The Height of Fashion Marketing

Last night at a glamorous event for fashion press and insiders, Kate Moss launched her first 90-piece fashion collection, Kate Moss Top Shop, at Barneys in New York. The collection went on sale to the public this morning.

The hype had been building all week after the launch of Kate Moss Top Shop in London last Monday night drew thousands to the Oxford Street flagship store.

Kate Moss Top Shop, a multimillion-dollar fashion brand designed by Kate Moss for the London high street chain, is a collaboration between Sir Phillip Green, the fifth richest man in Britain, and Moss, the world's most famous supermodel and style icon.

Green, the owner of the Arcadia Group, the parent company of Top Shop, and other high-street chains including Topman, Burton, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins, calls his new partnership with Moss "the best signing on the planet."

Last year Moss earned a reported $10 million for her role as supermodel spokesperson for the world's top fashion houses including Burberry, Longchamp, Stella McCartney and Calvin Klein. Now, with a royalty agreement in place, she'll concentrate on marketing her own line too.

"Masstige is a $660 billion industry in the U.S. alone with a 10 percent growth rate year on year," Michael J. Silverstein, a Chicago-based senior partner with the Boston Consulting Group told ABC News.

Silverstein, the author of "Trading Up: Why Consumers Want New Luxury Goods—and How Companies Create Them" and "Treasure Hunt: Inside the Mind of the New Consumer," explained "masstige" as "goods that occupy a sweet spot between mass and class." They appeal most "to middle-market consumers (those earning $50,000 and above in annual income) who are trading up to higher levels of quality and taste."

Why Masstige Is the New Black

In fashion industry terms, masstige had a slow beginning. The first sign of a high-low collaboration, as they are also called, was Halston's partnership with JC Penny in 1982. It took another 21 years before Isaac Mizrahi launched his range for Target in August 2003.

Things speeded up in 2005 when H&M partnered with Karl Lagerfeld to design an enormously successful one-off capsule collection and quickly followed it with a collection by Stella McCartney.

Not surprisingly, Target expanded its existing fashion offering in the first quarter of 2006 with the GO program of limited-edition collections by internationally renowned "guest" designers, beginning with British designer Luella Bartley.

"While we don't share sales forecasts or specific numbers, this program has far exceeded our expectations," said Amy von Walter, a Target spokesperson.

Target also sets up Pop Up stores in cities like New York, Los Angeles and Paris so that fashionable consumers can have easier access to the capsule collections. "At Collette in Paris, Proenza Schouler for Target sold 1,000 pieces on the first day," said von Walter.

The benefits for both consumers and fashion designers are obvious. Currently in store at Target is a collection by American designer Patrick Robinson, priced between $14.99 and $44.99.

"Having access to [Target's] production methods helps generate awareness with even more women nationwide in the U.S., which is key for any designer," said Robinson.

Democratic Design Goes Global

More recently, the Gap and Uniqlo have launched their own high-low collaborations too.

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