Preshrunk Prices

THE $300 pair of designer jeans is now, courtesy of the recession, the $200 pair of designer jeans.
“It was all just a fad,” said Jeff Rudes, a founder of the hot-denim-label-du-jour J Brand Jeans and an astute observer of the suspiciously inflated prices of fashion’s most eternally reinvented staple. Like any commodity that becomes overpriced, there eventually comes a market correction. And denim’s day of reckoning was long overdue.
“The floors at most of the major stores were so overassorted that they almost looked like Loehmann’s,” Mr. Rudes said. “They were just cramming jeans onto the racks.”
The introduction of $300 jeans — perhaps even more than $1,000 coin purses and $500 plastic sunglasses — marked the moment when customers really began to question the prices they were seeing in department stores. Cotton dungarees for the price of an iPod was a stretch so extreme that retailers had to come up with a whole new term to suggest that the new jeans were different from the $100 jeans they used to sell in the 1990s.
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