Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Evolution of Brands

I walked into Express on Monday, as I often do when I'm out wasting time. There was a day that I wanted everything in the store. These days, I'm lucky if I purchase once over a span of five visits. As I walked to the back of the store, I chuckled when I saw their "lingerie" section. Express has returned to panties and bras, a division that was discontinued long ago.

I suppose the reason this evolution is so comical to me is because I worked at Express for three years during college and one year post. I actually concurrently worked a 40 hour full-time job during the week and at Express on the weekends to keep my discount. (Fortunately, I figured out quickly that I could afford the clothes on a salary, without the discount.)

The first tag I remember at Express was "Express Worldbrand." I was young and thus, don't recall what the purpose was, but I suppose it was supposed to be some sort of tilt towards globalization. Soon after, Express dropped "Worldbrand" and was simply Express. This is the timeframe in which I loved their clothes and purchased often. The company discontinued their lingerie line as, at the time, the parent company, who was Limited Brands, owned Victoria's Secret. Why compete, right? Next Express went high-end with "Express Design Studio", likely to compete with Banana Republic instead of Gap. EDS started as a portion of the store, mostly suit clothes, but I think as time has gone on, most, if not all, tags carry "Express Design Studio."

This brings me to today. Express was spun-off to a PE firm about two years ago. It seems their investing in lingerie, though it looks as if it is made for 15 year olds. Most of their clothes these days are bright, but I wouldn't say beautiful. I contemplate if I've gotten "too old" or if the company has truly changed over the years. Either way, they seem to have come full circle and I find myself at Banana, BCBG (outlet) and various other stores for my latest trends.


Julie said...

It's funny how brands change and our tastes change over time. I used to love Old Navy, but now only buy pajamas and workout clothes from there.

I also remember the horror I felt when I walked past my beloved MAC cosmetics and it was somehow co-branded (if that's a word) with Hello Kitty. I always thought MAC was positioned as a higher end brand, with a higher price point than what the typical Hello Kitty-oriented consumer can afford.

I've never heard of Express... must be only in the US?

paragon2pieces said...

this is everything i've been thinking about express since it was spun off. i'm right there with ya.