women.  A smart move as women aren’t the only ones looking to freshen up their accessory game.  This month, Saks Fifth Avenue is focused on the growing appeal of contemporary footwear designers such as Brian Atwood and Nicholas Kirkwood whose designs are new editions to the store’s popular department.

Lord & Taylor answers the footwear expansions of its department store rivals by redesigning and devoting its second level to…what else?  Shoes!  The one and only Bergdorf Goodman only needed to give their famous shoe salon a little TLC.  The space was reorganized by lifestyle and refreshed with the infusion of some new footwear designer labels.

And what of the Macy’s giant that owns the tourist traffic of Herald Square?  The mother of department stores has put roughly $400 million into overhauling the 2.2 million-square-foot flagship with 39,000 of those square feet dedicated to women’s shoes.  According to WWD, that makes for a total of about 280,000 pairs of shoes, all in one place, all for you.

It’s always been about attainable luxury, a concept Tory Burch is more than familiar with as she’s been hip to this fact since her successful label hit stores.  As more designer labels follow suit, it may be safe to say the accessory category is bringing in the money these days.

It’s all about the accessories.  Noted.