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Designer Fashion vs. High-end Home Audio: Which Do You Prefer?

High-end audio equipment is in many ways similar to high-end fashion. Prices are astronomical and it takes a sophisticated ear/eye to appreciate them. Both purchases are a reflection of your individual sophistication and style, and can only be appreciated by your equally sophisticated peers.

Not everyone can admire the space potato sack dress (for its fashion-forwardness), or the unsightly cherry-wood floor speakers (for their exceptional sound). A woman who favored Marni was once told she was lucky to be married — since “no man would take her out on a date in those ridiculous clothes.” But what is to be said of guys who spend $20,000 on a speaker system and wear $20 jeans from Wal-Mart?

SVS PC-Ultra Subwoofer vs. Marc Jacobs Collection Quilted Stam Bag
SVS PC-Ultra Powered Cylinder Subwoofer, $1,399 Marc Jacobs Collection Quilted Stam Bag, $1,350

In both industries, brand recognition is extremely important. Most people have heard of Prada and Bang & Olufsen, but what about Peter Som or mbl? If you and your partner are, respectively, home theatre and fashion enthusiasts, here’s a quick reference chart so you can be on the same page. (For example upgrading to Yamaha’s top of the line $5,000+ reciever, is comparable to investing in a Chanel jacket as a wardrobe staple.)

Market Category Fashion Industry Audio Industry
Discount Wal-Mart, Target, Kohls KHL, DCM, Coby
Mass market Old Navy, Gap, Express Bose, JBL, Cambridge Audio
Affordable luxury Banana Republic, Coach, BCBG Klipsch, Polk Audio, NHT
Designer luxury Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton MartinLogan, Thiel, B&W, Bang & Olufsen
Super high-end luxury Chanel couture, Lanvin, Hermes Wilson Audio, Krell, mbl

Tatjana Mitchell
Contributing Editor

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