Aldi has recruited Australian fashion royalty Collette Dinnigan to deliver a limited-edition line of girls’ clothing for the discount supermarket.
The Young Hearts collection features pieces for babies right up to teen size 14, with prices starting at $11.99 and topping out at $29.99 for a special-occasion dress or jumpsuit.
Ms Dinnigan’s range will be one of Aldi’s two “Special Buys” promotions on October 14, when a collection of cut-price kitchenware and Halloween merchandise will also be released.
This is the first time Aldi has teamed up with a high-profile designer in Australia and it has opened a new front in the high-stakes battle for grocery dollars.
But it has also confused the lines of demarcation between supermarkets and discount department stores such as Target and Big W, which have a long and successful history of designer collaborations in both fashion and homewares.
What makes Collette Dinnigan for Aldi so clever, according to retail analyst Steve Kulmar, is its capacity to lure new shoppers into Aldi’s stores. He predicted the range would sell very quickly and would likely lead to other collaborations in the future.
“What Aldi is doing is it’s taking thought leadership, and when you have thought leadership, you end up with market leadership.”
Mr Kulmar said Aldi had already proved its apparel credentials with its ski wear promotions, which transformed the supermarket into a market leader for skiing clothes and accessories.
Ms Dinnigan said Aldi approached her about designing the range and its unique business model stripped out a lot of the costs usually loaded on to apparel, such as marketing, advertising and merchandising.
Aldi took care of all the manufacturing, leaving Ms Dinnigan free to focus on the design of the vibrant collection.
It is a big departure from Paris Fashion Week, but Ms Dinnigan said the beauty of the collection and the reason she did it was it demonstrated the power of good design.
She said this was not about Collette “going discount”, because she’s not doing Paris any more; it was about showing that “good design made a difference and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money”.
“Aldi’s model is very different; it’s very basic, with simple packaging and no advertising, apart from their catalogue,” Ms Dinnigan said.
“It makes it very good value for a lot of people … good design is what makes the difference, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.”
The designer best known for her red-carpet creations has developed a limited-edition 79-piece range for Aldi that captures the fun and freedom of summer on the beach in Australia.
It’s an unexpected collaboration Ms Dinnigan, who has previously teamed up with the likes of Dom Perignon, Audi and Qantas, but the designer said Aldi gave her great creative freedom and respected her skill.