The launch of Oscar de la Renta bridal for January retailing signifies a key strategy for ready-to-wear firms looking to diversify their brand and grow their business in stagnant times.

It also shows that the mature craft of made-to-order clothes is alive in the bridal market, as the gown is one of the most important parts of a wedding for many brides-to-be. According to the Condé Nast Bridal Group, which tracks bridal sales through its marketing division, the wedding dress generates $1.4 billion annually. The bridal market as a whole — which includes mother-of-the-bride, bridal accessories, bridesmaids dresses and formalwear for men — totals approximately $5 billion.

From the consumer perspective, while most women don’t spend a lot of cash on their everyday clothes, many will splurge for a fantasy gown. Since a wedding is considered a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, the gown often takes top priority in the wedding budget.

From the designer perspective, the will from consumers to spend more on a gown allows them to use better fabrics, elaborate trims and couture-quality construction.

Given the potential of wholesale and retail operations and extensions such as bridal accessories, the bridal business can be a lucrative endeavor.

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