Collection: THE DIFFUSION LINE

Diffusion lines often have a bad rep – some of them actually do so understandably, others less so. Let’s take a closer look at the idea of the diffusion line.

Especially in the early aughts but basically, whenever materialism was at a height, flashy designs and these lines big logos were uber popular. But that was not the beginning of secondary lines as we know them today. They first peaked in the 70s and then rose in popularity again in the 90s. Offering a secondary line used to be great to have an additional creative outlet, to reach another market, to target a new or different customer group. It could have a different style or look similar to the main lines designs but it was great to bolster the brands’ bottom line. 

Initially, diffusion lines initially started in Haute Couture. The brands wanted to become more profitable, therefore created perfumes and licensed small accessories as for example sunglasses to later expand into clothing. As a concrete example: YSLs ready-to-wear line, YSL Rive Gauche, initially is to be considered a diffusion line to the Couture business. These clothes were simpler versions of the runway designs to offer them to more fashionable women – and back then the fashion world was shocked by it.

Today the most successful secondary lines have a different style from their main lines – for a simple reason: they have an identity, give something authentic to the clients. So to speak Miu Miu was initially a younger second creative outlet for Prada and therefore could be considered one. The difference is: Miu Miu is not associated with Prada at all, therefore it is its own brand and not in fact a diffusion line. The failed ones on the other hand often create the feeling of being a washed-down version of the main line and leave a bitter aftertaste of just being a moneymaker with the customers. To add insult to injury many customers thought of these brands as secondary labels and lesser than.

Nonetheless, many of them faltered over the last decade, some were shuttered as they diluted the image of the main line, while others cannibalized to many customers off the main line. Many more were given up due to fast fashion – customers didn’t feel the urge anymore to purchase simplified designs from secondary lines when Zara or H&M offered copies of the main lines’ runway pieces.

So how to avoid cheap copies of intricate designs? Shop for vintage secondary line. They are of higher quality and haven’t only been created for money-making purposes. Look at the YSL lines and their couture counterparts to see the strong references and resemblances.

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