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