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The Best Discount Designer Lines

vera-wang-style-design-1.jpgFinally, a silver lining! Since the economy, you know, tanked, discount is no longer a dirty word! I guess $3000 tank dresses just aren’t selling like they used to. Designer clothing, once a hallmark of the fashion elite, is now being made available to us budget fashionistas.

Top designers are creating lines for discount retailers, and we, the people, are reaping the benefits. Cutting edge, current fashion lines at affordable prices were once a rarity, but in recent months, they are more popular and fabulous than ever. Thank God. We’ve got tuition to worry about, and now we can look awesome doing it. Here are some of the most Fabu-Less lines on the market today!

Isaac Mizrahi partnered with Target to create a line of the great, ladylike pieces (sheath dresses, killer blazers, etc.) his couture line was known for, and it was such a hit that Mizrahi’s line has lasted for years as a fixture at Target stores nationwide.

Target, home of geniuses, apparently, is also the home of GO! International, my FAVE of all discount designer lines. Its motto? “Design for all”! Its gimmick? Each season, a new designer steps in to design a line for Target, adding fresh color and perspective to the clothing department. Currently on the racks? Thakoon, an incredible young Thai designer, with a line full of fun colors, inventive cuts, and flattering silhouettes. Totally worth throwing some elbows for – and these lines are so popular that you just might have to.

Discount Swedish clothier H&M has had a similar guest-designer philosophy, beginning with Karl Lagerfeld, in 2002, which caused a rush on stores that the line sold out within days. Next up was fashion It Girl, Stella McCartney, followed by lines from Comme des Garcons, Viktor & Rolf, and Roberto Cavalli. These are not fashion lightweights we’re dealing with here, people. These are the Gods of couture, descended from Olympus to give you and I the likes of these fashion gems.

Vera Wang, who branched out from her most-successful-wedding-designer-of-all-time niche to create her fantastic “Simply Vera” line, sold at Kohl’s. She designs everything – accessories, bags, clothes, you name it – and everything has her hallmark class and elegance. This plaid, shirred dress for $39?! Yes, please.

A list of discount stores certainly wouldn’t be complete without Wal Mart, and the retail giant certainly wasn’t going to miss out on this fashion trend. Enter Norma Kamali, designer of awesome casual, comfortable chic that is beyond affordable. Jersey dresses are my personal fave, along with these super cute zodiac t-shirts!

I have to throw in Michael Kors, him of designer resort wear and Project Runway fame, for his discount line at Macy’s. It’s really cute, but I can’t give it a whole-hearted endorsement because really, it’s not THAT cheap. If it’s still pricier than say, Club Monaco, I’m not really interested. $120 for an oversized cardigan? Sorry, Michael.

And there you have it! The best of the best of the cheapest designer clothes. If you love fashion of the moment as much as I do, but don’t have thousands to drop on the newest looks each season, these lines are worth their weight in silk-jersey knit. Vigilance is key, since these lines, especially the one-time guest designers, often sell out in a snap. Keep your ears open, and your eyes on the fashion blogs (like us!) and you’ll score some killer high-fashion duds in no time.

  • Gemma - NYUCOLLEGECANDY Writer