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If you are shopping for many of the top fashion designers, and you are in a city such as Manhattan (New York City), Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland or any other big city you won’t have a shortage of places to shop in order to find just the right item.   I am aware that many people from Italy and other European countries come to the United States not just to visit and do the usual tourist things, but to shop for items made by top American Designers,  I am referring to brands such as Ralph Lauren, and Ralph Lauren Polo, DKNY (Donna Karan New York), Calvin Klein, Isaac  Mizrahi, Karl Lagerfeld, Vera Wang, Jimmy Choo,  Bill Blass, Tommy Hilfiger, Oleg Cassini, Carolina  Herrera, Brooks Brothers,  Oscar de la Renta,  amongst others and generally at a cost savings to the consumer (in part a reflection of the lower exchange rate in this country where you generally  get more for you money).

Many  of the  designers clothing lines, plus accessories ( which includes shoes as well as handbags) can be found at department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdales’, Macy*s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom’s, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor amongst others.    Also many of their fragrances and makeup can also be found at these department stores, but also at stores such as Sephora.  An interesting side note is that many of the designers also have begun a foray into the design of jewelry, which I find unique in itself.    In New York City alone I have found that many designers also have their own stores in different locations, and not just tied in to the fashion center of the city in addition to the department stores.  This applies as well to several other areas of the country where the designers have their own stores (i.e., Tyson’s Corner, Virginia; Beverly Hills, California; Friendship Heights, Washington, DC).   I have also found that several of the big designers also have their own stores in Manhattan, in addition to being sold at the afore-mentioned department stores.    Having their own stores also holds true at shopping malls around the United States as well.  At many of the shopping malls they have what is known as anchor stores (i.e., Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, J.C. Penny’s, etc.)  But also other specialty stores that have many items that aren’t found in the larger stores but are equally as important and worth purchasing.

Throughout these cities shoppers can also find designer shoe stores (with shoes like Jimmy Cho’s, Manolo Blahnik’s, etc.)  that also carries accessories to “dress up” any outfit and any occasion.   Also, another venue where one may find these top brands and more are outlet shopping malls, but I would think with the shopper being cautious when going there that they don’t get carried away with shopping.   While I am not knocking outlet stores/or malls, you can get a good bargain on many things, including the designer labels.  I had an experience with one of the outlet stores where I found something that I had gotten recently somewhere else, at even more of a savings than at the outlet store.   So the moral would have to be  not just “buyer beware” , do a bit a research before going out shopping so that you get the desired items at the best price.   I am aware that there are many shoppers look for excellence, quality and well-made products will generally go to the best places to exactly what they desire, regardless of the price.   That is one of the most important issues when shopping getting what you want that is well-made, excellent quality and style at the best price for what is purchased.  Both the “Made in the USA” and “Made in Italy” labels carry a great deal of weight behind them, and also stands for excellence and quality in craftsmanship/workmanship.    So it’s worth the time and effort to have them on items.    Making those purchases helps the company as well as the country of origin.

Also at stores like Target, Marshalls and TJ MAXX you will be able to find many of the top designer’s items at a savings as well.  You can also find   Missoni and Mizrahi, at these locations as well, and yes they can be found in all the top stores as well.  But please note, while you get a reasonably good deal on any and all items purchased at these three stores, they don’t carry the variety of items the larger (and specialty) stores would have.

One thing that the consumer has to be alert to is the vendors on the street  who have similar items for sale, unfortunately these are cheap knock-offs and more than likely are not even made in the United States (or in Italy for that matter if you see these type of vendors there).   While they may look like the real thing, they are poor quality, cheaply made and these shysters keep all the money themselves taking away a legitimate sale of the real item denying the company the proper share of the sale, and denying the state appropriate revenue from sales.   I venture to mention this because in the course of my travels I have seen many of these sidewalk type “sales persons” hawking their wares trying their best to convince the unsuspecting person what they are selling is the real thing, etc.   When what they are attempting to sell isn’t even made here.  Unfortunately, many of the smaller and legitimate businesses have had to close their doors due to these shysters taking up space close enough to their entrances and their clients can’t even get into shop there.

Kathy Kiefer



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