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Has the Demand for Designer Collaborations Gone Out of Control?


Empty racks of Missoni for Target | Photo Credit

As we’re sure most of you fashion-savvy readers already know, Missoni for Target launched earlier this month and caused what was, in a word, pandemonium.

Due to the high volumes of traffic for the Missoni collection, Target’s website crashed shortly after launching and remained down for most of the day. Those who were able to place orders, however, might not be receiving their items for another month due to all the demand, while others found out their orders had been inexplicably cancelled.

Things weren’t much better at Target stores, either. Customers were stealing from shopping carts, fighting over items and someone even received a death threat over a towel. (We’re not joking.) What were these people doing with all those Missoni for Target goods? It seems like many of them decided to resell them for profit.

Upon closer examination, this theory seems correct: There are currently over 20,000 Missoni for Target items up for grabs on eBay. While some are reasonably priced, most pieces are going for double, triple or even quadruple the original asking price. There’s even a woman trying to sell a pair of Missoni for Target rainboots for $31,000(!!!). That’s the equivalent of a brand new car, a semester of college tuition, or perhaps even a down payment on a house. Crazy!

This doesn’t seem to be a one-off scenario, either. Alexa Chung’s new Madewell collection launched last week and the demand caused the website to crash almost immediately. Once the site was back up, many items quickly sold out and — sure enough — some of those pieces were found on eBay for a marked-up price.

Of course, demand for limited-edition designer items has always been high (remember Cavalli for H&M?), but given that both the Missoni collection and Alexa Chung’s line weren’t expected to sell out fast, we’re wondering if this might be the future of designer collaborations. Has the demand for these limited-edition items gotten a little out of hand? And if so, why now?

Now, tell us what you think!

What are your thoughts on this subject? Are these collabs worth the hype? Why do you think these collections have been selling out so fast recently? Do you have any stories about the Missoni for Target launch? We want to know what you think, so leave a comment below and let’s discuss.

Posted on on September 26, 2011 / Filed Under: Fashion News / Tags: , , ,

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38 Responses to “Has the Demand for Designer Collaborations Gone Out of Control?”

  1. 1
    September 26th, 2011 at 10:14 am

    I remember trying to get to Target to buy Missoni. All it taught me was, in the future, to be a bad student and not go to class. However, I went to Macy’s that same night and they still had tons of Karl Lagerfeld Macy’s collection and that had debuted long before Missoni. I really think it gets down to the price and the advertising. The Missoni line was promoted almost everywhere. I saw it in a lot of magazines. But the selling point: The price. The Target line was so cheap. That’s what made me so excited to get my hands on them because I knew I could afford them. And I definitely didn’t buy anything from Karl Lagerfeld’s line because it was just out of my price range.

  2. 2
    September 26th, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I think this is beyond out of control, but the best part is that I think these designs are all ugly, personally I would never buy any of this stuff so it kind of makes me laugh; but that’s just my own opinion.

  3. 3
    September 26th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I’m going to get a lot of flack for this, but I don’t even like the Missoni for Target the slightest. I guess it’s completely not my style and the dizzy zig zags just don’t do it for me. It’s pretty sad that almost everything is being sold just to be resold on ebay at four, five, ten times the original price. To me, it just looks like desperation, only not in a good way.

  4. 4
    September 26th, 2011 at 11:01 am

    it’s weird how people actually think they can resell the items for that much, especially when the economy is as bad as it is. 31,000? that’s ridiculous. if you had that much money in the first place you wouldn’t be buying stuff from ebay or from designer collaborations – you’d just buy designer period.

  5. 5
    September 26th, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I agree with Margaret (on both accounts! I think this stuff is ugly as crap!!)

    I think it’s a little unfair that people are going out and buying all this stuff that people really want, at such a low price, just so they can resell it for a lot more. If you don’t want it for you, or to give as gifts, then stay the hell away! It’s bad enough that they’re buying high demand stuff that they don’t want, while someone who really does want it misses out, but to turn around and make a hefty profit off of something you had absolutely no hand in creating, isn’t only wrong, it should be illegal. These people are profiting more for just happening to be in the right place at the right time, then the people who actually created the item, and that doesn’t seem ethical to me. The whole situation kind of pisses me off, so thankfully I have never wanted anything in these collections badly enough to actually partake in obtaining them.

  6. 6
    September 26th, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Who will buy target product for double the price? Are these people re-selling on ebay making any sale?

  7. 7
    September 26th, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Some of these stories blow my mind. I think Missoni made a wise decision deciding to do this collaboration. I went to Target just the other day in Tennessee and I was surprised to see that almost all of the Missoni products were still in store… Perhaps there is not a huge Missoni following in the town I was in. Regardless of me not really being a fan on their new zig zag print I was very tempted to pick up a few items just because I knew it was selling out everywhere.

  8. 8
    September 26th, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I know that fashion is a matter of taste, but I don’t think these are cute at all. I think people get into a hivemindset of “oh, it’s so affordable, it’s such a good deal” (which I’m also guilty of) when normally they wouldn’t take a second look at a piece.

