Rock & Republic doing too much, too fast?

From the Fashion Investor blog, we spotted this today. Do you think this is true or hearsay? And are denim brands like Rock & Republic better off sticking to denim, what they know, instead of trying to expand too quickly? It’s funny that they mention True Religion, because they have also been venturing into handbags, swimwear, etc. recently themselves…

The buzz about Sundance this past week has been about the state of some popular contemporary denim brands. I’m not even remotely a fan of True Religion, one of the sponsors of a swag suite at the festival, but the brand has generally been successfully in selling their core product – upscale denim with new, on-trend variations every six months or so. The gossip around Sundance has been focused on how Rock & Republic has been faring. While their core product is also upscale, on-trend denim, they have been trying to expand into areas with limited success that has allegedly cut dramatically into their cash flow. With handbag prices reaching $950 and shoes reaching $395, and sunglasses like those pictured above for $350, Rock & Republic is pricing the brand much higher than others in the same contemporary market, including L.A.M.B. and Botkier, among others.

The problem is that the brand expanded into apparel and accessories far too quickly. Instead of capitalizing on a growing brand cachet, Rock & Republic instead found themselves with numerous overpriced products with very little consumer awareness. Just as they were experimenting with several new back pocket logos, they also launched their handbag and footwear line. The new logos varied from a popular, lightning-like, angular variation of their classic double-Rs, to a more confusing tri-colored, triple-stitched version of the logo they introduced on their accessories. Too many variations of the brand’s logo can prove confusing for the customer, working against the rather unsubtle, nearly garish effect of their bestselling, original double-Rs. While this gossip may just have been propagated especially strongly because of True Religion’s dominance at Sundance, Rock & Republic’s clearly uncontrolled brand expansion is certainly something to watch out for.

We have to agree somewhat that the bags and accessories are overpriced compared to similar brands. The handbag pictured above is $825. For that much, one could also get a really nice classic Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Chanel handbag. We’d take classic over trendy any day. Maybe if the bag was priced closer to $250-400, they’d see higher sales. What do you think?

4 Comments

  1. focus is important. i was speaking to a fashion guy the other day who was talking bout how TR wasn’t as focused as he would like them to be.

  2. i agree with the article…if i’m dropping that much on a bag, it’s going to be something classic like louis vuitton, dior, gucci, chanel, etc. even maybe a true handbag line, such as rebecca minkoff, botkier or kooba. juicy couture’s higher priced bags didn’t fare well (the $500 leather styles), yet their cheaper terry and velour ones did, if you’re going to buy a bag for nothing other than a clothing brand logo, you don’t really want to pay that much, no matter the fabric.