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YAB REVIEW: RETAIL THERAPY IN THE MASSTIGE MARKET

Today’s post comes from our Youth Advisory Board Member, 18-year-old Maddie Flager. When it comes to retail fashion, Masstige has become a major trend since the economic recession. Department stores have merged with major high-end labels to provide democratized access to something that used to be far out of reach to the mass consumer. In addition,  the notion of  “celebrity” has changed dramatically in the past decade, and access to their everyday lives has become another layer that adds to their personal brand strategy. Maddie takes us through which celebrity and high-end fashion labels are working for her demographic, determining the price / value of emerging lines in the market. With an all-access pass to the lives of celebrities, Maddie reminds us that consistency is key when it comes to brand image since Millennials and teens pay close attention to every channel of exposure if they feel connected to it. 

 

YAB REVIEW: RETAIL THERAPY IN THE MASSTIGE MARKET 

Before capsule collections and collaborations, the closest most teenagers would ever get to couture designers was the pages of Vogue or a lustful afternoon spent window-shopping at Barney’s. Thanks to Issac Mizrahi, that has changed. About a decade ago, the designer collaborated with Target and spawned a new trend of high-fashion collections at a fraction of the price. 

Prabal Gurung is the latest designer to work with Target in creating a line made up of mostly tops, dresses, jackets and accessories, with prices ranging from $12.99 – $199.99.  The line debuted online and in stores on February 10, and sold out within the first day. Gurung stayed true to his typical runway aesthetic, including fun, bright colors, floral patterns, and textures such as lace and ruffles in his for-Target collection. The fact that the lines are so similar visually is a huge draw for younger buyers. To me, it’s like buying a knock-off handbag without the inevitable shame felt when carrying a fake item. These are items designed by the same person that created the beautiful looks seen on the runway as well as worn by celebrities like Kate Middleton, Sarah Jessica Parker and Jennifer Lawrence. 

Gurung’s prices are slightly higher than average Target clothing, but are still very affordable. Tops range from $20-$35; dresses from $40-50. Skirts and sweaters both cost around $30. The price difference between Gurung’s ready-to-wear designer label and the for-Target line is enormous; for example, a peplum top from Target will cost you $29.99, while one from the line sold at Barney’s will cost $995. While the dresses and tops seen on the runway are without a doubt beautiful, I doubt I will ever be able to justify spending a thousand dollars on a top. The lower-cost version, however, is something I will gladly add to my closet.

Another cost-friendly line with attention-grabbing designers is Kendall and Kylie Jenner’s PacSun Collection, which debuted last month in stores and online. The line is geared towards teens and young adults and has a very California vibe, featuring current trends such as fringe tops and scarves, military-inspired jackets, ombre shorts and flannels, and crop tops. The items are all very wearable, and could easily be integrated into every day outfits. 

The price points for the collection are in line with typical PacSun items, and are much more affordable for teens in comparison to their older sister’s DASH Boutique clothes and even the Kardashian Kollection Sears line. Most of the collection is made up of tops, ranging in price from $25-$45, and dresses, ranging from $45-$50. The line also features jeans ($59.50), skirts ($39.50), accessories (sunglasses run for $24.50), and shorts, whose cost is my only qualm in this otherwise reasonably priced line: a pair will cost you $49.50, ten dollars more than similar styles at American Eagle and thirty dollars more than ones at Forever 21. 

Personally, I am much more inclined to pay these lower prices for solid quality (and more wearable) clothing than the much more expensive and generally low-quality items for sale at Sears in the Kardashian Kollection. There, dresses cost $70-$100, jackets between $80 and $100, and jeans and shorts around $68. The choice in fabric does not lend well to the designs, and many of the dresses and tops aren’t the most comfortable fabrics when shopping in real life (vs. online shopping, where quality can often be overlooked). The options at the eldest Kardashian sisters’ DASH boutiques, located in Los Angeles, New York, and Miami, are similar to major department stores, carrying brands like Alice & Olivia and Whitney Eve. Such brands are certainly fun to look at and draw inspiration from, but are not affordable enough to fill up an average teenager’s closet.

Kendall and Kylie Jenner for PacSun is designed by the two teens, and reflects their style well. It’s not hard to imagine the girls wearing their designs, as it is similar to the outfits we regularly see them in on their family’s show, Keeping up with the Kardashians, in magazines, and on their personal Twitters’ and Instagrams’, which they both update frequently. Teens, myself included, who admire their casual and edgy-meets-boho style will be eager to replicate the look while wearing the line. 


Maddie Flager

Madison is currently a freshman at Loyola Marymount University, majoring in Communication Studies. She writes and copy edits for the LA Loyolan and is active in community service on campus. She plans to pursue a career in journalism and hopes to write for Time Magazine and Entertainment Weekly one day. In high school, Madison was editor-in-chief of The Prowl, vice-president of Key Club, and active in both marching and concert band. In her spare time she enjoys reading fashion magazines, watching The Office and exploring the city of Los Angeles.