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Thanks to a new crop of direct-to-consumer sites on the internet, buying luxury goods has never been so affordable. Click through to get in on the shopping fun.
Warby Parker
A early pioneer in the direct-to-consumer marketplace, this optical label was created by four bespectacled friends looking to create high-quality eyewear at a reasonable price. Today the brand is renowned for its wide variety of vintage-inspired frames and reasonable $95 (a pair of optical frames or regular sunglasses) to $150 (prescription sunglasses) prices, which stay so consistently low thanks to an in-house design team.
Although the company started as an online-only endeavor, it's seen enough success in the last few years to open several freestanding stores around the country—and to make charitable donations. Using the help of non-profits like VisionSpring, Warby Parker ensures every eyewear purchase equals new glasses for a person in need.
This company first hit the scene in 2010 with a tiny collection of high-quality T-shirts, belts and canvas bags produced in the exact same factories top-tier designers use. Unlike those labels, though, Everlane has avoided mark-ups by exclusively selling online. Over the last few years, it's expanded its collection to include more luxury basics (including sweaters, leather accessories and silk blouses) marked for less than half the price of similar items from big-ticket brands.
Ivory Row
While pieces on this cashmere-focused site aren't cheap enough to buy on a whim (sweaters run between $175 and $295, hats cost $65 each), each one is still priced barely above the cost of production. That means a similar version—mostly likely made in the same factories Ivory Row uses, but slapped with a big brand name—would go for for two to three times as much. Whereas those labels need to pay overhead fee for brick-and-mortar retail, this knitwear company saves tons of money with its online-only storefront.
This Cali company's bread and butter is top-notch wardrobe basics—think buttery soft T-shirts and silk blouses with just enough drape—produced in L.A.'s best factories. Like most direct-to-consumer labels, it circumvents inflated pricing by solely selling its product online, thus eliminating a slew of wholesale fees. Right now, only its core "classix" line is available, but eventually the site plans to add trendier, limited-edition pieces to the mix. These will be more colorful, and slightly more adventurous, than the brand's usual fare.
Considering that every pair of glasses available through the eyewear e-tailer is completely customizable (you can put your exact prescription to any lens tint and frame shape/color combination), it's hard to believe each pair starts at only $95. So how does the brand manage to keep costs down? First, by designing and manufacturing its product on company premises; each order is hand-finished by Lookmatic opticians right in Los Angeles. Secondly, its no-middlemen business model, which is centered around selling straight to customers online.
Style Saint
Equal parts e-commerce platform and web community, this digitally-based brand offers all shoppers free membership to its global "Creative Collective," a digital space for collecting fashion images. The types of pictures users post serve as the label's biggest inspiration, thus making for a finished product its customers are guaranteed to love. After production, the pieces—which include dresses, skirts, tops and jackets—are only sold through the Style Saint site, marked with straight-from-the-factory pricing.