Strange and wonderful things happen in the blog-o-sphere everyday and more often than you would expect Private Brands are involved whether it is a mommy blogger reviewing a Private Brand product or a Midwestern foodie posting a recipe made entirely from Private Brand products – Private Brands seem to everywhere. Still the blog “Penny Chic” has surprised me the most, it is a fashion blog devoted to a noble experiment:
To style “chic” looks using clothing from Walmart, the most widely used and notoriously “un-chic” discount department store in America.
138 Million people shop at Walmart every week and I was never one of them (until now).
I’m from LA, moved to NYC for college, worked at a fashion house in Paris and have written, assisted and labored in the fashion world enough to know my place is better off here in the blogosphere.
Do I prefer Wal-Mart to Neimen Marcus? Of course not (SEE: Marchesa’s Spring 2011 Collection. Life. Changing.)…. but looking stylish and effortless is not hard when you’re wearing a $5,000 outfit. What’s more intriguing to me is the challenge of looking chic at a time when this season’s must-have Little Black Dress is no longer an option.
And that’s when I came up with the idea to put America’s cheapest discount department store on a fashion pedestal and ditch the skinny models for me and my friends.
Welcome to a movement I like to call Penny Chic.
Ms. Miller’s posts often feature a Walmart Private or exclusive brand including, George, White Stag, Miss Tina (Beyonce’s Mom), Faded Glory, MileyCyrus/Max Azria and Norma Kamli. More surprising is the reaction from the fashion press who has been complimentary of Ms Miller’s work if not of Walmart.
Glamour magazine’s daily style blog, “Slaves to Fashion” interviewed Ms. Miller asking her,
Where did you get the idea to start Penny Chic? Were you already a Walmart shopper?
SM: I came up with the concept behind PENNY CHIC before I even stepped foot in a Walmart, if you can believe that. After I graduated NYU in 2008, I applied to maybe 100 positions in editorial fashion and couldn’t get a job anywhere. Fed up with that world, I decided I wanted to start something on my own that hadn’t been done before. I knew that styling was my calling, but I wanted a challenge. The idea of dressing women with a budget of $10K was no longer interesting to me. The real challenge is dressing someone head-to-toe with a budget of $50 and making it look chic. I love stylists like Rachel Zoe, but she’s a stylist for the rich and famous. My dream was to become a stylist for the people. The blog seemed like the perfect platform to play out this new movement in fashion. Blogging is not pretentious, it’s free, it’s interactive and very of the moment. I started doing some research on the most widely used and notoriously un-chic retailer in America, Walmart. 138 Million people shop at Wal-Mart every week and no one in fashion was talking about it. Millions of women shop at Wal-Mart out of necessity, because it’s the lowest cost provider, but it was time someone made them feel good about it.
This kind of coverage can only help to grow Walmarts Private Brands.