Will Oscar de la Renta’s designer collaboration succeed where others have failed?
If the designer low-priced collab field wasn’t bloated enough what with Prabal Gurung, Kate Young, Derek Lam and Duro Olowu creating lower priced lines for Target, Kohl’s and JCP, now comes word via WWD that Oscar de La Renta’s jumping in the pool.
Don’t expect to see Oscar’s things hanging from T-stands in Target, K-Mart or any actual store. No, that’s not Oscar’s way. He’s designs will be found exclusively on The Outnet, Net-A-Porter’s site for items that didn’t sell on its main site.
The 24 piece capsule collection goes live on February 26, with prices that range from $325 to $1295. Are you excited or yawning with boredom?
Here’s the thing, consumers seem to be over the glitz and hype of collaborations. To whit, the much-ballyhooed CFDA/Target/Neiman March collection bombed big time for both Target and Neiman's. About two weeks after the collection hit the stores; the wares were still there. Then came massive markdowns on the items—some of them going for 50% less than the original asking price. And even after the markdowns, there they sat. Not moving.
Maison Martin Margiela for H&M was another collab that fell by the wayside. It hit H&M and waved futiley at customers. Customers didn't wave back. Okay, MMM is not for everyone, but still…you’d think that all the celebs wearing his capsule collection would incite some excitement. Nope.
Narciso Rodriguez for Kohl’s didn’t fare well either. You’d thought that Nanette Lepore’s line for JCP would have made the Earth shake, it didn’t. What’s going on? Why all the fashion fail?
Some people like to say that it’s “collab fatigue.” That stores have inundated the consumer with so many lower-priced offerings that instead of creating a constant state of anticipation, consumers are weary. No, they’re bored and jaded by it all.
Personally, I don’t that the problem is that they’re too many of them. The problem is that they’re all shoddily made. When a customer buys a Jimmy Choo shoe or bag, they know they’re getting exactly what they’re paying for i.e. a genuine Jimmy Choo item. When a customer bought a Jimmy Choo for H&M shoe, they got a H&M shoe with a Jimmy Choo label slapped on it. In the end, the hapless consumer paid an inflated price for a cheap and shoddily made item.
Same premise goes for the Target et al collaborations. There’s that sought after name attached to a polyester item. And let’s not even talk about the sizing. Then again, let’s. It seemed, at least to me that the Narciso Rodriguez line for Kohl’s smalls were really mediums. Target’s designer sizing also plays with people’s heads. Why is this happening? Is skimping on the fabrication not enough to create a bigger profit margin, or do they also have to use less fabric to make sure they’re not in the red too?
Oscar may succeed where others have failed because he’s keeping his price points high, his collection limited in number, and (I’m assuming here as I haven’t seen the collection) the fabrication pretty close to his usual line.
As for the other collabs—well, if they’re going to charge prices that don’t match the regular merchandise of the store they’re in, the chains are going to continue to take a bath. After all, who’d buy a Target Alice + Olivia bike for $499 when you could buy a bike standing right next to it for $89? No one.