ASOS: The Queen of Credit Crunch Fashion

By Melissa Wong

Amongst the dreary depths of the current economic climate, many retailers are facing millions of pounds worth of losses as consumers watch their pennies.  Asos, an online fashion website, however, has managed to defy the problems surrounding the credit crunch with profits of 104 percent in the six months leading upto September.

Asos, originally known as As Seen On Screen was founded by Nick Robertson in 2000.  ASOS was never intended to be a fashion website and, primarily, sold celebrity- inspired products such as the diary room chairs in Big Brother.  In time, Robertson discovered that fashion was his fastest performing sector on his website and in 2004, Asos stopped selling non-fashion iteuntitled1ms. 

Whilst it was still on baby feet, Robertson realised that magazines such as Heat used fashion as a means to celebrate the easy access for readers to be like their celebrity icons at reasonable prices.  Magazines like Heat, however, were not necessarily considering readers that were students or on a minimum wage.  In 2006, Robertson decided to provide his own high street range aimed at 16-34 year olds and the success of the brand was phenomenal.

Robertson said: ”It’s a different animal to what we ever thought it might be.’

Although phrases like, ‘in the style of…’ are used, Asos is very proactive about promoting fashion rather than celebrity.  Asos accounts for 60 percent of its womanswear whilst the rest is stocked by high street and label brands such as Karen Millen and Lipsy mirroring the image of a department store like Selfridges.

Fashion now matches big spend with cheap buys.  Now, there is an opportunity to buy more for less- a vision accepted by the fashion conscious yet cautious spender.  For the young and computer literate, this is the best means to shop particularly when there are so many personal commitments such as families, a career and possible an education.

Due to the easy access to the internet, Asos has provided a new way to shop.  Gone are the days of driving round car parks or city centres for a parking space, the inconvenience of carrying bags of purchases whilst watching restless children.  Shopping can now be done in the comfort of your home, at work or even, sneakily, during class.