With holiday sales getting a head start and Macy's opening a full two hours earlier on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday isn't quite what it used to be. So it gives us the warm and fuzzies to reflect back on the good old days when Black Friday was a simpler, purer undertaking -- like when Veda's Lyndsey Butler and Fenton/Fallon jewelry designer Dana Lorenz sent their parents into the frenzied fray to score a coveted Cabbage Patch doll or celebrity stylist Ilaria Urbinati hit the 'burbs for the best designer bargains right after Turkey Day. See, fashion people love a good deal, just like us. Well, almost all of us (see: Harry Brant).
So read on for Black Friday stories, memories and fears from some of our favorite people in the industry.
Not that for one second we imagined that 18-year-old VIP party regular and fashion progeny Harry Brant would be out waiting in line for heavily discounted wide screen TVs on Black Friday, but hey, it doesn't hurt to ask. He always has fun answers.
"I literally do not leave my house on Black Friday," he told us at the WSJ. Magazine Innovator Awards. "I don't really live by myself, so I'm not buying appliances yet or anything like that. But for the things I'm gonna buy it doesn't matter if it's Black Friday. You gotta wait 'til sample sales season. That's like Black Friday for fashion people." Mind you, Brant has never actually set foot in a sample sale ("I don't feel like getting clocked in the face with a Louboutin") instead, he's into shopping designer vintage from the comfort of his lavish home on 1stdibs.com. But good point, nonetheless.
"Pretty Little Liars" Costume Designer Mandi Line
The brain behind Aria's boho-hipster outfits, Hanna's goth-girl transformation, Spencer's preppy hats and outerwear, and Emily's not-very-tomboyish sporty looks is a fashion-obsessive in her own right. And she's busy, also handling the costumes for MTV's "Awkward" and collaborating with teen brand Aéropostale on a "PLL"-inspired line of clothing. So clearly Line knows her way around a mall. Even though she's hit the big time, she still can't stop shopping the deals, even if she has a shoot that very day.
"I have had so many video shoots that work on Saturdays — which means prep work on the day before — and that year it happened to be Black Friday! I WANTED TO DIE," Line told us via email. "I actually cried... and I did pay someone $75 to cut in line when I went shopping. Boy, people weren't happy (and that excuse did not fly with production when I went into work), but it was worth my sanity! I now know— unless I'm styling Jane's Addiction — I will not be saying yes to work on Black Friday. Yes, I am so '90s! Online shopping is hard for me, so getting great deals on Black Friday is everything. I need to see and touch the garments! So my advice: don't work on Black Friday. Take advantage of the great sales. It may be stressful, but it's more stressful not to get a great place in line."
Designer Christian Siriano
In between designing his signature line, collaborating with Payless and juggling his multiple television gigs, Christian Siriano opened a flagship boutique in New York in 2012. The jewel box of a shop sits on a quiet-ish, tony street in Nolita — just far enough from the Black Friday retail hysteria going down on Broadway in Soho. But that didn't stop some die-hard fans from feeling the frenzy when it came to getting their hands on Siriano's designs.
"Last Black Friday we had group of 10 women traveling from Atlanta and they were doing the New York City tour," he told us at his shop during the party celebrating his new show "Project Runway: Threads." "They waited outside our door for two hours to get in and it was so interesting because we’re such a small store — and it’s not like we’re a Macy’s — so we don’t open up early. We had a 20 percent-off sale, which wasn't even that amazing. They bought lots which was great!"
Veda Designer Lyndsey Butler
Whenever we think of the perfect leather jacket, the name Veda comes to mind. The New York-based label that specializes in all things leather is the brainchild of founder and designer Lyndsey Butler. Well, she's not buying into the Black Friday frenzy, but not because she thinks it's beneath her. She has early childhood shopping trauma.
"I remember the big news stories from when I was a kid about crazy parents fighting in the aisles to get the last Cabbage Patch Doll or Nintendo," she tells us. "I think maybe that tainted Black Friday for me. But I did get a Cabbage Patch Doll that year... Mom?"
Celebrity Stylist Ilaria Urbinati
Ilaria Urbinati is responsible for the red carpet looks of some of Hollywood's hottest of hot young starlets — Shailene Woodley, Nina Dobrev, Lizzy Caplan and Margot Robbie — and some of the dreamiest of dreamy dudes out there, too: Bradley Cooper, Ryan Reynolds, Armie Hammer, Theo "Four" James and Jaime Lannister, er, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. The Hollywood Reporter also named her one of the top 25 power stylists of 2014. So yeah, she's a really big deal. But for a mega-stylist with insider connections at the top design houses, Urbinati still can't resist a good deal.
"A good portion of my favorite items of clothing were finds on Black Friday in Boston where I spend the holidays," she tells us. "Shopping outside of L.A. and New York is the best because the more fashion-conscious pieces tend to be left over. I have amazing pieces from Proenza Schouler, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors I got there — and even Free People! You know how the Free People catalog looks amazing, but then you can't find any of that stuff when you go to the store? Well, apparently all of those items are at the Free People store in the Boston mall. You're welcome."
M. Patmos Designer Marcia Patmos
We look to Marcia Patmos of M. Patmos for the plushest, most covetable cashmere knits that are probably on our very own end-of-year wish lists. While these days she's not much of a holiday shopper, she does have fond memories from childhood.
