Mass Merchants Attract Shoppers with High Design at Affordable Prices

Tuesday March 03, 2009
New York, NY

The stock market may have people skittish, but for today’s savvy shoppers, bargains abound. With designers from Vera Wang to Alexander McQueen launching collections at mass merchants, even the most cash-strapped consumers can sport comfortable cotton looks from their favorite high end designers at equally comfortable price points.

“Sixty-two percent of 13 to 24 year olds report they have less money to spend on apparel this year,” says Linda DeFranco, Director, Product Trend Analysis, Cotton Incorporated, citing the company’s Lifestyle MonitorTM survey. “The good news for retailers is that people are still shopping; the good news for consumers is that so many great designers have expanded their collections into mass merchants like JC Penney, Kohl’s, H&M, and Target.”

JC Penney recently launched a new advertising campaign featuring Nicole Miller, one of four high end designers tapped to create exclusive collections for the company. She will continue to showcase her runway collection, Nicole Miller Studio One, in addition to the newly launched Nicole by Nicole Miller line for JC Penney. Both collections allow savvy shoppers to mix and match from each collection to create their own unique look. “We do have customers who shop on both levels and might, for example, buy a gown from the runway and one of our casual T-shirts or tops from JC Penney,” Miller notes.

Target Corporation’s GO! International Collection, which showcases exclusive collections from high-end designers that are only available for ninety days after their release, has also been well received with consumers. For the last several years, frenzied shoppers have snapped up bargains from designers like Proenza Schouler, Libertine, and Thakoon. Tracy Feith is set to debut her collection at Target in May 2009, which will undoubtedly cause a stir; First Lady Michelle Obama donned an oriental-print scoop neck dress by Tracy Feith for the service the morning after President Obama was inaugurated.

Roberto Cavalli caused a veritable stampede when his collection debuted at H&M in the fall of 2007, and since then the number of designers who have followed suit has only grown. From Vera Wang’s graceful collection, Simply Vera, designed exclusively for Kohl’s, to Isaac Mizrahi’s collections for Target and now Liz Claiborne, and even Alexander McQueen’s collection, McQ for Target, designers have expanded their reach and lowered their price point to the delight of millions of female consumers nationwide.

Many high end designers have embraced cotton in their collections, thanks to its wide-ranging appeal and comfortable price point. A highlight of Thakoon for Target’s collection is a versatile 100% cotton gray v-neck cardigan, which can be dressed up for the workplace or dressed down for at-home lounging. Or pair it with Simply Vera’s dark rinse wide leg denim for a night out on the town.

So-called “recessionistas,” or fashion-forward bargain hunters, are capitalizing on this burgeoning trend and filling their closets with new styles every season at a fraction of the cost. And member websites like and are popping up to fill the niche, offering designer looks at bargain basement prices. No longer is wearing a high-end designer label considered the mark of a fashion maven; these days, it’s all about who snagged the best steal of the season.

CUTTING COST WITH COTTON is a series of communications designed to help consumers in trying economic times get the most from their favorite fiber.

Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing upland cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.

For more information please contact: Emily Thompson @ 212.413.8316 or


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