Do Macy’s Lines Cheapen Designer Brands?

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Photo: Shanna Ravindra

More and more labels are signing deals with Macy's to do exclusive collections for the department store. P. Diddy recently ginned up some paperwork for a Sean John Macy's exclusive. Tommy Hilfiger and Diesel Jeans also have exclusive Macy's lines, according to the Post. And though they won't admit it to the paper, Hugo Boss, which is known for its high-end men's suits, will supposedly launch an exclusive Macy's line next year called White Label. This is reportedly part of Hugo Boss CEO Claus-Dietrich Lahrs's five-year plan to double U.S. business, which is hard to do as long as they stay confined to stores like Saks and Nordstrom.

Brushing off concerns that a lower-priced line could tarnish Hugo Boss's cachet, Lahrs is "going after Ralph Lauren," and mimicking the American fashion icon's strategy of pursuing middle-market shoppers in addition to wealthy ones, according to a source close to the label.


But what effect, if any, do these lines have on the high-end business? Will the guy that bought an expensive Hugo Boss suit from Saks feel like a dumb schmuck when his friend gets one from Macy's for less, because his friend's suit is cheaper and its mere existence reduces the specialness of his own? Ralph Lauren has been able to maintain the mystique of its high-end collection while dominating, like, Dillard's. But fashion, a slave to extremes, loves things that are either Bergdorf or Target — but not much in between.

Meet the new Boss [NYP]