Cheap but Chic Fashion

Cheap but Chic Fashion

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When you hear about Cincinnati’s designer label Madras 641, you might feel the need to pinch yourself. But save the pain. It’s real. Madras 641, or “M641” is just that good. In these dollar-stretching times, one of the designer brand’s best features is the designers’ goal of affordability.


M641 took off when two friends turned into mommies, and then turned into business partners. Both creative director Subu and marketing director Ina were always looking for what every woman wants: comfort and sustainability at an affordable price, Ina says. “We’ve believed from the beginning of our concept line that women are just too smart to invest their hard-earned dollars and savings in expensive designer wear.”


Many high fashion pieces come with an expensive price tag and another tag that says dry clean only. “What’s the point of buying expensive shirts that can’t be washed?” Ina says. So Subu and Ina created M641 with price points from $40 to $100, though some of their pieces will stray below those prices and others will reach above them.


Besides setting price points, the partners created the guideline to use 100 percent cotton 100 percent of the time, making their brand 100 percent washable. And by using all cotton fabrics, M641 saves even more money through its durability. “They’ll last in your wardrobe longer than any man-made fabrics,” Ina says.


Besides affordability at the point of purchase, M641 pieces gain affordability through versatility. M641 focuses only on tops, tunics and dresses (no bottoms). With each piece, the buyer can mix and match the piece with several different bottoms to create a variety of looks. From flip flops to stilettos, M641 pieces can fit on any part of the dress attire spectrum. So the piece doesn’t just sit in your closet, collecting dust as you wait for that one special occasion perfect enough for your $200 designer top. You can actually wear your clothes – more than once!


So even with an affordable price, M641 pieces embody high fashion. Each piece has limited runs so that you won’t be seeing the same top on some other woman every time you turn the corner. (Limited runs also support a healthy environment by reducing overproduction, which can use unnecessary resources and hike up the price.)


M641 pieces also maintain high fashion with their “innovative colors and patterns and trims.” Subu and Ina strive to make their customers memorable with those high fashion elements. “As women, we like to be remembered for what we wear,” Ina says, so Subu and Ina try to make each piece memorable so that each woman who wears that piece will be unforgettable.


M641 will be collaborating with Cincy Chic on a “Recessionista Shop ‘n’ Swap” in March in West Chester. The event will feature unique boutiques offering deep discounts, a clothing swap and an educational fashion show where an expert will teach attendees how to look fine on a dime.


For more information about M641 or to shop online, visit the Web site. If you have questions, suggestions or any other information, e-mail Ina.


And keep your eyes on Fox 19 in the morning this week for a trend report from Cincy Chic’s fashion editor. She will be offering tips on how you can expand your wardrobe with what you already have by matching different pieces with a simple black dress to create different looks. Versatility is key. By layering and accessorizing, our in-house fashionista will show you how to transform that black dress into an alternative dressy style, a professional look, a casual option and a “wear anywhere” wild card look.


Photo: Courtesy of Madras 641
Model: Ina, marketing director of Madras 641