Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Everyone's A Target
With creative pursuits, success is almost always a double-edged sword. Catering to the mainstream middle market means you’re selling out, but without commercial acceptance you’re just a hack who never made it.
It’s the eternal debate of art versus commerce and often there is no winner. That is, of course, unless you’re Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld or any of the other high-fashion designers who have recently created successful sell-out collections priced for the everyman.
With thier super-low price points and ultra-hip advertising, H&M and Target are the perfect examples. In both cases, these companies have spun their brands in such a way that cheap is also cool, instead canceling each other out.
Even though designers have had enormous financial success with these lines (think quantity, not quality) these low-price/high-fashion labels are not so enticing to a savvy consumer. Having access to something simply makes it less desirable.
I’ll give you a perfect example. I went out of town this weekend and on the train ride I had a chance to catch up with my magazines. As I was flipping through the fashion pages and I came across a cool-looking canvas bag with a pastel skull-and-heart design. When I looked down, the fine print surprisingly revealed, Luella for Target, $19.99.
Since I had a little bit of time on my hands, I decided to drive to Target and see if they stocked the bag. But when they did, I almost didn’t want it anymore.
It looked identical to the image in the magazine, but as it sat there on that rack just waiting for me, I couldn’t help but think it looked like some orphan puppy nobody wanted to take home.
I ended up getting the bag. I mean, it was $20. I could spend more than that on take-out lunch. But I haven’t worn it yet. Even though it’s a perfect summer canvas tote, I’m lacking style enthusiasm.
Some eighth-grade in South Dakota is probably using it as her school bag and I think that alone is killing it for me.
Final Word: Turns out everyman fashion isn't for everyone. When Zac Posen does a line for H&M you won’t see me knocking down the door.