No matter the time period or style, wedding dresses have been considered the crowning jewel of a ceremony. Whether it was Queen Victoria changing the wedding world with her introduction to white in the 1840’s, Princess Diana invigorating imaginations with her puffy, dramatic masterpiece in the 1980’s or Kate Middleton exemplifying fundamental grace with lacey sleeves and fitted bodice, fashionistas and their dreamy wedding dresses have taken center stage in domestic fantasies. Women have always been willing to match high prices to feel like a princess – after all, we’ve all seen brides break down in ecstatic tears as they find the perfect gown on shows like Say Yes to the Dress and Four Weddings. With the average American wedding dress averaging $1,211 in 2012 and the overall event costing $25,660, it seems like this mentality shows no sign of slowing. However, there has been the emergence of a movement of top designers collaborating with retailers to offer their dresses for less. Fashion innovators like Vera Wang and Zac Posen have teamed up with affordable retailers, like David's Bridal to offer dresses that are much more affordable than their other collections. Is this smart business or are they diluting their image? While only time will tell, here are some of the reasons behind this undertaking:
1) More accessible to the masses. Yes, one of the reasons we lust after high-end designers is the idea that they are exclusive. However, just because we hunger after their product doesn’t mean that most of us will actually buy them. “I’m going to be able to really bring clothes to women I could never dress before,” Vera Wang commented. Wang and many other designers seem to have found the perfect in-between to do so, as the gowns are no longer out of the question for brides who have never touched the red carpet. After all, one of Vera Wang’s simpler dresses starts at $3,500, and the more elaborate gowns can cost as much as $30,000. By offering separate lines at a much lower price point, designers can reach a deeper pool of potential buyers. By partnering up with established outside retailers, they can keep these lines separate from their flagship, elite name.
2) Greater Range of Sizes. As any plus-sized woman can vouch for, most upscale boutiques do not carry heavier dress sizes because there is simply less of a demand. By partnering with retailers that are lauded for their willingness to flatter voluptuous curves, designers are able to broaden their range and, as with the prices, cater to a larger group of women. Zac Posen committed to David’s Bridal, and with that is providing their bridal assortment more options for plus size women. The Truly Zac Posen “designs are meant to enhance and celebrate the beauty of a woman’s curves.”
3) Free Publicity. Fashion is a cutthroat industry – what may be hot one year may be long forgotten by the next. Therefore, designers are constantly battling to be the first to revel in new styles and be memorable for their uniqueness. When high-brow designers team up with average retailers, it is shocking and newsworthy; publications and social media channels are suddenly chattering up a storm about this unexpected move, keeping the brand in the spotlight and potentially turning it into a household name. Designers like Johanna Hehir and Monique Lhuillier have taken the leap and, so far, the response has been positive.Just because a designer gown is now accessible to a wider demographic does not mean the gowns miss a beat on originality. Designers have incorporated various modern, vintage, rustic, and romantic styles into their pieces so that every bride can feel unique. Before you know it, you’ll be walking down the aisle in the same designer as your favorite celebrity. The collaboration between high end designer and affordable retailer truly opens a lot of doors for both the designer and the consumer.
This post was created in collaboration with Destiny Howdburn. Check out her bio below.
Author Bio: Destiny Howdburn has continued to be addicted to weddings ever since her own celebration in the summer of 2008. Destiny prides herself on her wardrobe and loves to watch hilarious 80's flicks with her husband, Thomas, and her dog, Samson.