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.
This story first appeared in the December 31, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
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.