A diffision line is a term for a ready-to-wear line of clothing produced by a typically high end designer. It's a line designed to reach the masses and the items therein are significantly less expensive than their runway counterparts. Isaac Mizrahi led the way with discount department store diffusion lines with his line designed for Target. Lots of designers have followed in his footsteps including Vera Wang who has designed a line for Kohls and Alexander McQueen who also designed for Target.
The list of designers with diffusion lines could go on for days- Marc by March Jacobs, D&G by Dolce & Gabbana, and Emporio by Armani to name a few- but you should be aware of the differences in these diffusion lines. No, my friend, not all diffusion lines are created equal, and therefore it is understandable that you might have some diffusion confusion. I hope I can clear some of that confusion up for you.
The easiest way to break it down is to divide the diffusion lines into two types- the first is the type that is still handled by the designer. Marc by Marc Jacobs is a good example of this. The second is the type that is handled by design teams who work with the chain or department store where the product will be sold. Isaac Mizrahi's line for Target is an example of this type of diffusion line.
A mass-produced diffusion line is certainly a lucrative way for a discount department store to create a frenzy in their store- H&M had a run on their Karl Lagerfeld diffusion line, but that's a whole other story. The point I'm trying to make is before you plunk down your credit card, take the time to closely examine the garment you are buying. Some diffusion lines are still made with high-quality craftsmanship, while others are poorly tailored, and use cheap materials. To generalize, it is a safe bet that a diffusion line that is handled by the designer themself will be of a higher quality than one that is handled by a team associated with the chain store. Regardless, when considering a piece from a diffusion line, make sure you are buying it for the right reason- because it looks good on you. If you are buying something simply for the label inside it, you are bound to be disatisfied and will be far less likely to wear it. After all, who can see the inside label except you? Think about it.
Remember that when purchasing a piece from a diffusion line, you are buying something that is most likely mass-produced. When purchasing a designer piece, you are getting something that is made with high quality craftsmanship and it is more than likely a unique piece and sometimes even one-of-a-kind. Isn't that why we like buying designer duds? The idea that we can have something no one, or very few others will also have is appealing! When you purchase from a diffusion line, you may have a "designer" item in your closet, but it's likely not a one-of-a kind item. If that's not important to you, then onward! If you get nothing else from this post, remember that in purchasing ANY item of clothing the most important criterion is how that garment looks on you. Designer pieces, thrift shop or garage sale finds, department store items- any of these can be equally fabulous or fatal if they are not flattering on you.