Too Much of a Good Thing?

9:12 AM

Sunday morning in Missoni for Target.

When high-end designers began collaborating with low-end retailers like Target and H&M it changed the game for budget fashionistas everywhere. Suddenly, designers one would only cross paths with on the pages of Vogue were within reach. The first collaborations of this sort had consumers reaching for their wallets. They crashed websites and cleared store shelves in record time and those who missed the boat were left to scour the pages of eBay where items were marked up 50% or more. 

I loved the idea of these collaborations. I found it fun to think that I could own a piece of Lagerfeld, or Versace, or Jason Wu, or Rodarte at a reasonable and affordable price. I scored one of the Prozena Schouler bags on sale at my hometown Target and woke up early to help crash the Target site when the Missoni collection debuted, but do these fast fashion duplicates have the staying power and sophisticated design elements that the designers high-end collections do? 


Fast forward a few years and that Proenza Schouler satchel was sent off to the Goodwill long ago, and my Missoni for Target sweater is pilling. I'm not the only one with qualms about the low quality pieces at higher-than-normal-low-end-prices, many consumers have complained of pilling, low quality fabrics, and cheap construction. 


You would think that I would take a step back and reevaluate but no, I was up early to pick up a few items from the Neiman Marcus + Target Holiday collection; $70 for a Rag & Bone sweater for my boyfriend, $20 for a Tory Burch lunchbox for myself. The collection wasn't met with the fervor of previous collections (I didn't need to wake up at 7 a.m.) and it didn't sell out. 


In fact, quite the opposite. There was such a surplus of merchandise the collection was deeply discounted. After a price adjustment, I elected to keep the items I was going to return. I ended up paying $20 for the sweater and $5 for the lunchbox. So what has changed? 


This collection wasn't swimming with logos and prints, and I think part of what made Missoni so successful was the ability to get the brands signature looks at an attainable price. The holiday collection wasn't logo-centric and lacked any of the signatures of the designers they featured. Perhaps if Rag & Bone sold their famous jeans and Tory Burch did a remake of those coveted flats, items would have flown off the shelves.


I really think consumers are recognizing the sub-par quality of these goods and electing to buy higher quality goods from less renowned names. I know that is certainly my attitude nowadays. As gorgeous as the Prabal Gurung collection is, I'm not sure I will be shelling out my hard earned cash for polyester blends hovering around $40 when I can get silk blouses for $80 from Everlane.com. 


How current is a multi-color kaleidoscope print blouse or dress, anyway? These lines fail to produce classic pieces that will stay in our closet for years to come. They are watered down, fast fashion versions of the designers vision. So maybe you'll never own a Prabal Gurung blouse or Thakoon dress; perhaps we as consumers should accept that instead of stuffing our closets with low quality representations.


What do you think? Will you be clamoring for a piece of the Prabal Gurung collection? It seems H&M has taken the hint from Targets lackluster success and has shelved designer collaborations for the time being, until at least November. Are you disappointed?





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