Marc Jacobs is the Latest to Finally Relent to the Internet

The Marc Jacobs fashion label is worth an estimated $5 million, but up to this point the brand had no e-commerce store of its own. The top American fashion designer’s lack of online retail until now is actually more interesting than the recent news that will begin selling clothes this September. In any other industry, just now breaking into e-commerce would be totally unheard of, ironic, inexcusable and perplexing.

Come September, consumers can purchase directly from

Reluctance to embrace technology and the Internet, however, has been the norm for luxury fashion brands. Most labels feared department stores would be angry if designers and their wealthy customers dealt directly with one another. A large number of brands relied on department store sites and others like Net-a-Porter to sell their goods online, but the state of the economy has forced department stores to cut steep prices, angering luxury companies that were already worrying about their relevance into the future and ability to compete with knock-off retailers. {The New York Times}

“I was so annoyed last year that I wished no one had our merchandise,” President and Vice Chairman of Mar Jacobs Robert Duffy told the New York Times. “All the department stores were panicked, and they were marking things down.”

Duffy also suggested that the online store for Marc Jacobs may offer exclusive merchandise to attract customers. {Elle}

Word on the street is Jimmy Choo, Hugo Boss, Vince, Lancôme, St. John, Theory, Kiehl’s, Lilly Pulitzer, Donna Karan and La Perla will soon or have already launched e-commerce stores on their own Web sites. It seems high fashion is finally realizing profits on clothes sold directly to consumers will be much higher with no middleman taking a cut or dictating prices.

High fashion has everything to gain by taking their products to their own Web pages, but the consumer may end up being the loser in this equation if luxury retailers pull their merchandise from department stores altogether and spike their prices. That may be unlikely to happen immediately, since the economic downturn has caused many aspirational customers to reduce spending on designer clothing, but when the recession truly fades and people begin spending more, high fashion prices might soar above skyscrapers.

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