It was back in the days when I was single, and had a hot job and a disposable income. And at that time, what I chose to dispose my income on was designer labels.
This use of my money back in the 80's was made possible not by a huge salary, but rather by the bold decision of two key designers, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan, to make their clothing available to a new, mid-range mass market of women just like me.
That trend has thrived over the past 20 years, and not only saved a lot of career women a lot of money....it has also saved some designers from bankruptcy (Isaac Mizrahi for Target), widened the market for some (Nicole Miller for J.C. Penny) and saved face (and raised bail money) for others (Martha Stewart for K-Mart and now Macy's). The latest in this line of designers now designing for "the people" is Vera Wang, who's Very Vera collection, according to The Budget Fashionista, will be available in Kohl's stores in three weeks.
But while NPR's Morning Edition this week called this the "democratization" of fashion, Newsweek fashion writer and now author Dana Thomas believes it's part of a trend that has degraded designer goods. She's written a whole book about it called "Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster," which was reviewed this week in The NYTimes.
In her book, Thomas posits that the mass marketing of designer goods has resulted in the "conspicuous consumption and wretched excess" which has spread around the world. "Labels, once discreetly stitched into couture clothes, have become logos adorning everything from baseball hats to supersized gold chains," writes The Times.
True? Sure! But is that such a bad thing?
Even though the designer duds in my closet that belonged to that 80's career gal have since been replaced with stay-at-home mom stuff like jeans and T-shirts, I can still truly appreciate a trendy skirt and top with an affordable price.
So what if luxury has lost its luster among the couture class. The rest of us are laughing...and looking good doing it, too.
Has couture been killed by the mass marketing of designer clothes? Do you shop designer goods at K-Mart, Target and Penny's? Click below on "Comments" and tell us what's in your closet!