Fashionattitude: Don’t be a Snob. Buy American

July 5, 2011 • Fashionattitude, Magazine

Five American Designers You Should Have in Your Closet

I am a snob. And a suspicious, crotchety one. I don’t buy into trends and top-of-the-hour designers who get a ton of press for a couple of seasons. If I am going to invest in quality items then I want to know that the designer or brand is in it for the long haul, hopefully translating into a relationship with consumers that includes a de facto promise of quality and accountability.

If I am going to spend dollars or euros on designer goods they will be French and maybe Italian in origin. And I mean made in France, not exported to some other country where they can pay peanuts to workers sewing on luxe labels (for a more vivid and expert account please see “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster” by Dana Thomas).

But even old ladies such as myself have to confess that certain American designers have been catching my eye and appear to possess the qualities that produce an important, lasting legacy. These are five labels that might stand the test of time. What do you think?

1. Michael Kors (American fashion god and contemporary Ralph Lauren-esque brand-driven mogul)
Michael Kors Wool Crepe Jacket $1695, Matte Jersey Halter Bodysuit Halter $595 and Crepe Agyness Pants $895

2. Marc Jacobs (wunderkind who has been designing for years, but has his rapid expansion tarnished his vibe? Is there just TOO much Marc Jacobs to make it distinctive and consistent?)
Marc Jacobs Satin & Jersey Peplum Top $895 and Dotted Wool Flare Skirt $995

3. Proenza Schouler (I am placing at least one bet on them. Their style is consistent and not overdrawn. My advice: don’t try and become an uber-brand too fast.)
Proenza Schouler Peak Lapel Coat $2790, Cotton Wolf-Print Top $550 and Printed Pants $795

4. Donna Karan (Yes, she is a legend. Yes, I would consider her as a name that will be in the fashion history books. But I keep asking myself if her collections are worth, well, collecting. She, too, has expanded into home designs, etcetera and after awhile I start to get the feeling that I am swimming in stagnant design water.)
Donna Karan Three-Quarter Sleeve Draped Tunic $850, Lightweight Jersey Tee $495 and Matte Leggings $495

5. Prabal Gurung (I love his work, but I keep asking myself what is distinctive or fascinating about his work.  He seems to have paid his dues and is seriously invested in the industry. Still,  my hope is that his notoriety or creativity isn’t a flash in the pan).
Prabal Gurung Ruffle Sleeve Blouse $800 and Handkerchief Hem Skirt $1100

—Heatherbelle Bridgeview

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