From Missoni for Target, Stella McCartney for GAP to Vera Wang for Kohl’s, many designers have turned to making affordable lines of clothing, either launching a parallel, cheaper brand, like Marc by Marc Jacobs, or by collaborating with established high street chains like Versace with H&M. And in today’s economic downturn, such an offer couldn’t be more appealing.
The iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who’s behind the elite labels Chanel and Fendi, is launching a more affordable line of streetwear called ‘Karl’. His line will launch in January next year and its price tags will be worlds away from the ones on his Chanel creations, with prices ranging from £50-£390.
Lagerfeld told Women’s Wear Daily: “I just want not too expensive clothes that people may like and perhaps want to wear.” His line will be sold for four weeks exclusively on net-a-porter.
In June 2011 the Italian luxury knitwear brand Missoni launched a “Missoni for Target” line, with average prices of $30 to $40. The result was a complete website crash, a manic rush for the shelves and a completely sold-out inventory.
The fact that these products were in the “Missoni for Target” line and not the “real” Missoni line, which means they are lower in quality and are mass-produced, isn’t a factor because it’s about the name and being able to own an item of a luxury brand. No one has to know how much it was.
In March 2010 Jean Paul Gaultier already did a designer collaboration line at Target.
H&M have announced their latest designer collaboration to be with Italian fashion house Versace, which will be released November 17. The Swedish brand started selling exclusive collections by guest designers such as Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Matthew Williamson and Lanvin in 2004.
It is a genius concept for high-end designers to create fashion available to those who cannot afford their luxury brand pieces. This allows ordinary people with less income than the more fortunate ones to relish in their creative fashion.
Launching budget-friendly collection helps designers reach a wider audience and get a foot into the door of mass-market sales and does it no way diminish the brand’s uniqueness. It is a great way of acknowledging that there are people out there who love fashion, but do not have enough money to be able to afford dresses for £2000.