Not too long ago we flashed the news about Vera Wang's collection for Wisconsin-based department store Kohl's - a far cry from the designer's concrete jungle of NYC. A recent article in the NY Times revealed some interesting challenges the queen of bridal couture is facing with her midmarket retail endeavor.
The most obvious concern with creating mass market collections is that it undermines their prestige amongst affluent customers. They cited Halston as the classic example, who was dropped by luxury retailers after signing a deal for a line at J.C. Penney (remember them?!). However, times have changed and after cheaper lines at H&M for Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney, to name a couple, I don't think Chanel or Stella's reputations have suffered. Then again, I am not (yet) an affluent customer. Vera feels this risk was outweighed by the resources and business expertise Kohl's brings to the table.
The other challenge was that Vera simply needs mo' money. She has reached a crossroads after her business rapidly grew and she lacks the resources, ie. cash, to keep expanding. A lesser known fact is that designers need a lot of funding to keep afloat. Wang puts it, "We need a lot more to play in the sandbox, so to speak." She reached out to Kohl's in an effort to keep her business bountiful.
Lastly, perfectionism has a price when exploring new territory. Wang had a hard time adjusting to the requirement of producing fewer styles in greater quantities. No more chucking extravagant fabric that isn't perfect to the curb Vera! The good news is compromise was achieved and a gold brocade skirt that is a $68 replica of a $890 one from her Fall collection made the cut. Yay!
Sorry for the long update but I thought all of this was very interesting since we're in the midst of a high-low fashion revolution. Look out for Simply Vera at Kohl's stores in September.