Some of these logos represent manufactured fashion brands. Can you tell which ones?

We watched over the years designers turn into brands and vice versa and wondered if it was ever a good idea. We heralded Target’s invention of the capsule collaboration but shunned the pop star turned designer ethos of K-mart. In any case, brands that embrace inspiration from high-end designers to TV shows (Olivia Pope for The Limited), brands thrive on reaching crowds through innovation and the constant need to look and dress like the ones we admire. However, it has not worded for designer brands like Noir. Juicy Couture and Betsy Johnson (who have both morphed into a brand) found that gimmicks destroy rather than increase loyal customers for designer brands. In this case study, we will explore what they did wrong and how you as a designer, can avoid the same fate.

Why not become a brand in the first place?

Some may argue that becoming a designed brand is possible but that is just fiction. Two aspects define a brand, they focus on trends of the market and the price is friendly to most of the population. Designers produce work unique to their point of view and the price reflects the uniqueness of their product. Crafters produce products with a unique point of view and a friendly price. If you happen to design your work on a raising trend with prices not too friendly to the consumer, you become a designer brand which is the kiss of death as Betsy Johnson found out. In retrospect, BJ never really found her niche market and worst her prices were too high to sustain general interest. A designer brand must go one way or another either lower cost and to compete with others who produce the same or similar products or limit distribution of your work to your niche market. In any rate; you will loose money the longer you stay in between until you either go out of business or sell. If you sell, you will be reverted into a brand as your products become manufactured and you will no longer have any influence in future production. You will no longer be a designer and your name will be attached to a brand. Nothing is more humiliating. So here are some points to make sure that does not happen.

Manufacturer brands can copy designs that can lead a designer to go out of business, the trick is to design items that are not worth reproducing because of cost or a niche market.

Discover your Niche Market and Expand it

The problem with designers is that they are increasingly fighting with manufacture brands for reproduction of designs that sometime borders on counterfeiting. So if you create broad trendy products like urban or kitschy (like Juicy Couture and Betsy Johnson respectively), you will be pushed out of the market as manufactured brands copy your looks for a cheaper price then you can afford. If you wish to continue your work then find another market where the style has not gone mainstream but still desired (BJ in Japan anyone?). Juicy Couture’s journey into a brand was also because urban chic became a staple in America but London is still on the rise and by expanding to that location could of saved them from becoming a brand.

Expanding to new locations does not necessary mean outside the US, you can move from Cali to NY if you create bohemian chic products since that trend is on the rise here but not mainstream as well as take urban chic to Chicago or Normcore to Seattle. In any rate, expand and save.

Too many sales or a sale at high percentages can hurt rather help your designer credit.

Keep your prices in the right market and don’t compromise

Lowering your prices only work if you want to become a brand and continue to produce trendy products while reaching that broader market. If you want to retain your name and make money from your designs then take a page from Michael Kors and limit sales. Do not let seasonal and holiday sales deter you from holding firm to your price points. If you do have sales limit them to no more than 25% so you do not seem desperate for sales. People are weary of sale items which now are damaged or faulty. Keeping sales few and between will increase customer loyalty. If you do need to clear away product, consider offering loyal customers a discount that others will not have access. This is a great way to build loyalty without sacrificing profit.

Create a consistent Voice

Some designers can feel detered from thier vision when sales take a downward turn and decide to go with gimmicky collaborations to entice new customers. I knew a designer who paired with a celebrity that not only did not take his brand into consideration but also put out a collection of questionable morality. Needless to say, it ended up not doing much for sales. It may have been better for him to take a look at his inventory for inconsistency.

1. Clean house: Remove products that are not selling and focus on the ones that are selling. Decide what is similar between all these products and develop a voice through these similarities. Alternatively, toss out all other products or re-invent them using your new viewpoint you just discovered.

2. Commit: Only produce the products in step 1. Even if you like a design, it is important to make a profit because that is what drives your future as a designer. It is how investors decide rather you are a risk or not and how you can file for grants or incubators.

3.Stay away from craft selling sites: Sites that have a variety of products will limit how many customers come your way because you will always be in competition with other designers as well as crafters who have more price friendly products. Build your own website to your voice so customer can get an idea of who you are as soon as they enter.

In conclusion, take care to create products that are unique and price within the market you want to attract. Stay away from producing products that has become mainstream or too trendy and hence picked up by brand stores.

Ok so I know it’s Christmas Eve and as I sit here sipping gourmet hot chocolate from my crystal encrusted mug I keep getting bombarded by emails from various stores who STILL want you to get that gift to your loved ones!

Sears-offers same day pick up until 6pm tonight!

Amazon-in certain cities (I know NYC for sure has same hour delivery!

Kmart-offers E-giftcards

Yankee Candle-Malls are open until 6 or 9pm tonight and Yankee candle is offering by 2 get 2 free!

New York & Co- all day door busters including ALL scarves, hats and gloves for $7.99!!

So hope you get out there and get those last minute gifts so you won’t have to look like a Scrooge lol! Merry Christmas Everyone!!

