Michael Kors was a major success before Project Runway pushed his name into the brand stratosphere. But what goes up must come down, writes Robin Lewis, the well-regarded fashion business consultant and professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Writing on his widely read blog, The Robin Report, Lewis is convinced that Michael Kors is overextended. Kors is absolutely everywhere these days–wholesale, retail, high-end shops and TJ Maxx–and Lewis, who has followed the industry for years, thinks being everywhere is the “kiss of death for trendy fashion brands.”
Lewis compares Kors to Tommy Hilfiger in the late 90s, when Hilfiger indiscriminately targeted every consumer under the sun–from hip-hop moguls to soccer moms, diluting the brand’s meaning and cachet. The current Michael Kors “ubiquity” means it can’t remain cool–or hot, take your pick–among consumers who set the trends, the so-called influencers. And in fashion, if you’re not cool or hot, you’re on the way out. Kors, of course, may laugh all the way to the bank–the bigger and more ungainly his brand gets, the richer he probably becomes. But the overall value proposition starts to sink for the stockholders. And it can be hard to revive–just ask Pierre Cardin.