A friend of mine was recently approached to head up the company of a super cheap fashion brand but after leaving a far more expensive brand he said “yeah but it’s so cheap, what would I do with it?” I fired back “are you serious, what wouldn’t you do with it?”
We went on to have this fabulous conversation about how things had changed dramatically over the last decade purely and simply because even those that once had plenty of cash, just don’t anymore.
Perfect example of this was late last year, at the birthday lunch of a very chic social woman who gathered together 50 of her friends to celebrate. Now, aside from my good self and a small handful of others, these women are always immaculately dressed and are perceived to have the best of the best when it comes to everything.
Somehow, one woman asked another about where she got her scarf and when she replied “Chanel” the rest of the group ended up in an affectionate joke asking her if she’d dropped something, meaning, she’d dropped a name which clearly has begun to be seen as more out of reach than perhaps half a dozen years ago. Any expensive, once aspirational fashion labels worn at the birthday became part of the ongoing joke of the day which really proved to me one thing, high end brands are not as necessary anymore and cheap is the new chic which will not crush your status anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, there are so many brands I’d love to have in my closet that I simply can’t afford but I have learnt from my mother who was way ahead of her time as the single mum having to make the best of what she had, if it looks good and it costs bugger all then how cool is that?
My mum always had friends decked out in designer brands but she was never embarrassed to say when asked what she had on that she’d gone it somewhere and it was seriously dirt-cheap and I love that I’m seeing this same attitude within all sorts of money bracket types.
Target was one of the first genius brands that recognised through perhaps their sales figures showed that people who once wouldn’t be seen dead going into Target were now sneaking in the door.
They recognised that big designers like Stella McCartney, Roberto Cavalli, Collette Dinnigan and others were having to roll with the financial times so why not approach them to do a great range and an affordable price? And they did and it hasn’t hurt any of their brands. It’s probably helped them survive.
The great thing too for brands within Australian is that celebrities are also feeling the financial crunch which means that there’s a heap of them flapping around more than willing to do a deal for a lot less than you’d think. Having a celebrity bring some sort of identity to a brand is a clever way to go. If it’s someone you like, then you’ll take notice and if it’s a brand that might need a well-known clotheshorse to show you that it can actually look good, despite the bargain price then that’s surely a major win-win for us all.
Local iconic brand Harris Scarfe’s PR team, lead by Chris Kontos, haven’t wasted any time in getting savvy about the cheap is chic phenomenon by hiring gorgeous Kyly Clarke to show off their affordable range. A genius move to have someone marries to a cricket legend, who probably can afford designer pieces but by representing Harris Scarfe women’s wear shows there is nothing to be ashamed of in spending small no matter who you are.
Surely if it looks good and you’re guilt free, then what on earth’s wrong with that? And if you’re the type terrified you’ll lose some social status, good news is you won’t, so stop being so bitchy to that lovely $20 note.
IS CHEAP REALLY CHIC OR ARE YOU STILL A BRAND GIRL? OR WERE YOU ALWAYS ?