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21st century fashion industry blurs lines

There was once a day when the hierarchy within the fashion world was crystal clear.Budget fashion meant Kmart. Department stores sold ‘cookie-cutter’ styles and only within a certain price range. Boutiques were the place to find clothiers no one had ever heard of and designer fashions were untouchable by the commoner.Were I a time traveler from that time, I would be mortified by the inadvertent blurring of clean silhouettes and perfectly tailored lines. However, as frugal fashion-elle, I am quite fascinated with this progressive change, a change that will no doubt affect the fashion industry forever.In this new era, several high-end designers began creating (for the first time) ready-to-wear lines for mass production and websites like Rue-la-la and 6pm.com began offering the likes of Fendi and Calvin Klein for a fraction of original cost.Department stores bought into ready-to-wear lines. The turnout was so fantastic that huge retailers started to get in on the action. MileyCyrus/MaxAzria for Wal-Mart features super cute shirts at great prices. Proenza Schouler (a designer whose bags can cost several grand a pop) has created a line for Target, Vera Wang for Kohl’s and Christian Siriano (recently discovered Project Runway contestant) for Payless Shoes. Why would these designers take such a step?There is controversy, for sure. Some say it is a great way for consumers who cannot afford couture to obtain their favorite designers and for designers to create more consumer loyalty. Others argue that such a business decision simply cheapens the commodity of designer clothing and in some cases has been detrimental to designer reputation.What do I think? The snob in me shakes her head and says, “Tsk, tsk. What is this world coming to?” The real me-the one who lives on a tight budget-says “Right on. Now we can ALL look fabulous!”When it comes to Fendi sunglasses on Rue-la-la.com and $15 Free People tops (albeit so outdated they are almost vintage) from Marshalls, I have no complaints. The Zac Posen dress I saw for sale (on sale) at Target? It was cute but I suppose if I want designer, I want the real deal. Now if only I could afford it......Next we will be seeing Kirstie Kelly wedding dresses at Costco. Seriously, they are coming!

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