We all work long hours and sometimes mass retail sales offer so much incentives to buy that we end up buying that scarf and hat set that every store has on clearance but what really makes a last minute gift special is the thought put into it. So here are some basic tips to make last minute still special…

GO FOR PERSONAL GIFTS

The packed stores, the absence of parking and the hoards of cheap discounts with “something for you” incentives are enticing but they can not predict the perfect gift for your family.

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice. — Dave Barry

Instead, go to the many local holiday markets that offer scores of handmade gifts. In NY there are seasonal markets everywhere including Grand Central Terminal Holiday Fair, Shops at Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bazaar. Handmade gifts offer a special touch and even when shopping at the last minute, the thought is there and hence that “last minute” attempt is forgotten.

GO FOR IN-STORE PICKUP

Some sites drop things in hours depending on your location (Amazon.com offers 1 to 2 hour shipping in NY and LA) but if you are not lucky enough to live in those cities, shop online at stores that offer in store pick up like Macy’s which offers next day pick up. Target and Best buy are both great places to pick up the items in one day. JcPennys is one store that is not reliable for one day pickup. Nordstrom is new to the pickup in store crew and so we really do not know the time frame. Neiman Marcus, however, offers pick up in as little as two hours if you order by 4pm!

SHOP ON APPS

Most of these pick up stores also have apps so if you can’t make it to your computer, then download that app and start shopping for gifts. By not going to the store, you stop yourself from buying things you do not need and are able to focus on that perfect gift. The holidays are not really about the cost but the thought so save the hat and scarves from Old Navy for “Secret Santa”.

image

We usually do not pick a site for review but with such price-friendly dresses, we thought this site, known for prom dresses and custom tuxedos can do double duty as a go-to for event dressing.

Feature – colors

image

With about  30 colors for each design, there is an infinite amount of dresses to choose from at this site. We love that each color possibility is added in “swatches” on every page.

Feature – body conscious

image

For each size above 22W, an additional cost of 2.00 pounds is added to the price, making this on of the few sites that offer a body-friendly choice to every consumer.

For consumers with less standard sizing the site also offers tailoring for a fees. It takes from 3 to 14 days but worth it for the best fit.

Not sure of your standard size, check out the size chart.

Feature – On demand

All dresses are created on order so no worries about products that may have sat too long in the warehouse. Even though it takes up to 22 days for the garment to arrive, the quality is worth it. It is true we have “fast fashion” tendencies but this has “couture” quality.  In an hurry, skip tailoring and go for standard sizing.

Feature – all on one page

image

The website uses tabs to give you access to all information about  the website as well as other dresses you may love in one page !! Navigation is made easier and the look also makes the site mobile friendly.

So many choices and features, you must check out  www.promtimes.co.uk to get prices starting at 65 pounds in 30 colors.

Hey readers! We had to take a break from all the haute deals to let you know where you need to be this Black Friday!

Charming Charlie for those of you who don’t know is a boutique dedicated to all things accessories! They have the entire store organized by color and they even sell clothes and shoes! They are giving $10 deals, 2 for $10 cold weather accessories AND they are giving mystery reward gift cards with every purchase!

Jcpenney-$5.99 turtlenecks and 60% off LuLu by Lulu Guinness bags!! also first thousand people get free giftcards! Nicole miller clutches are $12.99!

Macy’s-$19.99

American Eagle Outfitters- free blanket and tote with $60 purchase,buy one get one free pjs and 40% off your total purchase!

Last Call Neiman Marcus- entire store is 40% off and clearance is extra 60% off!

Hot Topic-$10 tees

Beyonce for H&M

Many stores have gone the designer route with focusing on international designers like JcPenney’s recent collaboration or local designers like Target but view have tapped the celebrity train. H&M has once again bridged the gap by tapping into the celebrity influence machine that helps turn American Culture. Of course, H&M is no stranger to celebrity fanfare but they have never collaborated with such a megastar.

The campaign is said to center around a music video atmosphere that will be set to Beyonce’s new song “Standing on the sun” which is being shot on the beaches of Bahamas. According to Huffington Post, Beyonce has this to say about the whole experience:

“I’ve always liked H&M’s focus on fun and affordable fashion. I really loved the concept we collaborated on to explore the different emotions of women represented by the four elements — fire, water, earth and wind. It was a beautiful shoot on a tropical island,”and “It felt more like making a video than a commercial.”

According to H&M, Beyoncé has worked with the in-house design team at H&M to create the perfect pieces for the heat of summer. We can expect shorts, airy tops and of course body con dresses. We do know that there will be Tye-dye styles in swimwear. Mid-drift tops in tropical prints are also a possibility. 25 percent of sales will be donated to H&M for Water, H&M’s initiative with WaterAid, which has so far raised £2,650,000 since 2002.