    And… I like Target, and I think it has clothes that are good for the price, but if you’re a dedicated shopper, you can find better clothes for less money by hitting sales. (Again, it depends on your idea of “better”. And I know some people who feel like shopping is a chore, which makes places like Target – where the clothes are cheap all the time – a good bet.)

  9. 9
    September 26th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    @Casey, why don’t we just abolish the free market all together and pass an Equalization of Opportunity bill? Then we can be rid of those pesky people that resell things that they didn’t create just because they thought of something we didn’t! We *deserve* it more than them! Oh wait, how many manufacuring companies actually sell straight to the end user? Sorry, I’ve said this before, but if people really want it that badly, they’ll pay for it or they’ll get to the stores in time.

    But hey, maybe I know nothing. Who is John Galt, anyway?

    (Sorry for the rant… I’m exaggerating with the Ayn Rand references, but seriously. Saying people shouldn’t be able to resell things is completely against the idea of a free market, something that this country was built on.)

  10. 10
    September 26th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    The best sollution to prevent people from buying out collaboration pieces and reselling it for the triple price is simply stop buying it for the triple price. If there were no demand for the overpriced ebay items, the ebay sellers would have to set their prices at some reasonable point. Those high prices are a clear sign that people went crazy and are willing to pay whatever the prices to get those clothes. And no matter how much I love fashion, those are just clothes. People scare me more and more.

  11. 11
    September 26th, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I personally really like this collection and bought a few things but did not resort to ebay’s crazy prices. I got up early, went to the store, and bought what was available. I also have been returning to target on occasion for the possibility of returns.

    I do think that Versace for H&M is going to be CRAZY. There has been quite a bit of hype and the stuff looks really cute.

  12. 12
    September 26th, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    This is out of control, but it’s also kind of fun. I was lucky enough to find the black suede heels and rainboots at my local Target. Am I in love with them? No. Is it fun to have them when everyone else wants them? Yes.

  13. 13
    September 26th, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    LOL…this has gone way beyond control IMHO. You gotta be crazy to be fighting or dying over this!! Common now..where is the common sense these days!!

  14. 14
    September 26th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I love the designer collabs, but like a lot of people, by the time I got to the store, the racks had been pillaged! It’s a great opportunity for people to buy “designer brands” at more approachable prices. However, the main issue is the people who hoard the merch and then try and rip everyone else off on eBay! :( There really should be a limit on how much you can buy in stores.

  15. 15
    September 26th, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    @ Jenny- I agree, there should be some kind of limit on how much you can buy. When I went to check out Missoni, I saw a woman loading all the comforter sets that were left (around 4 or 5) into her cart and I know they weren’t all for her.
    However, I did notice that Madewell is only allowing customers to buy two of each item for the Alexa Chung collection, which is definitely a good thing. Now if only Target could implement the same rule!

  16. 16
    September 26th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I saw some stuff that I wanted to get but it was still out of my price range. Then I realized people were reselling this stuff for thousands of dollars on Amazon..

  17. 17
    September 26th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    I highly agree with most of you girls. I thought the stuff was pretty bad. I honestly would rather buy Mossimo. I think Missoni was trying to go with the whole 60’s revival type of thing, but in my opinion, it just didn’t work. No offense to the hundreds of thousands of people that like/bought it, but it’s definitely not my style.

  18. 18
    September 26th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    I like chevron but not that much. I think the hype over Missoni for Target is generally quite silly. So it’s some colorful clothing and other items with zigzags and not otherwise special when you take away the label.

  19. 19
    September 26th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    The way I see it, is that yes this merchandise is “Missoni” , but it’s not Missoni. Many designers do collaborations with department stores, so people can be able to afford designer clothes for reasonable prices, now those same customers are taking advantage of it, and reselling these items on Ebay for outrageous prices; that they would not even pay for. What is this world coming to?

  20. 20
    September 26th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    the target collaboration was such a flop in terms of regulating the merchandise. i went to the store at 9 an hour after it opened everything was gone. i think if stores like target are going to do designer collaborations they should set aside a certain amount of the merchandise and keep the rest in the back, so they can filter it out on an hour or so basis. this way the customers will be able to get a fair amount of merchandise and every one will be happy. plus there would be less death threats! haha

  21. 21
    September 26th, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Id rather pay for a real Missoni rather than a Missoni for Target more than quadruple the price

  22. 22
    September 26th, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    It is disappointing people are so selfish to buy and upsell on ebay. I was looking forward to Missoni for Target since I heard about it months ago, and after trying the website at 9am that day and failing I quickly gave up. What was even more frustrating was the never ending television ads even days after the products were sold out.

  23. 23
    September 26th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    went into the store yesterday and found a black felt wide brimmed floppy hat.
    Only Missoni thing left in the store

  24. 24
    September 26th, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    While I happen to love the 60’s=esque Missoni for Target zigzag dresses I saw only in the lookbook, I of course never even had the opportunity to see them in a store. This was vaguely disappointing, but not crushing.

