Joining the carnival of celebrated designers for affordable prices, Duro Olowu and Prabal Gurung will both descend upon middle America with Spring ’13 collections full of printed splendor. Long before being featured on the cover of Front Row Daily during this New York Fashion Week, Olowu has been a personal favorite. In my opinion, there hasn’t been enough praise of his colorful, culturally referenced aesthetic and insertion of gorgeous pattern mixing (before everyone started doing it). The British-Nigerian designer received international accolades such as ‘Best New Designer’ at the 2005 British Fashion Awards, but this collaboration with JCPenney is a step toward introducing huge financial and commercial success – not only for the designer but for the retailer and their attempt to keep up with the ‘high-meets-low’ collaboration trend . JCP CEO Ron Johnson will certainly see more fashionable customers gracing his doors than ever before. Imagine ultra chic women like The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Chief Curator, Thelma Golden (also Olowu’s wife), shopping at the same retailer as Iowa soccer moms.
It’s no secret that Minneapolis based retail giant, Target was the pioneer for such collaborations, with the eponymous launch of the Isaac Mizrahi for Target collection. Back when I was Head Designer for that line, the challenge was bringing a runway vision at an affordable production cost, but by now Target has become an old pro and has since collaborated on one-off collections with a laundry list of designers. The optimistic nature of a Prabal Gurung collection has also been rooted in the prints and colors used from this Nepal native since he emerged on the scene with his own collection. In addition to his signature tropical florals, Gurung’s Target collection includes painterly pop prints, vibrant neon colors, downtown silhouettes, and leather trims – all at an affordable price point. With his collection going “live” just yesterday, key pieces have already sold out and the timing to launch during NYFW, with well-executed commercials and skilled PR, has only helped this cheery assortment fly off the shelves.