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We're Smitten with "Bitten": Sarah Jessica Parker's War on Expensive Fashion DesignsBy Vicki McClure Davidson
We've always loved Sarah Jessica Parker. We love her quirky personality, her quick mind, her enduring marriage. The Sex in the City star has always been so refreshing when compared to many other Hollywood actresses. She's a real person with real thoughts about the world, beyond memorizing scripts and living a lavish lifestyle.
And now, we love her more. As a result of her frugal mindset (and strong business sense), she is determined to make sure that her new design line, Bitten, is affordable for the vast bulk of financially strapped women, whether career-oriented or homemaker, who want to look fashionable and pretty without going broke doing it.Where most celebrities dabble egocentrically in fashion and create expensive, impractical frocks, Sarah Jessica designed a cheap (in price, not quality) dress. With husband Matthew Broderick on her arm at the gala Cinema Society event in May 2008, she launched an adorable strapless blue and white flower print dress from the Bitten line. She actually wore it in public.
How much is this little number, you're wondering? Hold onto to your laptop... $8.98 (that's in USD; the dress costs £4.50 in the UK). So yes, our "Darling SJP" wore a flattering, lovely summer dress that cost less than admission for one to a summer blockbuster. And she wore it to a major premiere with a lot of press. How gutsy and maverick of her to do that, considering her hyper-critical industry.
And the dress is simply terrific. Which makes our accolades all the more sweet.
She gets it.
She understands us. Sarah Jessica is rebelling against conspicuous consumption and how millions of average American women are struggling to make mortgage payments and pay for day care. Buying a dress or pants outfit that costs hundreds or thousands of dollars to wear JUST ONCE isn't glamorous, it's stupid and out of touch with the reality so many of us are entrenched in these days.
In an interview, Sarah Jessica said, "It seems like there is some justice in that, doesn't it? For a lot of people—young women, middle-age women, regular women—there is this idea about wanting fashion in an affordable way. They are living in a less rarefied world."
Don't worry that because her clothing line is inexpensive, they're made in hideous sweatshop conditions with child labor. Her clothes are produced ethically—she made sure about that. Instead, the company is keeping operating costs down by not doing a lot of advertising. Every piece in the line is priced at $19.98 and less (and there are plus sizes as well), an extraordinary value for the quality and breadth of the merchandise the line offers. As Sarah Jessica says, "Fashion is not a luxury, it's a right." Every single piece in the collection (and at present, that's about 1,000 pieces) was either designed directly by her or her in combination with a team of Steve ∓ Barry designers.
The tagline for Bitten is "Fashion you can afford to love," and Sarah Jessica has recently signed a deal for her line to be carried exclusively by the equally low-cost Steve & Barry's®. One tab on the top menu selection on Bitten's website is titled SJP's Manifesto. How many websites, let alone fashion sites, have a manifesto? Love it! And, her manifesto reads:
It is every woman's inalienable right to have a pulled-together stylish, confident wardrobe with money left over to live.
We applaud SJP and hope to see more of her delightful, affordable apparel creations in the news often. Inspired by her frugal line, several other designers are already following suit. Check out her website and have fun saving money while still looking chic. SJP lives what she preaches: she even dresses her young son in hand-me-downs. Love ya, girl!
UPDATE, from About.com's Paula's Petite Fashion Blog, May 23, 2009:
Our readers have been clamoring for more news about petite actress Sarah Jessica Parker, best known for playing Carrie, a fashionista with her own distinctive style, in Sex and the City. They want to know whether or not Sarah Jessica Parker's clothing line Bitten will ever reappear. Bitten, a line of low-cost clothing by Sarah Jessica Parker, was sold exclusively through Steve & Barry's, a now-bankrupt retailer.
The demise of Steve & Barry's left Bitten and some other celebrity clothing lines without a home, and so the line is no longer available, except for some leftovers that individual sellers auction on sites such as eBay. ...NYMag reported that Sarah Jessica Parker wanted to continue the line with a new retail partner and also to continue the affordable prices of the Bitten line. It seems to me that now would be a good time to re-launch Bitten, given the current economy, in which people are looking for clothing that doesn't break the bank.
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