    Overall, I think this is correlated to various interesting trends in the modern fashion economy. I’ve heard it called “the Kate [Middleton] effect” that everything the Duchess of Cambridge wears sells out within days, often online. Why did people mob Missoni for Target? It came out on the internet, was publicized through Facebook, lookbooks, blogs like this one, and personal blogs. I theorize that the locus of real consumer pull in the fashion industry is shifting dramatically. How many people really buy what struts down designer runways, even RTW collections? People increasingly follow personal style blogs. Consumers increasingly take their visual cues of what to wear from street style photos. People buy things based on links provided in the articles and adds they read online. Online-only retailers like Modcloth grow by leaps and bounds. I think a large part of this is a sort of technologically-driven democratization of fashion, despite the “designer” label. Why do you think designers are making mainstream collections in the first place? The real market, the potential for profit, is clearly lower down than the runway would have you believe. (Ideas and words are all my own, and related to my collegiate academic interests – please ask before quoting or reposting.)

  25. 25
    September 26th, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    Glad I’m not the only one who was not so crazy about Missoni’s target line! And honestly, if I were able to get my hands on it, I would def be selling the clothing rather than wearing it.

  26. 26
    September 27th, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I work at Target and the debut day was crazy. I heard that a fight broke out near the kids’ Missoni clothes (come on!) Oh and btw an item limit wouldn’t work, people would just make a bunch of separate purchases to get around it, and hold up the lines even more in the process. But I do agree that reselling clothes for more than their sticker price should be illegal. :/

  27. 27
    September 27th, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I feel like maybe 2 of my group of friends (20-22 years old pretty much) had even heard the name Missoni before the Target collaboration. I think people hear “designer collaboration” and go nuts without even having any appreciation for the original designer.

  28. 28
    September 27th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    hahaha wow this is crazy. there is still a ton of missoni at my target. Probably because I go to school in a small town. There are tons of fashionistas at my school though so I’m curious as to why there wasn’t as much (or any) hype here… In fact I just bought some Missoni headbands two days ago. Honestly, they were pretty much the only pieces in the line that I liked, and a few pairs of the shoes were cute too… I could probably go back and get them.

  29. 29
    September 27th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I think some of the pieces are cute, but I bought things for my niece because I think it is super cute for kids.

  30. 30
    September 27th, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    Really Christen?! That was rude. I wasn’t talking about the free market, I was talking about ethics.

    I just started working for Target, today actually, and it was the first time I’ve been in the store since the line hit. I was extremely surprised to discover that everything was still in stock, especially since the Target I work for is right next to my University, and in a very high end/ fashionable mall. Like Kellan ^ there are a lot of fashionistas at my school, but it wasn’t very surprising that they aren’t wearing this stuff. I still say it’s all ugly as sin, and looks cheap. If it wasn’t Missoni, it wouldn’t sell.

  31. 31
    September 27th, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I had been waiting all summer for this collection/collab. I mainly wanted some cute new towels and make-up brushes. Then I saw a sneak peak at the look book and wanted it all.

    I arrived at my local Target about an hour early, thinking that would be plenty good… oh was I WRONG… there was a swarm of people already waiting and when the doors opened I swear it was like the Toys R Us toyrun sweepstakes, do you remember that?

    Anyways… it was chaos! Ladies were running through the start, a cart in each hand… litterally! They were just swooping everything into thier cart. IT WAS INSANITY! I quickly walked over to where the towels would have been… empty! THE CULPRIT: middle aged woman, double carter… she had an entire shopping cart full of towels, bedding and rugs! Her other cart was filled with I dont know probobly 100 clothing/accesory items as well as 20 of the rainboots!

    I couldn’t believe it! I have to admit, I was one of the crazies who decided to try my luck at getting there early to grab some of my favorites (which I did…after 3 seperate target visits)

    All in all… it wasn’t really worth the upset. The items that I wanted most were sold out before I even had a chance to view them in person….

  32. 32
    September 27th, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    DWL! this is soo hilarious!

  33. 33
    September 28th, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    It is madness! You can buy the real thing for less then what they are selling it for on ebay. Then again the prices for these designers are out of control as well. There is a point when it goes past being mell made and you are just simply buying the label. Middle America wants the label, and well apparently they will cause a website to crash if that’s what it takes. i predict the same for Versace for H + M.

  34. 34
    September 28th, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    All I know is that I would definitely not go on Ebay and pay thousands of dollars for a Target item. If i wanted to pay that much, I’d just buy something from Missoni’s high end line.

  35. 35
    September 29th, 2011 at 10:17 am

    I am so pleased that you wrote this article. I love that fashion brands are willing to make their designs available to everyone. As a college student I couldn’t get enough! Even so, somehow I’m just over it. Perhaps it’s that fact that I like to dress uniquely. When everyone has a certain piece of clothing I don’t want it at all, even if it is Missoni.

  36. 36
    September 29th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Seeing what happened with Target, I think that they should have set a limit of how many of each item each person can buy. I read stories of how one person would grab everything off a rack to resell on eBay. Allowing people to do that is unfair to everyone else.

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