In Bed with Band of Outsiders, on the Cheap(er) with Jil Sander

Band of Outsiders has had no shortage of new projects in the works recently. First Scott Sternberg introduced his ‘This is not a polo shirt‘ collaboration. Then came the online store and an announcement that his women’s wear line, Boy, would soon include a lower-priced line as well. Now comes a brand new sartorial extension that Julian Schnabel would surely approve of.

Sternberg, it seems, has gone to bed with both Opening Ceremony and NYC’s new (by way of Palm Springs and Portland) ACE Hotel… literally. The Angeleno has designed a four-style strong men’s pajamas collection that’s both simple and classic (read: your grandpa would approve) that will retail exclusively at OC’s ACE Hotel outpost for a month before making its way to other OC stores.

Meanwhile, over at Jil Sander creative director Raf Simons is following in Sternberg’s footsteps. While he’s not introducing sleepwear quite yet, Simons has announced he’ll soon be supplying Jil Sander fans with a cheaper collection of minimal, impeccably tailored wares. In hopes of broadening said fan base, Simons is introducing Jil Sander Navy, which, according to Women’s Wear Daily, “offers a more relaxed sporty-chic attitude while maintaining brand codes such as design rigor and top quality.” Priced at %40 below typical Jil Sander pieces, the line will surely appease Jil Sander adoring shoppers on a stricter budget. And, given the fact that everyone from Zac Posen and Vivienne Westwood, to the late Alexander McQueen and Sternberg have introduced lower-priced lines (in most cases in addition to diffusion designer collaborations), this surely won’t be the last high-fashion design house to do so.

Vena Cava Pulls an Alexander Wang

These days you’re not a burgeoning brand if you haven’t inked a deal for a designer collaboration or a diffusion line. Zac Posen, Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, Alexander Wang and Henry Holland have all done it. Now it’s Vena Cava’s turn. The graphically oriented women’s line from Brooklyn by way of Los Angeles designers Sophie Buhai and Lisa Mayock is expanding this year. Just in time for fall, the Vogue and CFDA-approved brand will be serving up lower-priced “organic cotton and jersey Ts, tanks and dresses,” which are all manufactured in their native LA says Women’s Wear Daily. Sound familiar? It is: Alexander Wang’s diffusion line–T by Alexander Wang–is pretty much identical in terms of what the collection entails.

Called Viva Vena, nothing in the line will retail for above $200. And, offering something a bit more ornate than your average Hanes (or Wangs, for that matter), Buhai and Mayock’s tees will incorporate the duo’s photo collages and hand-drawn prints. Look for them in stores like Barneys, Saks and La Garconne come July.

Alexander Wang Does Lingerie, Cheaper Frocks

Just last year CFDA favorite Alexander Wang launched a cotton-centric line called T by Alexander Wang that focused on basic jersey tees and t-shirt dresses. Now, overnight, the designer seems to be fully embracing diffusion fashion with his FW10 collection for this lower-priced line. He’s branching out beyond basics, adding “slouchy wool blazers and skinny pants, denim jackets, leggings with leather piping, zip-up dresses and hooded ponchos, not to mention plenty of knits,” according to Women’s Wear Daily. The latter will cover sweaters, scarves and hipster favorite: beanies. Also in the mix: lingerie that includes bras with velvet accents (which blanketed his FW10 namesake runway). In other words, this is no longer a capsule collection but a formidable, all-encompassing collection of cheaper Wang wares.

“T is priced at $38 to $107 wholesale, versus the Alexander Wang range of $120 to $350,” says WWD of the difference in price point (that once marked to retail can anywhere from double to triple wholesale price tags). Wang isn’t the only young designer to add a full-fledged lower-priced line into his repertoire these past few months. Zac Posen is doing so with Z Spoke. And Christopher Kane is following suit via Versace’s diffusion line Versus.

Meanwhile, Rad Hourani launched his own inexpensive collection option last summer; while Alice Temperly of Temperly London just announced she’ll launch her own as well. The more diffusion fashion that pops up, not to mention the success of online sample sales, are throwing fashion’s age-old structure on its head. Thus, the question becomes: if you can score Wang’s designs for under $200 both discounted and by way of his diffusion line, why ever pay full-price again?

Mark Fast, Taking Cues from Erin Brokovich, to Design for Regular People

If you haven’t heard of Winnipeg born Mark Fast, you will soon. The knitwear designer made headlines last fall thanks to putting plus-size models in his runway show, right when Crystal Renn and Lizzie Miller were first being heavily covered by the press. He also designed a soon to drop capsule collection for Topshop. Now he’s launching a diffusion line for the masses.

“The label, called ‘Faster’, is set to launch this spring and will offer up a selection of figure-hugging dresses, cropped tops and leggings – all channeling Fast’s signature sexy style of course,” says Elle UK.

And the muse of this collection? In December Fast told the Independent that he looked to Julia Roberts as Erin Brokovich for inspiration, although not necessarily to her penchant for leather minis and an abundance of cleavage. Fast liked “her attitude, a woman who has kids, has a life beyond what she’s known to do.”