Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TheOutnet Conspiracy

theOutnet.com, the kid sister of the luxury e-commerce site NET-A-PORTER.com, calls itself the "most fashionable fashion outlet devoted to selling discounted designer womenswear and accessories." Natalie Massenet, Founder and Chairman of NET-A-PORTER, couldn't be more correct when she said "Great fashion won't disappear - it will go to theOutnet!" Although "designed for the most fashionable people around," the Outnet not only consistently sports outdated wear on its website, but it falsely advertizes said wear as in-season.
Let's take a look at Marc Jacobs...
Marc Jacob's fall/winter 2009 runway show was a throw back, to the 80s that is. Style.com described the show as "neon-hued, big-shouldered, crimpy-haired eighties antidote to the gloom and doom of 2009." So what is this dress doing in 2010?
While the pink and green cartoon-printed cocktail dress didn't appear in its entirety on the runway, its pattern is unmistakenly fall 2009: if the identical bubble-pink color isn't enough for you, look no further than the print on the model's scarf.
Need more proof? The following dress IS look 39 from the fall 2009 show, notice that the dress is listed under the "summer benefit" section.
The saying goes that beggars can't be choosers and as un-stylish as it may sound, theOutnet caters to the beggars of the fashion world. But perhaps more applicable is the economic principal of price discrimination; the principal accounts for the selling of a good at different prices to different consumers depending on how much they are willing to pay. Let's look at the publishing industry as an example: traditionally, a book comes out in hardcover first, at the highest price, so price-insensitive customers, whose thrift is outstripped by their impatience, are enticed to shell out. Thrift vs. impatience.
With the rise of the internet, anybody can access runway shows at the click of a button hours after they've debuted in New York, London, Milan or Paris, but even the wealthiest of customers (apart from celeberties who don't even buy the clothes, they borrow them) must wait at least 6 months before the clothes are avaliable for purchase in stores (although pre-order turns the whole game on its head). Impatience must surely build among the masses. But choosing between paying one's rent and that must-have $1,895 Marc Jacobs frock seems hardly a question of thrift, in fact the choice seems quite obvious to me.

After waiting a season, that is.
Special thanks goes to blogger Fashion Prospectress. By the time I had gotten around to filing this post theOutnet had taken down the much crucial "Going to a Party?" section, but luckily Fashion Prospectress has blogged about it!

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