How can this attribute be developed and nurtured during the earliest start-up and development of the business.
Your brand must conjure associations beyond the clothing itself.
Fabric is only fabric. Attractive design matters, but market competition is enough to drive down prices. If you intend to ask a premium, then your product line must SUGGEST more than it literally is.
Eventually, certain brands reach maturity and can point to an established reputation or high-profile adoption by the rich and famous.
But you can start out by honing a brand "story" that captivates attention. Parts of that story are visual; others are verbal.
Naming -- which is a large part of what I do -- is crucial when it comes to instantaneous unconscious communication. The right name tells your story for you on first contact with investors or consumers. Thereafter, it echoes in the mind, resonating with associations people bring to your product from their own experiences. Those associations add value.
This is true whether you're a luxury brand or a maker of upscale outdoor gear like Patagonia, which takes its name from rugged South American highlands.
In addition to your brand name, I would recommend paying close attention to all of your written copy. Make it unified and stylish ... in whatever way best fits your product line and intended audience.
The most important attributes among successful high end brands are personal prestige and scarcity. High quality is expected, though status symbols aim at personal differentiation and are fueled by fashion and consumerism so they are not expected to last.
Example: German luxury cars break down often and service costs as much as buying a small car to drive around while your ultimate driving appliance is sulking.
These brands are still driven by people with clout among early adopters and late majority members, who also replace their cars often to enjoy the latest technological advancement, which is not available in the current version.
This business model increases the frequency of purchase, which creates the illusion of reliability among other luxury car drivers who see BMW & MB fans renew their vows with their favourite brand over and over.
Offering free maintenance, which actually means including the cost in the sales price, makes the cars reliable in the eyes of their owners, taking away a common objection.
High end brands differentiate their customers from the general market by providing goods and communications which are consistent with what their target group and their influencers consider special, elegant and/or sophisticated.
A high end brand must also be wanted by many who can't afford it, in order to make target customers feel privileged for being among the few who can enjoy <insert soft benefit that matters to your target customers>
High-end branding is only possible where a few shoppers from the general market can afford something better than what is purely functional. These trends generally begin with an honest commitment to quality, which attracts higher-end buyers, who in turn want the accessories in their lives to remind them of who they think they are, even if they are the only ones who believe it, for as long as they can pay for their vision of themselves.
Some high-end brands will even seriously reserve the right to refuse sales to anyone, which increases a brand's scarcity value. This is often the case in the high-end hospitality and retail industries.
Before they know it, many high-end buyers become brand champions and defend the money they spent, because their reference groups tell them that they made a good decision.
Versace and Gucci, for example, push elegance through Italian design, and positioned as a brand for people who consider themselves elegant. Of course, buyers don't need to be elegant themselves, as long as they can buy an "Elegance Kit"
There have been cases, where normally high-end brands, like Versace and Gucci try to enter the mass market and fail in both fronts, because they cease to be by sacrificing what made them a high-end brand in the first place by cutting costs to meet one or more of the price points of the general market.
Innovators and personal reference groups can provide good insights through a brand study. Unfortunately, not everyone takes the time to do this and many rely solely on having a technically superior product.
Why is scarcity important?
Because it makes most people envious, which validates a brand's superiority status, in order to raise and defend its price point. Remember that price indicates segmentation.
Patagonia, just like Joseph said, is inspired by the rough end of South America, which explains, if you look around, why you will see so many weekend warriors of all ages wearing Patagonia jackets when they meet other weekend warriors outdoor during winter. (South Americans actually do this)
Two of the better things about high end brands is that they benefit greatly from word of mouth in a smaller pool of target buyers, with less competitors taking away the attention that they crave..
There is also the fact that some of us like better quality, which was the original purpose of high end brands in the industrial era.
HOW TO DEVELOP AND NURTURE THESE ATTRIBUTES.
This should be indicated in your business model canvas and marketing plan. If you can't develop and nurture these attributes, you will never position your brand.
I would like to answer any further questions through a call. Meanwhile, you can read these articles to illustrate my answer.
Buyer Personas http://ow.ly/ByNHy
Shared Brand Ownership http://ow.ly/ByNQn
Joseph's answer is spot on.
Clothing is about the story you tell about yourself. People wear Kmart because it's affordable. It suggests nothing more than an appreciation for reasonable pricing.
Marc Jacobs however boasts of something entirely different. You have taste. You have style. You are somehow "in" and care about fashion.
Entirely different story and entirely different audience.
If you intend to have a high end brand, you want to ask yourself what high end means and how you aim to create that. It takes time to create this persona.
Here are a two, main things to consider:
1- Design: look is everything. From the clothes to the way you showcase them.
2- Product placement: where are your clothes showing up? What editorial and on who? This is huge. And what story are they telling about your clothes? The story isn't only told through words either. Aesthetic plays a major role in this as well. We are trained to believe that when things look a particular way, they mean a certain something. Thus, figure out what you want the world to believe about your brand and consider how we've been trained by mass media to believe these things (considering placement, look, feel and people wearing them).
3- I had to get a third in there. Price and availability also tells a story. Less is sometimes more in terms of quantity and higher implies better quality. Again, it's about the story. Consider, though, companies like DSTLD (https://www.dstldjeans.com/). They boast of designer products at less inflated fees. The jeans aren't cheap, but seemingly discounted. They tell you they save you money by giving you what let's say Ralph Lauren would provide without the inflated prices. They position themselves as the friendly high-end people who have your best interest at heart. It's all about the story and the angle you take and how much it resonates with the people you're selling to.