Search #AltuzarraForTarget on Instagram and over 3,000 posts come up and that’s just the eager shoppers who spelled the French designer’s name correctly. This most recent collab is just the latest joint venture that Target is spearheading. Proenza Schouler, Alexander McQueen, Zac Posen and Neiman Marcus are just a few of the past big buck brands that have paired with the affordable retailer to bring brand named goods to an audience that may shy away from a three and four digit price point.
Although this idea may sound ingenious, Target isn’t reinventing the wheel. The idea of selling (a version of) luxury brand goods at a more affordable price is nothing new. Back in the 80s, it was unheard of and discouraged for any successful designer to license their name for affordable mainstream consumption. Halston, a designer who saw huge success in the 60s and 70s (while working at Bergdorf Goodman, he designed the pillbox hat famously worn by Jackie Kennedy at her late husband’s funeral), was one of the first to pioneer this trend. However, this move resulted in his long term relationship with Bergdorf Goodman being axed. Selling the rights to his name proved a poor move.
It’s hard to believe that something that is so common place now at Target and other retailers was once thought so controversial. No “cred” is lost now when a designer decides to make the move.
That’s because the way fashion is marketed has changed (in my uneducated opinion). Designer collaborations are successful because they make an unattainable lifestyle attainable. Now more than ever we’re privy to every detail of the privileged class’ life. What make-up they wear, the restaurants they eat at, the cars they drive, everything is out in the open. With these collabs, we can feel a little closer to that lifestyle.
Though we may not be able to vacation in Bali or shop at Neiman Marcus, these high-low collabs allow people the luxury of pretending just for a second that we can.
The exclusivity isn’t lost because this has been replaced by receiving likes, feedbacks, shares and retweets via social media. Who needs to actually be able to afford expensive goods when we can all pretend we can via social media?
Marketing Minute is a weekly-ish post on marketing musings, rants, complaints and observations.