Vera Wang has jumped on the bandwagon with the latest trend of designers doing discount cheap China-made product lines in low end stores by producing a pseudo-luxury line of clothing, accessories, shoes and bedding. (products: sportswear, intimate apparel, handbags, leather accessories, jewelry, footwear, linens and towels) She joins the ranks of Issac Mizrahi for Target and Martha Stewart for Kmart with her lines at Kohls. I have bought some of Issac and Martha’s wares at Target and Kmart because they understood the style of the moment that I was looking for. Do I still wear or use these products years later like someone who would cherish a design they bought off a runway or that Martha created herself? No. They get discarded like most things in a year or two when seasons change and styles move on. I do buy less these days in general, and I haven’t shopped at a Kohl’s in years…so I most likley won’t be buying the Vera Wang stuff. The only benefit to buying something with a high end designer’s name on it from a discount store is that it is usually more stylish. They just have more knowledge about the styles and trends of the moment. The quality, fit, fabric and detail are not any better than any other cheap chinese made dress or sweater that you would buy at Target, Kohl’s or KMart. They still shrink, fade, pill, tear, run, buttons fall off, zippers fall out and hems fall down. Because of the cheapest fabrics and materials possible used in the creation of theses items and the fast-as-possible assembly line manufacturing processes.
So, what I really think will happen with this Vera Wang line at Kohls is this: 1. The line will launch and housewives and economy shoppers everywhere will flock there to get their piece of designer style for the first wave of products. Sales will be good, profits will go up. 2. The next line will do about 1/2 the sales the first one did because people will be less impressed the 2nd time around knowing that the purse or shoes they bought there last time weren’t any better than anyone elses and they cost a little more than the other brands available at Kohl’s. 3. By a year or 2 into this, it is the Vera Wang name that will suffer, not Kohl’s. Everyone will know her work even the econo shoppers and housewives in suburbia. They won’t equate her with $10,000.00 wedding or ball gowns anymore though. They will associate her with cheap Chinese-made products that are marked up more than all the other cheap Chinese-made products that they buy at discount stores. And I am not sure this is going to have a positive impact on her personal brand. But that is just my opinion. Many say that Issac Mizrahi’s career was brought back from the dead with Target’s cool cheap lines and that it hasn’t cheapened his runway shows or coture clothing sales at all. But it isn’t easy, Kohl’s (Remember it as Mainstreet???) isn’t the same as Target, and Chinese manufactured stuff is still cheap.