By Paul Pannone
The decline of formal weddings has taken the use of tuxedos to new lows in 2008 and 2009 causing the failure of several formal wear suppliers including the largest, After Six, leaving three suppliers: FLOW, Fabian Couture and Formal Wear International. But with the faster decline in consumer demand sources still say there is an overage of supply.
Recently tuxedos– an updated version– that depart from the traditional, are causing a stir, attracting attention of consumers. But the stir and what appeals to a segment of the consumer market leaves a traditional segment of the tuxedo business unhappy. It’s the segment that wants business to return to the glory days when a basic black tuxedo, a white pleated wing-collar shirt, bow tie and a vest allowed store owners to charge $150 dollars a rental.
The golden goose went on week after week, month after month, year after year for decades. An eWedNewz investigation shows some of the remaining companies are still renting tuxedo units they bought in the 1990′s– and even the 1980′s.
Names like After Six, Claiborne, Christian Dior, Raffinatti, Henry Grethal and the worst we’ve seen, Pierre Cardin? offer little or no value to the consumer. Outdated fit, incorrect lapel sizes besides unsanitary reasons give tuxedo rentals a bad reputation. By the way, Pierre Cardin tuxedos are from the 1980′s.
So what tuxedo brands are fresh, current and renting? fictitious names like Jean Yves are widely distributed, along with “B” labels like Perry Ellis. Most rent for about $125-150 dollars, depending on the area, and are perfectly fine. For about the same price names like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren are widely available only at better men’s formal wear specialists. But what if brands like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren no longer existed?
The 2012 Calvin Klein Sire is getting the greatest attention by consumers online.
Discussions with formal wear specialists say the most often “turned” brands in their stores are either Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein. In major metropolitan areas turn percentages of over 40% are reported, dominated by the brands that are easily identified by consumers.
eWedNewz has learned the brands are vital to major retailers like Men’s Wearhouse that dominate the rental market, holding 33% of all the tuxedos rented in the US. An ongoing investigation as to why the Men’s Wearhouse rental division continues to grow shows the proper leveraging of better branded products like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. Men’s Wearhouse capitalizes on their own marketing and advertising but adds the built-in brand awareness of the world-class names.
Beside the consumer brand recognition, superior fit and fabrics used in the manufacturing of the garments surpass the scratchy wool used in no-name and fictitious branded goods.
eWedNewz is watching the quiet boycott of the branded goods by operators could be coming to an end. Since 2003, many shied away from manufacturers that sold goods to Men’s Wearhouse but discovered they shot themselves in the foot, leaving the door wide open for Men’s Wearhouse and other competitors that embraced the brands.
In the eWNz investigation we’ve found the companies that carry old merchandise– Pierre Cardin?– have struggled to survive; most have disappeared. Those that are hanging on by a thread have stopped buying new goods or resist the demand of consumers and substitute inferior products.
Companies that caught on and included true brands like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren say they’re able to raise average ticket prices from 5-15% on each rental– far outpacing the additional cost of the garment.
What is your opinion? Please post it here or contact Paul@ewednewz.com or 516-312-0090.
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