are they really a big fashion powerhouse? i always thought that they were fairly "niche" fashion-wise as well. Kind of a small house with a big (ie, influential and respected) impact.
re their frags - I think they are niche by virtue of the uniqueness of the frags themselves. They are usually unique, sometimes extremely so. Odeur 53 turned my world upside down, from the concept, to the frag itself, to the packaging. It was my signature scent during my whole motorcycle phase (....which ended when my bike and i ended up under a car on the san mateo bridge...). I still like it, but now am discovering other olfactory worlds thanks to this forum as well as my recent interest in wetshaving (those boards all promote the classic scents).
Anyway, I think Rei will always be a pioneer, and pioneers tend to dwell in niches i think.