We'll call her Laura.
She's the quintessential fashionphile who doesn't flinch when squeezing her size 10 assets into a size 2, "as long as there's a little spandex." She has a seasonal calendar of local sample sales plastered on her MySpace (NWS) page with cutouts of the Sex and the City movie, beloved supermodels and favorite H&M designer collections.
Karl is her favorite, followed by Stella.
Despite a mid-six-figure income, Laura is one of a growing number of high-end groupies lining up at discount retailers for new designer collections. Laura even planned her summer vacation around a shopping spree at London's TopShop that landed her a trove of Kate Moss-designed treasures, most of which were either the wrong color or too small.
That didn't stop Laura from wearing them the rest of summer and fall while singing about these designer debuts at a store near you.
Laura loves Target (TGT). It was the first U.S. retailer to recognize that a growing number of shoppers wanted opinionated fashion at affordable prices. The company has created a business model offering one of the most diverse retail experiences available. Celebrity designers like Proenza Schuler share space with lesser-known designers like U.K.'s Alice Temperley -- in stores that also sell Hanes T-shirts and Hefty trash bags.
Recently, Hollywood jewelry designer Dominique Cohen debuted an entry-level line featured in full-page ads in the New York Times. Her signature long rope chains and semiprecious stones were replaced with bronze hand-cut cameos of exotic shell on lace-covered bead necklaces.
"The beauty of jewelry is that even us fat girls can shop with pride," says Laura. It's also a win-win for Target and the designers, as the retailer pays a hefty flat fee to the designer, who in turn gets a national media campaign and retail presence.