The campaign images were shot in Nassau, Bahamas by photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, while the commercial was directed by Jonas Åkerlund and is shot like a music video. It will be available to view online in its entirety, with edited versions for TV. (courtesy of HM.com)

Interestingly, when People Stylewatch reported the possible collaboration back in January, H&M neither confirmed nor denied. I guess nothing before it’s time. We will be adding more pictures as more develops so stay tuned.

image

When JcPenneys created thier fair and square campaign a couple of months back, editors and investors alike had mix feelings about its success and the future of JcPenneys. Quarter losses followed and investors became antsy convincing JcPennys to return sales to thier philosophy, a strategy they had abandoned.
Flash forward, six months later and JcPenneys has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes by replacing tired clothing designs and adding fresh lower priced designs from well-known brands like Mango, Nanette LePore and Liz Claiborne.  Some feared the new designers would alienate the more loyal customers which were of the older crowd. So JcPennys started their button campaign for the holidays to attract new customers and it worked because I am now a JcPennys customer.
With all the changes at JcPenneys,  we were even more happy to see them embrace little known international designers at affordable prices. Similar to Targets “go international” campaign (which has become localized and a popularity contest), the campaign differs by focusing on new designers with a local following so enters the topic of the blog, African designer, Duro Olowu.

image

We loved the designer’s mixed prints which is all the rage of the moment and the price tag was equally nice starting at only 30 dollars. The fabric was light and the clothing looked expensive like this coat with brocade details.

image

The price is only 75 dollars! I had to admit, I was hesitate to look at the line upclose since the quality looked so expensive but after my twin and partner suggested we stop by after our purchases,  I agreed. I am happy to have made the journey. Okay, it wasn’t a real journey but it was like entering another country. We also loved the fact that he did not just stop at clothes but ventured into housewares, jewelry and my personal love handbags.

image

image

If we weren’t shopping for birthday outfits, one of these bags would have came home with us. The associate that was showing us the collection and I coveted the same long sleeve shirt at just 30 dollars, it was a steal. If you don’t like coat, the same detail was added to this dress for just 60 dollars.

image

So stop by JcPenneys or their website and check out the full collection and you be glad you made the journey as well.

Floral prints and psychedelic patterns were a hit!!

We reported back in October 2012 that Parabal Gurung was doing a line for target! Here is what we said would be the   highlights of the collection:

  • sweet heart styles, cut-out shoulders and one shoulder styles
  • structured pants with pronounced waist lines
  • Print wise expect psychedelic and watercolor like floral prints

After viewing the collection this weekend, we have to say, it was nothing that we expected but we could say it was definitely what we saw on the runways last year!! The collection did not feature pants but the signature pronounced waist line was added to dresses as seen above in the center and last picture above.

last image shows the cold shoulder look we predicted.

We also predicted that we would see some cold shoulder effects which was represented in the red dress above.  We also the psychedelic print in also every shirts and dress as well as the floral print as seen above.  I bought the shirt above to the left. As for what the retailer said about the collection:

“reflects Gurung’s distinct aesthetic, with impeccable tailoring and feminine silhouettes, and features striking prints, hot-hued palettes and sleek styles,” such as “refined dresses, mixed-media skirts, edgy blazers and striking shoes.”

We think the retailer was right! As for Gurung, he said:

“I am so thrilled to be working with Target on a collection that brings my designs to a wider audience,” said Prabal Gurung. “This collection was inspired by love and if Target’s guests can feel even a little bit of the love that I felt while I was designing this collection, then I will consider it a job well done.”

We are indeed in love with your collection and a job well done!!!

This site is so cool and has a ton of indie labels as well as well known designers. They are doing 40% off site wide and if you use code HAUTE317 at checkout you save another 20%!! They have stuff for girls and guys!

Core Collection 5 pocket Twill Pants on sale $33.95 www.karmaloop.com

Sole Boutique Serra Shoe on sale for $33.95 www.karmaloop.com

Fresh off the presses, Parabal Gurung has just signed a contract to collaborate with target next year. Our source, accessories magazine state that clothing will be as low as 19.99 and jewelry will start at 12.99! Accessories magazine prepared this quote:

“I am so thrilled to be working with Target on a collection that brings my designs to a wider audience,” said Prabal Gurung. “This collection was inspired by love and if Target’s guests can feel even a little bit of the love that I felt while I was designing this collection, then I will consider it a job well done.”

We are thrilled and the dates are already announced: the collaboration is set to hit stores and online for six weeks only (Feb. 10 to march 23, 2013).  Here is what we think the collection with feature:

I think cold shoulder styles would be something that would be seen at Target. I am thinking more sweet heart styles, cut-out shoulders and one shoulder styles because they are easy to reproduce at the lower end cost. I also expect structured pants with pronounced waist lines since I have seen this style repeated in his runway collections.

Print wise expect psychedelic and watercolor like floral prints to show up on everyday staples like t-shirts and shorts.  We can’t to see it all so mark your calendars and we close with another quote for Accessories magazine:

The retailer says the collection “reflects Gurung’s distinct aesthetic, with impeccable tailoring and feminine silhouettes, and features striking prints, hot-hued palettes and sleek styles,” such as “refined dresses, mixed-media skirts, edgy blazers and striking shoes.”

Launch date: Feb. 10 to march 23, 2013