Monday, March 29, 2010

How to: Get a Deal

I think the thing that is really appealling to me right now is the idea of affordable fashion. By affordable I don't mean shopping at Ross or TJMaxx and putting together one of those looks for less that you see in cheesy television shows. Although I have nothing against Ross or TJ Maxx persay.

What I'm actually referring to is the outbreak of designer collaborations. Target was the first to really blaze the trail for these low priced pairings. They have since done collaborations with everyone from Alexander McQueen to Rodarte to Jean Paul Gaultier which debuted this month and practically sold out in the same day it was presented. Online is always a good place to go for these types of things since different stores buy different pieces depending on location and buyer, but online will normally stock the bulk of it. Liberty of London is also set to be stocked for Spring 2010 so if you want to get your hands on that one camp out early. However, buyer be ware of online buying. Often times with such deals its a good idea to check the fabrics and textures in person before making a purchase. We all know what some good lighting and pinning can do for a outfit, so I'd say check the pieces in the store if you can still get your hands on them, and if they are out of your size head to the web.

More stores doing low priced collaborations with high end designers is Stella McCartney who has done a brilliant line for Gap Kids, my only complaint with this one is, Where is the adult line Stella? I actually bought one of the Stella for Gap Kids sweaters, its the light grey cashmere one with the tiger face on it, I know its not for 25 year olds but its an oversize sweater and I got the large. This is what I'm driven to with no options in my size.
Of course Topshop has been really great about collaborations and the great thing with Topshop is that the quality doesn't really suffer. Even though you're obviously not getting the same fabrics and detail as you would off the runway, its still a really nice version of the one you'd get from the designers boutique and at about 10% of the cost, and in a crowded party with dim lighting who can tell the difference anyways. Now of course if you are fortunate enought to afford the $2,000 Christopher Kane frock obv thats where you'd go, but I think its great that there are options for everyone now. While it is great to make things that are rare, and you know that you're paying for those hand sewn details and hope they will last you a lifetime, I think its also important that fashion not be exclusive, and before the advent of designer collabs, thats what was happening. High fashion was to be admired from a distance for most people. Now, most people can afford a chic Vena Cava or Alexander Wang look by turning to the Gap, or look to Topshop for a Jonathan Saunders, Ashish or Christopher Kane dress. And since the people who can't afford to spend thousands of dollars on high-end designers clothing are usually its biggest champions, I think its about time that designers are embracing all of their consumers. Its no longer taboo for a designer to produce a "defusion" line, so they are able to slash prices without forsaking the fine quality associated with the brand.

Outside of these store designer collabs, another great place to find a steal is sample sales. When Phi closed its doors last season they did a massive blow out sample sale, and had peices for less than $40 or $50, its not forever 21 cheap, but you know your getting the actual collection peices at a steal, and youve lost none of the quality. Often times at a sample sale you'll pay 10% or less of the original cost, and the great thing is designers have sample sales every season, so if you dont mind being slightly behind the trend its perfect. My advice is buy the peices that are classics so that you know you'll pull them out the following year, and years to come.

Now sample sales can sometimes be exclusive affairs, sometimes I get emails from the designers PR about their sample sale because I'm already in their email contacts, but even if youre not working in fashion you can still get inside tips on upcoming sales through a genius website called The most important thing, when sample saling it is to get there early, the first hour of the first day is advised, but often times they open the doors the day before they are even listed, for friends and family, and if you drop by you may get a sales associate who will let you in on those days.

With the economy the way it is, the fashion industry is feeling it as much as anyone, and the truth is, it will probably never be the same as it was, but the verdict isn't yet in on whether thats a good thing or a bad thing. The one thing that is for certain is that it forces everyone to be a bit more creative with budgets and shopping, and for the everyday consumer, the same goes. Good bad or ugly, this is where we are, so we may as well embrace it, and I salute the designers who have already started that process by allowing ALL consumers access to their creations.

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