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February 20, 2013

Sarah Stright-Hartley: Are you excited about fashion designer collaborations?

NEW CASTLE — One thing the majority of us cannot afford is designer clothing — at least not on a regular basis.

I drool over magazine pages, admiring the quality of the designer goods, knowing that they won't be enjoying the warmth of my closet any time soon. The fairly recent trend of designer collaborations between higher names and "inexpensive" lines have brought these goods to the mass market and allowed the rest of us the chance to get a taste of the luxury.  

Though not produced in the designers’ typical quality, these items still lend us the chance of fantasy.  

Target has always been one of the most successful retail stores to take on this challenge. They introduced designers such as Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, and Missoni. However, the last two collaborations — between 24 designers with collections in Neiman Marcus and Prabal Gurung — have not sold quite as well as these collaborations once did.

This begs the question: Are designer collaborations a thing of the past? Do consumers not want this little piece of the fantasy? Or are they simply not offering customers pieces that they want?

To the right, you can see some items from the recent Target-Prabal Gurug launch. The bold colors and mirror print designs are very on trend for spring and the price tags were still within Target prices. I picked up one dress from the line (though the color and style is a bit out of my comfort zone) and I am excited to give it a shot this spring.

Each time one of these collaborations is announced, consumers are known to stand in line waiting for the stores to open just like "Black Friday." I have personally never jumped into one of these lines, preferring to search online if any of the items piques my interest (such as my recent dress purchase).  

For the most part, I've let the collaborations go untouched. H&M is another retailer who does an outstanding job with designer collaborations but I am even less inclined to buy from these limited edition lines — mainly because the prices are still too high.  

So, how many of you really enjoy these collaborations? Do you stand in line waiting for the launches? Or do you not even notice when a new collaboration is announced?

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