Fashion designer offers line on eBay

October 12, 2009 3:41:49 PM PDT
He's a top fashion designer whose clothes sell for thousands of dollars. But now, he's offering them at bargain prices.You can't find his dresses in stores. Instead, you're going to have to turn on the computer.

The mystery man was finally revealed as Narciso Rodriguez. In the mid 90s, he received rave reviews for the wedding dress he created for the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. His pieces typically cost thousands, but lean economic times have Rodriguez and other high-end designers thinking outside of the box to bring in extra revenue.

Rodriguez' creations are sought after by celebrities, royalty and even First Lady Michelle Obama.

He knows what looks good, and with his latest business venture, what makes sense given these challenging economic times.

Narciso gave Eyewitness News a preview of his new collection, created exclusively for eBay. His creations typically start at around $2,000. But this line begins at less than 350. Still, he insisted on quality, using the same design principles he uses for his ready to wear line.

"I would never risk the image of my brand or company, I wouldn't do that," he said. "I see this as a seamless connection to the collection."

It is a way to reach, in this case, 88 million people. EBay's Constance White points out that's how many users log onto the auction site.

"There is no middle person, so he actually is selling directly to his consumer instead of going through a brick and mortar store, where there would be an additional cost of reaching the consumer," she said.

But while it may be a sensible strategic growth plan for the designer, the Wall Street Journal's Ray Smith says others may shy away from the idea of marketing their goods to lower-priced venues.

"There are some consumers who still can't get their heads around that and feel like that's almost tarnishing the reputation of the high-end designer," he said.

Even more reason why Narciso says he was part of the entire process, creating pieces he feels, even at this price point, are top shelf.

"When you water down what you do and put secondary names on it or cute names and things like that, it's not for me," he said.

This is a first for eBay, having a high-end designer create a line exclusively for them. It's also a first for Narciso. He has never sold his pieces online.

The collection features eight pieces, including three dresses and a coat Narciso says will go from day to night. Look for the items sometime in early spring.



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