Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Frugal Alternative to Gap x GQ 2016 Steven Alan - Buy Actual Steven Alan


I see a lot of this question posted around the net: "What is a frugal alternative to _______?" It's a fair question, and one retailers have been trying to bridge the gap on in part by offering some collaborative collections such as Gap x GQ, HM x _____, and Uniqlo x _____ over the years. 

I was pretty wishy-washy about last year's Gap x GQ Best New Menswear Designers in America collection - one that included The Hill-Side and David Hart, of which I liked some items but definitely would have balked at paying anything close to full price for materials/construction quality concessions. This year's roundup is even less inspiring, at least to me, and going to check it out in person on day one of release gave me the feeling I've heard many of my single friends tell me about, when they see a cute profile picture on Tindr or whatever young people are using for dating now, arrange to meet up and then find out that the picture was overselling things a bit that could not delivered upon.


Higher Designer x Mainstream Retailer collaborations or capsule collections are usually meant to introduce a loftier or niche design aesthetic to a broader consumer base by focusing on design and usually skimping on materials/construction (or remaining at the base level of the retailer) to present an affordable price point. But the whole thing has me perplexed at the moment, because Gap x GQ Steven Alan shirting is more expensive right now than you can find on the actual product.

Some shirts available at C21 currently

From the Steven Alan I've handled, I'm not sure where the exorbitant MSRP comes from, because its certainly not from unique design nor is it from extremely high quality manufacture. But ideally at <$50 on sale, my twitching skeptical eyebrow starts to relax a little and my brain is a lot happier about the price/quality ratio.

Triple Double Denim Shirt - Black
Triple Double Denim Shirt - Taupe
So here's the thing - you can get Steven Alan shirting on Century 21 online right now for as low as $29.99 - such as these Made in Japan, 9.7 oz denim triple needle shirts down from MSRP $265, among many others. For what it's worth, Steven Alan describes these as "inspired by handmade ceramics, abstract art objects and the comfort of humble home furnishings." What that means to someone who isn't on drugs I have no idea, but it is a great price point for Steven Alan - comparable to your normal J. Crew sale prices.

I can't help much on sizing, as I don't own any, but the StyFo thread on Steven Alan was almost more confusing than anything else - I ended up ordering the denim shirt in all colors in my normal size small. These prices are less than 50% of what Gap x GQ is asking at retail (a reverse seam shirt on Gap is $80 vs. the actual product at $33), though if last year was any indication, they should also hit the sale section in a few weeks and I would guess may end up around the same price point eventually.

But if you can get the actual designer's product for less, then...why is this even a discussion?


Link to Steven Alan at C21Stores - Orders above +$75 get free shipping.

**Update** - I received my shirts over the weekend and they fit a clear size larger than I thought they would everywhere except the neck and the arms, weirdly enough - long in length almost past the crotch, arms too long, wide body, etc. I got a size smaller (XS) and the body fits like a slim S, but the arms fit like they were made for someone with stick arms.  Apparently, these are actually made in Japan, not USA as previously described, and I think Japanese people may think American people are built like snowmen. I really like the fit in the body and the fabric, but not sure these aren't going back also. Fair warning.

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