It used to be that designing for anything but a name brand retailer was looked down upon in the fashion world. Things changed in 2004 when H&M launched their first designer capsule collection with Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld. The collection was a sell-out, as all successive H&M budget collections have also been. Since then, many designers have launched budget versions of their upscale lines, as well as partnered with low budget retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Kohl's to bring fashion to the mass-market at affordable prices. The latest frontier in designer deals isn't the brick and mortar stores, but the combination of TV programming and online shopping. Enter QVC, the worldwide home shopping into the fashion fray. The shopping behemoth has long sold established designers like Marc Bouwer and Isaac Mizrahi. For Spring 2012, they signed more designers including Geren Ford, Cynthia Vincent, Rachel Pally, Fern Mallis and Karen Zambois. QVC offers the new designer lines in both regular and plus sizes.
Cynthia Vincent, (Twelfth Street) has gone the budget fashion route before with a 2010 shoe collection that was a sell-out at Target. So why partner with QVC on a fashion line, when her clothes are selling well at Bloomingdales and Nordstrom's for several hundred dollars an item? That's what I asked Ms. Vincent. "I am excited to bring my design work to a new audience through QVC. What is exciting is that the QVC customer is diverse and engaging," says Cynthia Vincent. "By going directly to her, I am able to see what exactly is resonating. Immediately it allows me to be more inclusive by offering a wider range of fits, sizing and price points." Ms. Vincent is well-known for adding vintage touches to her collections. Her QVC collection offers many of her signature touches. The CV ruffle front maxi dress (the collection's best seller) offers vintage inspired buttons which the designer asked the QVC team to replicate. On air, she has complimented the QVC design team on their skill in adding the faux gemstone accents to the garment. Although her dresses are selling well for QVC, viewers have offered a wide range of comments, not all of them complimentary. To QVC's credit, both the likes and dislikes are displayed in the user reviews of her collection, helping QVC shoppers to pick wisely. Ms. Vincent's CV black dress with embellished back band is one item that has solicited mixed reviews. The dress sold out during the initial launch of the collection, but has since been restocked.
Like Ms. Vincent, Los Angeles designer Rachel Pally choose to do a capsule collection for QVC baring her initials, simply called "RP." The collection features her trademark maxi dresses and cocoon shrugs. The one shoulder "rolling waves maxi" dress Ms. Pally designed for her QVC debut just a few weeks ago is already sold out, despite many reviewers expressing the opinion that it was "too long" in length. Like Ms. Vincent, Ms. Pally thought QVC would bring her designs to a broader market. "I decided to work with QVC because it is an amazing opportunity to make my designs accessible to women everywhere," notes Ms. Pally. "As a designer who prides herself on making clothing to fit every woman, it's very exciting to be able to reach a broader audience by offering great style at an affordable price point. QVC is an incredible company and I'm proud to be a part of their team!" Some of Ms. Pally's QVC designs sell for less that $50.00 US. Her signature rayon/spandex maxi dresses are selling briskly for under $100.00 US. All items in the RP collection are labeled "best sellers on the QVC site."
Both designers will return to the QVC airwaves soon to show their spring collections. Rachel Pally is scheduled to appear April 20 at 10 PM EST. Cynthia Vincent is scheduled to appear on May 11 at 10 p.m. EST. As always, QVC will feature interaction with consumers via live Tweeting and telephone calls from viewers during the programs. That real-time feedback is one unique aspect of QVC that has become as distinctive as their designer collection.