I was browsing through Moda Operandi when I came across these rainbow colored clothes by New York-based designer Caroline Constas. How stunning is that gathered top with the ruffle skirt? As a person who loves ruffles and rainbows I almost cried when I saw these! (Not really, but it did make me emotional…like buy, buy, buy! But then, no, no, no.) I put these clothes in the, “Really beautiful but too expensive category.” (I should make a board called that on Pinterest!) The gathered top goes for $420. Yeah….no.
I have this theory that the retail industry is currently pushing out the middle market. High end luxury brands with beautiful unique designs will stay in business as will fast fashion brands that rip off the luxury market’s designs. With the rise of Instagram, I think a lot of women love following trend setting style influencers like Aimee Song or Chriselle Lim. I remember after seeing Aimee wear that black and white Self-Portrait blouse, I was like, “Where can I buy that?” The influencers know how to put their outfits together, they look A-MAZING so they amass a legion of fans who want to dress just like them too.
So who are the big losers? Coincidentally, they’re the same ones who built too many physical retail stores. BCBG, Bebe, J.Crew, The Limited, Abercrombie, Guess.
On the luxury end, it’s fun to discover new designers (or at least new to you/me). Browsing by designer, getting to know who they are is interesting too. In this Vogue article I learned that Caroline Constas is known for her off-the-shoulder tops (ok, like everyone) but ones that are “well priced, flattering, and not too flimsy as to pose a wardrobe malfunction risk.” She has a “straightforward signature—classic shirting with a twist.”
The woman is a force! “Constas is also savvy in that her business is vertically integrated, so her patternmakers, sewers, and seamstresses are all in-house. Not only does that maintain high margins, but it means she can be involved in every step of the process, from the size of the buttonholes to buying strategies. ‘Getting my hands in production and sales has been so important,’ she says. ‘I can’t imagine having a label and doing it differently. As a designer, you have a vision for what you think will do well in the market, but it’s great to be in those sales meetings and hear what buyers’ needs actually are. At the end of the day, it’s a business.’
That’s my kind of gal!
P.S. Sorry about the lack of posts! I’ve been swamped with Skylar Yoo, the fashion brand for bold women coming out in mid-October. I’ll try to post more!