Givenchy has a $700 shirt in stock. Tom Ford has $3200 shoes on display. Zilli has a suit for $10,200 off the rack. How many do they actually create? It’s not a matter of do they have the customer for these types of price points, they certainly do, but how many pieces could actually be produced in these categories?
You may be surprised at this answer. Givenchy and many other high-end brands actually make nothing. They make not a single piece of clothing or a single pair of shoes and not even the shirt for $700. There is a difference between certain brands that are more marketing companies with great designers who pioneered their look many years ago such as, YSL or Chanel and brands that are the actual working factory.
Since my expertise is in the men’s brands I will focus there. There are only so many good factories around the world, mostly in Italy when it comes to high end, luxury clothing, leather and shoes. The shirt for $700 could be made in a factory in Italy that is producing many different high end brands for a multitude of companies. This factory could also be selling under their own factory label of a family name. Some of these factories could be Zegna, Frey, or Oriali. They all produce shirts under their own factory names, but they produce for other brands as well.
The high end companies are notorious for outsourcing product in order to expand the brand categories. The only way they can put their label on as many items as possible when the brand is hot is to outsource. Think about all the sunglasses and watches that say Tom Ford or Coach or Ralph Lauren. Does Ralph own a watch factory in Switzerland? Does Tom own a sunglasses factory in Italy? No they don’t. They choose a factory that makes a quality product where they can submit their designs, choose materials and have a collection produced for them.
This is how it works and there aren’t too many companies doing everything in house. Only a handful create and manufacture most of their native products.