RETAILWIRE DISCUSSION TOPIC
Payless Goes High Fashion on the Cheap– 2/7/08
High fashion for the masses, at least in footwear, has been on display up and down catwalks during New York Fashion Week as models have strutted their stuff wearing shoes from top designers that are Payless ShoeSource exclusives.“Payless’ vision is to democratize fashion,” said Matt Rubel, chief executive officer and president of Payless. “Our philosophy has been to find the young emerging talent, then bring it to our customer at affordable prices.”
Discussion questions: Will we see an increase in the number of high fashion designers who sign agreements with retailers serving the mass market? With the economy slowing, do you expect to see more luxury consumers trading down to designer clothing, footwear and accessories sold in outlets such as Payless?
New, fresh designer talents have many choices to consider today for their product placement. No longer is high-fashion reserved for Neiman’s and Saks. Target and Payless ShoeSource have rewritten the designer playbook by successfully signing exclusive designers and then doing a reasonable job a taking care of and nurturing these brands within an otherwise discount-oriented environment. The lower end of the luxury goods consumer group already shops in department stores and discounters. The slowing economy will increase the percentage of designer fashion purchased outside of the traditional luxury channels. But the truly wealthy will not be lured by Alice + Olivia at Payless. They’re not giving up their Christian Lacroix pumps or their Manolo Blahnik slingbacks.
Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist
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