BY ISHITA KODE
Global Financials for Society’s Elite Couture
You’ve heard of Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès. How about Sabyasachi, Laduma MaXhosa, and Shanghai Tang? When thinking about luxury brands, we are conditioned to think of Euro-centric brands first, which provides a limited look into the scope of global luxury. Each time you view a culture within a country, it is likely that the fashion of that area features an industry that highlights luxury and exclusivity through price and quality.
Starting with South Asia, let's look at a long established designer brand Sabyasachi. Sabyasachi Mukhergee, an Indian fashion and jewelry designer from Kolkata, India, began the label of Sabyasachi in 1999. Simplistic Sabyasachi lehengas with minimal work generally start at a price of approximately 4 Lakhs (approximately $5,300 USD). Intricate lehengas, often designed for grand weddings, detailed with threading and heavy blouse work, are priced around 15 Lakhs (approximately $19,900 USD). With a high price point, Sabyasachi has established itself as an exclusive line, providing wedding couture for society's elite. As of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, Sabyasachi experienced a 475.04% increase in EBITDA and a 22.48% increase in net worth, providing a 18.35% ROE (return on equity). Together, these financials show the economic growth of Sabyasachi over the past couple of years as the designer expands into European and American markets targeting the South Asian immigrant population.
Let's explore the luxury impact found within South Africa. Laduma MaXhosa is “South Africa’s fashion poster boy… causing a stir for a while now, both here and abroad” (Neumayer-Howes). MaXhosa has developed a popular knitwear brand, MaXhosa by Laduma, which has gained a global following by drawing inspiration from the bold and bright culture of South Africa. Notably, “several cast members of “Black Panther”... wore MaXhosa’s designs to the world premiere of the smash hit movie” (Neumayer-Howes). Together, South African designers, including Laduma, contributed R1 Billion (approximately $69 Million USD) to the GDP of South Africa in 2019. With an “evolving local middle-class market”, designers contribute to approximately R180 Billion (approximately $12.3 Billion USD) worth of growth opportunities in the region (Jadezweni).
As we venture into East Asia, the global Chinese luxury brand Shanghai Tang has been breaking boundaries for the last three decades. Established by Hong Kong businessman David Tang in 1994, Shanghai Tang produces garments featuring the “highest quality of materials in the production but also [distinct] Chinese cutting, styling and blending with Chinese attitude in it” (GMA). With its growing global presence, Shanghai Tang currently has an estimated annual revenue of $30.8 M USD per year, generating approximately $228,000 USD in revenue per employee. The Chinese luxury fashion industry is “propelled by a cohort of 1.5 million consumers who each spend more than 40,000 yuan ($6,255) per year on fashion-related luxury products” (Hall). In addition, 88% of profits in this market are driven by new consumers, stimulating growth related responses within luxury brands.
I hope that you are able to now recognize a few more luxury brands outside of the large name Eurocentric brands we often hear all too much about. Across the world, many other luxury designers with movements similar to Sabyasachi Mukhergee, Laduma MaXhosa, and David Tang are exciting a variety of global markets through production of high quality garments geared towards producing appropriate cultural representation. Through the financials above, it is evident that each designer is impacting the economy heavily, through generating profit, growth opportunities, and stimulating demand. With that, I encourage you to explore, appreciate and pursue the traditionally lesser known global luxury designers and brands growing within the world we share.
EBITDA is a company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization. It is a measure of a company's financial performance and is used as an alternative to net income.