The United States’ shaky economy has left college students in a tough position. The precarious economic condition has reduced paychecks and made jobs a scarcity, leaving scholars as the butt of a not-so-funny joke.
With a miniscule amount of spending money, it’s difficult to find fashionable, quality-made clothing that is inexpensive. Designers, however, have made a dramatic change to adjust to the current economy by creating more affordable product lines.
Rather than focusing on runway and red carpet-ready couture, the fashion industry has begun to create clothing for average-income shoppers. Beginning with Target’s collaboration with Isaac Mizrahi in 2002, the superstore chain has become a figurative mecca of “luxury to low cost” lines. The Olsen twins designed a clothing line for J.C. Penney Co., with items priced in stark contrast to the sisters’ other high-end fashion line, Elizabeth and James. Singer Miley Cyrus has teamed with designer Max Azria to create an affordable preteen fashion line for Walmart. Kohl’s works with famous designer Vera Wang to create affordable clothing and accessories that are easily available to women across the country. Even the international store H&M has produced a few collaborations with high-end fashion designers , such as Lanvin and Jimmy Choo.
Fall seems to have spurred an influx of even more affordable fashion lines. Last month, Sears welcomed the sassy Kardashian sisters with a line full of sequined blazers and jumpsuits. Jennifer Lopez graduated from velour sweatsuits and Timberland booties to create a more classic and urban line of clothing, accessories and decor with Kohl’s, out next Wednesday. The beloved Italian brand Missoni is bringing its famous zigzag pattern to Target on Sept. 13 for an anticipated launch of more than 400 products, from baby clothes to bikes. Brian Atwood, praised by celebrities for his expensive sky-high heels, launched his more affordable “B by Brian Atwood” shoe line last month. Even Karl Lagerfeld, the head of Chanel, is launching a line of affordable women’s fashion at Macy’s this month.
Considering shrinking paychecks, the question arises: Are these truly “affordable” clothing lines? The Kardashians have created clothes that run almost exclusively for $99, a steep price for polyester and pleather. Lopez seems to have followed suit by pricing some of her items at more than $100. Though the Missoni line incorporates many facets of everyday life, some items are pricier, such as the $400 bikes and $50 thin cardigan sweaters. B Brian Atwood’s “affordable” shoes are priced from around $200 to $600. Finally, though the Lagerfeld line is made from high-quality fabrics, the prices can reach into the hundreds.
Should consumers be forced to spend so much money on quality clothes, and are these prices really considered affordable? Rather than accept ill-fitting and poorly manufactured clothing as the norm, shoppers should expect a higher standard without having to shell out hundreds of dollars.