(Re)Branding identity

Hey folks, remember the project which I asked you to comment on? here it is!!! A Pitstop Inspiration!

This essay, talks about how designer boutiques construct a 'high class' identity.

For the full copy, email us!!!

Spatial Rhetoric

Firstly, the spatial organization of the boutiques shapes the identity of ‘Haute Couture’. According to Chua, the setting of the designer boutique is ‘intimidating in its emptiness, with the emptiness being itself a measure of exclusivity’ (2003:58) and this he argued, ensures the shopper to be the ‘centre of attention’ the moment they pass through the glass doors. The success of boutique in conveying an upscale image, where exclusivity is central to its brand image is at the same time reinforced by spatial placement of the staff. Normally, a staff will be stationed at the door to greet potential customers and ‘two sales persons serve a customer’ (Chua 2003: 59).In some boutiques, there is even a security guard opening the door and regulating the traffic flow in order to prevent overcrowding. As seen from the above examples, the strategic spatial organization of the boutique and the careful placement of the staffs ensured these designer boutiques to maintain its exclusive image. And this in turn, helps to construct the identity of a discerning, fashionable and up-scale consumer.


The subscription to the hegemonic identity of the designer boutiques is internalized and perpetuated by consumers and non consumers alike. For the consumers, similar responses regarding their perception of designer boutiques are congruent to the image branding of the designer label company.

Furthermore, when asked about the perception of people who patronizes designer boutiques, majority of the respondents reflected words like ‘rich’ and ‘classy’ which parallel the perception of the built environment of the designer boutiques. For the customers of these boutiques, most; if not all maintained that purchasing and using products from designer boutiques give them confidence.

I always feel good or rather better when I’m wearing branded goods. I’m actually a fan of Prada. I think, these products just make people feel more confident. For me, I think image is very important and whenever I patronize these shops, I’ll make sure I look prim and proper.
-Steven Tse, 23, Canadian tourist

Therefore, to be seen patronizing or purchasing products from designer boutiques allows the identity of the self to be elevated and such conspicuous consumption of luxuries according to Thorstein Veblen is, ‘a consumption directed to the comfort of the consumer himself, and is therefore, a mark of the master’(pg 33).


On the other hand, the non-consumers also served to reinforce the hegemonic meaning of the designer boutiques. If the identity of the consumers in the designer boutiques are perceived as ‘haute couture’ and ‘not for the ordinary people’, then the non-consumers serve to reinforce this identity by alienating and staying away from these boutiques. According to Chua, a visiting or browsing individual’s ‘body begin to shrink…will no longer touch the goods on display, afraid of being accosted and embarrassed’ (2003:51) and ‘will try to retreat from the store as quickly and as unobtrusively as possible’ (2003:61). The in-depth interview shows similar correlation where respondents claimed that they stay away from designer boutiques if they ‘have no business to be there’ or ‘no money to afford’.

All in all, this section has pointed to the fact that the hegemonic meaning of designer boutiques has constructed an identity based on up-scale consumerism. And this hegemony is constructed by the rhetoric of the company through its image branding and mutually reinforced by the consumers who subscribe to its brand image and non-consumers who exclude themselves from the boutiques because they could not afford or live up to ‘the lifestyle which it represents’ (Abramson and Stuchin 2000).

Maybe we should apply this to our cafe, so people will have a sense of identity here..


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