The Problem with Limited Capsule Collections

April 20, 2015

Image via Lilly Pulitzer for Target Lookbook
By now you've probably heard all about the mess that was the Lilly Pulitzer for Target launch that happened on Sunday, April 19th, or what some people are now referring to as “Pink Sunday”. The eagerly anticipated capsule collection was met by mile-long lines of dedicated devotees and was wiped out of stores within minutes. As I happened to make a trip to the mall this morning anyways, I thought about bopping by Target just to see if there was anything left. When I entered the store (a mere ten minutes after it had opened, mind you) there were only a few items of children’s clothing and some nail polish left.

At Target locations nationwide the result was the same: #LillyForTarget came and went faster than a flash of lightning, and people are mad.

Of course, a quick search on eBay and one will see that the majority of the capsule collection inventory is available for sale online; only, these pieces are marked up two to three times their selling price. At Target a shift dress sold for $38; on eBay they are priced anywhere from $80 to $200. This is a standard practice with these limited capsule collections: scalpers will arrive at the stores early and scoop up everything they can get their hands on and then sell them for a profit online, taking advantage of the fact that once these items have disappeared off the shelves, they are gone for good. Stores sometimes try to fight this by limiting the items that customers can purchase, but these eBay sellers find ways around it.

These guys are smart, but they're also taking advantage of what should be a fun, for-everyone event. The whole point of designer collaborations with cheaper brands like Target or H&M is to make a designer more accessible; customers can be introduced to names like Joseph Altuzarra and Peter Pilotto without having thousands of dollars to spend on items of clothing. A collaboration with a name like Lilly Pulitzer is ideal because a larger population is already familiar with the Lilly style but may not have the financial means to afford the real deal. A Target version may not have the same exact level of quality as a “true” Lilly, but for a teenage girl who loves Lilly but can't afford it on her after school job salary, a Lilly for Target version is perfect. When the supposedly cheaper version is selling for $200, though, you might as well get the real thing.

Though a group of preppy snobs was complaining about the Target collaboration lessening the value of their real Lilly Pulitzer clothes, ironically it has become the cheaper version that has become more covetable and in-demand. In fact, anyone can walk into a Lilly Pulitzer store and buy a Lilly dress whenever they want. It is the person who walks away with the limited Lilly for Target dress that becomes the true owner of exclusivity.

What do you think about designer collaborations like the Lilly for Target collection? Do you think these collaborations are valuable, or do they cause more trouble than they are worth?

1 comment

  1. Great post! I was really excited for the Lilly Pulitzer for Target line, but it never crossed my mind that if I wanted it I would have to treat it like a Black Friday sale! I mean it was REALLY cute stuff, but it wasn't anything special. I was also shocked when so called "Lilly Purists" were mad about the collaboration. I would consider myself a preppy person and I own my fair share of Lilly, but I was really excited about the collection! I feel like a big part of my fashion these days is how you can get the look you want for a good deal and this seemed like a way to do it. Also, it's not like "real" Lilly is all that expensive or inaccessible in the first place. It's unfortunate the way this turned out, but I'm glad it was successful for Target. xo Megan


I love hearing your thoughts! Thanks for reading! ♥︎Lindsey