For a long time, I have seen news outlets and magazines call items of clothing that cost $40 or more “affordable” and it really bugs me. For example, the limited edition line of clothing and household items that Missoni has offered through Target costs more than traditional Target clothing. I know that normally their items cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, but it still seems weird to consider the discounted clothing to be truly “affordable” for average consumers.
Yes, it is more affordable to pay the $59 for a Missoni dress being offered at Target than it would be to buy a higher quality version of the same dress through Bergdorf Goodman. That doesn’t mean, though, that the dress is truly affordable. We live in a society that has seen people of various incomes losing their jobs and, with the job loss, the income to afford to buy nicer clothing. If a family of four is having to struggle to pay for food or electricity, then is it reasonable to expect them to be able to pay such high prices for clothes that would be much cheaper if they didn’t have a luxury brand’s name on their tag?
I’m sure that these prices are affordable for people who haven’t been truly impacted by the economic issues that have hit the world. Average people, though, have been impacted. They have seen the job losses. They have seen the increases in interest rates on their mortgages and the increases in food prices. They have paid more for gas to get them to work, school, the doctor, etc. And these people still need to be able to afford clothing, so telling them that they can buy clothing by a major designer at a discount retailer and then telling them that the clothes will cost so much is almost cruel. It seems like the wonderful people of these luxury brands might be able to cut the costs just a bit more if they truly want their clothing to be available to the masses. Otherwise, they are just providing a discount for people who might already be able to buy some of their stuff.