It was reported in many publications, Dolce & Gabbana is closing its diffusion line D&G. All D&G brand licenses will either be dismissed or absorbed by the main brand.
Maybe that puts an end to diffusion lines?
As a reminder, most diffusion lines were started in the late 80s to early 90s. Designers were aiming at the next lower price level, called bridge. Nevermind that the category bridge was an industry mind game already.
Donna Karan launched DKNY, Calvin Klein launched cK, Escada bought Laurel and the Apriori and over the years Ralph Lauren launched more sub-labels then a normal shopper can memorize.
Of course, no one had the ad money to explain the differences to the consumer. Diffusion lines were supposed to sell by itself.
And what did the consumer think? Calvin Klein and cK? Same thing.
And how about Ralph Lauren, Polo Ralph Lauren, Chaps by Ralph Lauren, Rugby by Ralph Lauren, RL, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, Giorgio Armani, Armani, A|X Armani Exchange, Emporio Armani, are you still with me?
And with a growing number of licenses, the pricing got even more confusing. Watches from cK at US$100 and from Calvin Klein at US$600? Without any visible difference? Guess how well the expensive ones sold.
At one point, when DKNY had eaten almost all of the Donna Karan business, they even launched D, an attempt to cut prices lower yet.
Maybe we will get back to clearly positioned brands. It leads to higher brand value.