Years ago, fashion design houses began offering more modestly priced collections (diffusion lines) as a way to reach more consumers (for example, Dolce & Gabbana founded D&G). However, these diffusion lines didn't completely fill the void that consumers were asking for - namely, the mass marketing and distribution of high fashion.
In 2004, Chanel and Fendi's creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, collaborated with H&M and produced 30 pieces which sold out within an hour in New York, Los Angeles, and other large metropolitan stores. This sparked H&M to collaborate with many other designers in order to gain market share of teen spending. Target followed H&M’s lead with its own designer collaborations. Other department stores (such as JC Penny, Kohl's, and Walmart) weren't far behind and started following the same path.
Mass market clothing is manufactured in large quantities and made available for the open market. This clothing is typically available in standard sizes with many copies of the same design. As there is a large demand for this type of apparel, becoming a mass market fashion designer is the most rewarding at the moment. Many fashion designers are flocking to create lines of clothing and accessories for the mass market.
"There is a tremendous amount of money being spent on fashion apparel, but not in department stores," says Kurt Barnard, president of Barnard's Retail Consulting Group in Upper Montclair, N.J. "Designers have decided to go to where the money is, and the money is at places like Target and Kohl's."