"My grandmother and her sister-in-law Ethel and her niece Joan used to like to go to Crossgates Mall in Albany," she tells us. "I can't remember what store they liked to go to there, but if there is a Saks or Macy's or whatever there, I am sure that was it. I have a memory of something big like a chair or a fur coat being put on layaway. My grandmother loved the Clinique counter and I remember getting little sample goodies from there and then we would go out to lunch. P.S. -- my grandmother always drove a gigantic Cadillac."
"The Mindy Project" Costume Designer Salvador Perez
The veteran costume designer takes his shopping very seriously, whether it's sourcing bright, bold outfits for Mindy Kaling to wear on "The Mindy Project" or browsing for more personal reasons. And while he might not do Black Friday, Pérez is super into holiday bargain-hunting in general.
"I was costume designing a film in Chicago during the Christmas season and my friend Tim asked to tag along with me so I could help him shop for gifts," Pérez tells us. "We were shopping at Marshall Fields and found these amazing cashmere sailor pants in the clearance racks for 75 percent off, but they were a size 32 and he was a size 34. So we asked if the store could track down another pair in his size. The computer said another store had one, so we took a cab there. We scoured the clearance racks for hours, but could not find them, so gave up and went home. A day before Christmas, I had to do some returns for the show and I went back to the store and was waiting in line and saw a rack of clothes to be put back in stock. I was casually looking through the rack and to my amazement I found the cashmere pants in his size. I screamed with joy, and could not get to the register fast enough to purchase them for Tim. The look of shock on his face was worth everything it took to find them. It was a true Christmas miracle."
Fenton and Fallon Jewelry Designer Dana Lorenz
The New York-based jewelry designer and '80s fanatic isn't a big Black Friday person and this year, she'll be jetting off to Europe — missing Thanksgiving and the ensuing madness altogether. But when she was a kid, she didn't mind if her parents braced the crowd to hunt down her wish list items.
"I do recall a tense moment during the Cabbage Patch Kid craze when I turned into a horrifyingly worse version of Veruca Salt from 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,'" she tells us. "I recall giving my parents a shortlist of the most limited-edition dolls and I’m quite sure I marched down the stairs Christmas morning in a huff to make sure I unwrapped the requested ones! Scenes of parents being trampled at Toys "R" Us and other stores were even on the news! I guess we all have our diva moments."
Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake
As founder & CEO of Stitch Fix, Katrina Lake brings virtual personal styling to the masses. So clearly outstanding shopping talents are in her blood. "My mom is an amazing bargain shopper and befriended an associate in the shoe department of her favorite department store who knew her size and what brands she wanted and help her navigate the best deals of the sale," she remembers. "He was incredibly kind and gave us kids snacks and balloons, everyone wins!"
Editorialist Co-Founder Kate Davidson Hudson
Davidson Hudson, former Elle accessories editor turned co-founder of the shoppable online magazine Editorialist, can't really deal with Black Friday. But understandably, she's all about shopping deals, virtually.
"With two small children, I don't have the time to navigate holiday crowds or hunt down gifts in-store. But as the co-owner of an online retailer/digital magazine, of course, I’m a huge fan of Cyber Monday," she says. "I'm pretty OCD when it comes to my holiday gift-giving. I start a running list around July that I save-to-draft in my email. Every time a 'genius' gift idea strikes for someone on my list, I update it. At the end of November, I dedicate an afternoon to sourcing everything online—and select gift wrap for all — and everything arrives at my doorstep ready to go."
"Selfie" Costume Designer Danielle Launzel
We have costume designer Danielle Launzel to thank for Eliza Dooley's insanely inappropriate officewear and Henry Higgs's bookishly hipster looks on "Selfie." And she might have the best Black Friday story yet.
"I am the much younger sister of four girls and when I was little they used to rent a limo on Black Friday to avoid the nightmare of parking. One year I got to join them," she explained. "We were on Long Island in New York and one of our stops was the Miracle Mile in Manhasset. As my sisters were enjoying their champagne (I was too young), the limo drove past some firemen passing out big plastic Michelin Man dolls to kids. We leaned out the roof of the limo and yelled that we wanted one too. The firemen — either flirting with my sisters or being nice to the kid trapped in this crazy car full of 20-somethings — obliged and gave us one. We proceeded to prop it in the moon roof for the rest of the day and consequently it got crushed right in the middle of its body. As the Black Friday limo tradition continued for several years, our Michelin Man stood proudly out of the moon roof, crushed belly and all. It has since become a traditional family decoration propped as a tree topper for my sister Margaret each year."
Redbook Editor in Chief Meredith Rollins
Redbook Editor in Chief Meredith Rollins has no qualms about sneaking out for some retail therapy and bargain-hunting during Thanksgiving. And hey, stellar designer scores make for long-lasting holiday memories, too. "I live for the Thanksgiving sale at Bob Ellis in Charleston, SC. It's one of those old-school shoe stores where the salesmen are elegant and calm, and nobody is elbowing you to get to their size. I found my wedding shoes at the sale there in 2004: silver, pointy-toed Manolo Blahnik pumps with a diamante buckle. Gorgeous — and even better, they were a neat little deal!"
Designer Brian Atwood
The handsome shoe designer known for his sexy, sexy heels laments how the holiday shopping season starts way too early nowadays. "[My memory of Black Friday was when] I was a kid, just shopping with my mother," Atwood told us. "When Black Friday was not really what it is today: this huge commercial thing. The day after Thanksgiving we'd go to downtown Chicago and enjoy that pre-Christmas holiday spirit. I think that was special. But it now starts two months early, so it's crazy."
Are you braving the crowds and the elements to shop Black Friday? Do you have any shopping horror or triumph stories to share? Tell us in the comments.