Price Points vs Patterns: Designers Buying in to the Mix and Match

by Rachel Yeomans | September 18th, 2009   

We’ve all been reading about everyone being affected by the economy, including those hoping to have made an impression during New York Fashion Week. One of the striking articles on the subject from MarketWatch highlighted not the humbling of the designer, but the epiphany that has been published and discussed, but never fully executed. That epiphany is the classic concept of mix and match. Not mix and match with colors and patterns — but rather with designer with discount.

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This came out within the MarketWatch article when quoting designer Norma Kamali on her Wal-Mart line featuring all items under $20:

“It’s a new economy,” the veteran designer known for her parachute jumpsuit and sleeping bag coat said in an interview, clad in a $10 black tank top and a $5 belt from her Wal-Mart line paired with a $500 jumper from her designer collection.

“You can buy something that’s got a great value at $1,000 and something that’s got a great value at $10. And you can wear them together. People are going to shop this way from now on.”

I can’t tell you how many times I have read Lucky magazine and raise my eyebrows at what the editors consider affordable. It may be affordable to them and their demographic, but not so much so for the broader demographic who consider a $250 dress an investment. Now we are seeing that demographic of conservative spending broaden to even touch on those that would be able to afford the $1,500 dress. Norma Kamali has finally voiced that the art of the price point mix and match is not a trend, it is being as ingrained in our fashion culture as the skinny jean.

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Norma Kamali – $20

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Norma Kamali – $5

Attention has been paid to this concept; however it is usually geared towards the younger generation (think H&M advertising). Now that H&M pricing – and in Kamali’s case, Wal-Mart’s – is becoming more in demand from shoppers of all ages, it isn’t surprising to see other designers and retailers to follow suit. If you go to the Wal-Mart website to check out Kamali’s line, she has a whole segment for career fashions. Perhaps the new blouse you need won’t be as much of a splurge as you originally thought.

Picture36 Price Points vs Patterns: Designers Buying in to the Mix and Match

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