Payless Launching Designer Shoe Line

Payless is jumping on the bandwagon of designer for less and launching a new line of designer footwear by relatively unknown designer Laura Poretzk, of the NYC based sportswear line, Abaete.

The company has tapped Laura Poretzky, founder and designer for the contemporary, two-year-old sportswear Abaete, to create the line. It will include four styles—the “Sky” boot, “Casey” flat, “Oliver” pump and the “Luke” evening sandal. Each silhouette will include a range of colors, fabrics and details including polka dots, stitching and bows. Price points will range between $20 and $40, slightly above average Payless shoes, which ring in at $14 or less.

You may ask yourself why are all these designers, who before would have shuddered at the thought of our “non-monied” hands touching their precious frocks,  rushing to produce lines for the Targets, Wal-Marts, Payless’ of the world? Well.. it’s all about the Benjamins (and Jacksons), baby.  Most designers make little to no money off their higher end lines (watch the fashion documentary “Seamless” and hear Vogue darlings Proenza Schouler discuss how there line was making no money, even AFTER being all up in Vogue). Strangely, this populist approach to fashion actually helps keeps the elitism afloat. It’s the dollars you spend at H&M, Target, etc. that feed these designers.

Case in point:  Yesterday I was having dinner with two of my favorite people—one a very well known fashion blogger and the other a well known editor at a big time fashion publication.  We were all dressed in things we bought at Target, Filenes, Forever 21, etc. because many editors—I’m talking about editors at magazines like Essence, Redbook, Marie Claire, WWD, etc.—shop at the very same stores you do.  In between tofu hot dogs and dairy free tiramisu, we some how got on the topic of designers joining the mass market fray. We started to talk about the latest designer entry into the mass market fold and how this designer previously stated how she felt that the mass market trend was destroying fashion, those who can’t afford to pay for quality, don’t deserve quality, etc, etc. Now the designer is coming out with a line at your favorite mass market store because “those who can afford quality” apparently can’t help her keep her company afloat.

On another Payless related note, Patricia Fields, style visionary of ‘Sex and the City’ fame, was recently quoted in a Fashion Wire Daily article stating that “one of my best clients is Payless. They’re really a company that is on the move. I’ve been doing their advertising campaigns and TV commercials.”


Thanks to my girl at Fashionalities for the tip


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  1. says

    This is a great post, very insightful I think.  As admittedly unrealistic as Carrie’s shoe spending was on S & the City, I think a lot of women bought into that.  That’s why my favorite episode was when Carrie realizes she spent $40,000 on shoes and says,“I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes”!( I did a women’s finance blog series on that show!) Shoes like these Payless designer shoes allow us girls to be fashionable while helping us get ahead in our finances (so we can one day be the few who suport the high end industry if we so choose! lol)

  2. Anonymous says

    oh my god, who is this designer? i’d like to know so that i won’t be spending any money on his/her stuff!

  3. Marcie says

    I love posts like these – thanks for the buzz! I wonder WHY those super high-end lines don’t make any money? Is it because the shoes themselves are too expensive? Is it that the super-rich are as budget-minded as I am?

  4. Giselle says

    Being fashionable is not based on the brand or the price you pay but how you put it all together.  I have always surprised my friends when they find out that I don’t aways spent alot to look good.  Of course there is a correlation to the price you pay and the quality that you get.  But if the item that you are buying is very trendy and won’t carry you through a couple of fashion seasons I aways suggest to my friends to buy cheap and buy expensive for classic items which will last longer fashion wise.
    As for most highend designers making very little money that is true because how many people can afford a 1400 dollar dress on a daily basis, not many.  That is why established highend designers like Armani, Donna Karen, Calvin Klein and many others have bridge lines (cheaper lines like DKNY, A/X) and licensing contracts because that is where the money is at.  They can sell millions of their lowerend line and make more than selling a few of their very expensive runway line.

  5. Anonymous says

    These are so great! I went into Payless to get them the other day, and they were sold out! Does anybody know how I can get a hold of these these $20 beauties?

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